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The Examined Life

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New Macs unable to play some movies on connected TVs
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saxifrage00
New models of Macs include HDCP.

What that means is that media with DRM will not play on a new Mac if it has an "unauthorised" display connected. Unauthorised displays include external monitors, TVs, projectors, and so on that aren't also HDCP-compliant.

This is utterly stupid. Most of the hardware already out there or on the market is not HDCP-compliant. Not only that, nobody knows what is and isn't compliant because manufacturers don't disclose HDCP compliance in their product materials, in order to make it harder for crackers to target the standard.

With Apple rolling out HDCP in their laptops, a lot of people are suddenly discovering that they can no longer use their entertainment setups anymore. We like to hook up our laptops to the TV to watch movies. Apple wants people to buy movies on iTunes... but now they're forced to watch them on their little 13" laptop screen. The problem is that there isn't enough of an installed base of devices that can play this game.

Despite the evident intention of combatting piracy, what this will do is:
1) Encourage people not to buy through iTunes, to avoid DRM-laden media
2) Encourage people to pirate movies they've legitimately bought to get non-broken versions
3) Give crackers a lot of motivation to break HDCP so that people can actually, y'know, use their hardware.

I work in an academic lab. Can you imagine the pain if an instructor wanted to show a DVD on the overhead projector and the Mac wouldn't because the projector wasn't "authorised"? We can't even make sure that doesn't happen, because there's no way to determine what hardware is compliant in order to avoid non-compliant hardware.

Anyone have any bets on how long it will be before HDCP gets cracked?

It won't take that long, especially once an enterprising hacker decides that he really does want to be able to watch the content he paid for on whatever he damn well pleases. Probably with some snooping, and some looking between things that are and aren't compliant, they'll find the handshake and then incorporate it into a driver or program or codec somewhere.

Anyone have any bets on how long it will be before HDCP gets cracked?

zargon

2008-11-23 11:46 pm (UTC)

By the time you finished your post.

Re: Anyone have any bets on how long it will be before HDCP gets cracked?

spectral42

2008-11-24 08:25 am (UTC)

Yep, it's already cracked, see http://www.engadget.com/2005/07/21/the-clicker-hdcps-shiny-red-button/

Also, the fundamental math of the system is such that once 40 keys have been discovered/brute forced it is possible to derive all possible keys. But really, I'm just waiting for the day that something big has it's key revoked. Can you imagine what happens when a whole line of new 52 inch tv's stop working?

Re: Anyone have any bets on how long it will be before HDCP gets cracked?

saxifrage00

2008-11-25 01:31 am (UTC)

Wow. I was going to say "When will they learn?", but I suppose it's not surprising. The people that are driving the demand for these system are business people who don't know (or don't want to believe) that it's futile, and DRM people who can easily make a buck from that cluelessness.

It'll be a crapstorm when something big like that gets its keys revoked. Someone who pays a few thousand dollars for a TV is not going to be pleased when they get screwed and they're not going to just let it drop when the company says "but it's the pirates' fault!"

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