Oddly Enough, It's Not Green
Supporting the Troops!

Increased Costs For Consumers

Click here for an incredibly devastating critique of Windows Vista.

Near the end, we get some quotes. I found this one amusing:

“DRM causes too much pain for legitimate buyers […] There are huge problems with DRM” — Bill Gates (reported by blogger Michael Arrington).

I've been reading with quite some shock about the requirements for playing the next generation video formats.

When DVDs hit critical mass in 2000, the PC needed the following few items to play DVD movies:

  • A DVD
  • A DVD drive
  • A fast-enough processor: a 300 MHz Pentium II could do the job.

Now, to be able to play either HD-DVDs or the Blu-ray movies at their intended resolution, the PC requires:

  • Either a HD-DVD or a Blu-ray movie.
  • Either a HD-DVD or a Blu-ray drive.
  • A dual-core processor: any Core 2 Duo should do it.
  • 1 GB of RAM minimum.
  • A high-end graphics card that supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). Shockingly not a single graphics card sold today is capable of supporting the resolution of high definition (1080p).
  • An up-to-date operating system: Windows XP SP2 or better.
  • A monitor that accepts a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connection. Otherwise, one won't get the high definition video -- the content will get downgraded.
  • Software that plays HD media. Yes, you have to pay for it. I don't think the Windows Media Player will suffice.

This is simply insane. 100% of the PCs out there would need some or all of the above upgrades to be able to get the true high definition stream. It's highly likely that one can get a new setup today and easily miss one of the requirements and not get true HD video and not even know about it!

In addition, some of the companies have been cute with advertising: promoting HD-ready products that were anything but. (Oh yes, fraud is part of the equation.) The industry is supposed to make it easier for consumers to move on to the new and far superior technology but here it seems we are in for a frustrating few years.



And it's all for a pretty marginal improvement, too.


Fraud has been standard operating procedure in the computer industry for years. I doubt that there is a piece of software out there that has ever worked at anywhere near the "minimum system requirements". I still remember buying the Spider-man video game for PC that was marketed in the same box as the console version but was a completely different and vastly inferior game. Why should the hardware guys not get a chance to lick the brass ring of money for lies?


And they wonder why people pirate. Since the blueray and HDDVD encryption methods have already been broken, you can currently download dozens of high-def movies from pirate sites, and play them with a lot less difficulty. All you need is a good processor, a decent video card with an HDMI connection to your monitor, and VLC, the free media player.

Isaac Schrödinger

Alex: That's another good point. The consumers who follow the guidelines for the "features" get stuck with the costs and the headaches.

Those who are in the know get around the whole mess by using P2P networks. The industry is basically offering incentives for piracy.

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