Thoughts and Answers on Managed Copies
I’ve been talking about the ability to legally “rip” HD-DVD’s to your hard drive for some time now, and of course today Microsoft finally made their announcement that they will pair with Intel to provide support for HD-DVD in Windows and with Intel's Viiv-based PC's. I have seen many questions pop-up about some of the features and about your ability to do certain actions with the media.
Thomas Hawk had questions about the quality and file size of a “Managed Copy” over the original HD-DVD. Ed Bott speculates that better compression will cut down the file size which is kind of true, but I’m not sure if Ed is thinking of the compression used in the correct manner. While we do have much more advanced and efficient video and audio codec’s, it doesn’t always mean file sizes will be drastically cut. There isn’t much stopping “studio x” from encoding their video using MPEG-2. For a feature length movie at 1920x1080p, you’re looking at 30GB cutting it close! You will have to add audio and extras too! Most studios will be encoding video with either MPEG-4 AVC HP or VC-1. This will cut down file size of the overall disc, but you as a consumer should really want that disc to be as full as possible. Greater bitrates (in turn larger file sizes) means better video and audio quality to start with. Oh, 30GB HD-DVD’s might be available at launch, but that doesn’t mean the all studios will play the price for them. Think about it!
If I remember correctly, you will be able to make at least a single “Managed Copy” at full resolution. Look for a host of other information on this near the end of October or start of November. This is where that crazy AACS content protection system I’m always talking about starts to come into play. =)
Sean Alexander had also posted this news and his views on “Managed Copies” and Kenn left a comment about the type of “reactivation” that will be needed to keep the content secure. This is true, and you will need an active Internet connection to take advantage of “Managed Copies” for HD-DVD.
Ian Dixon asked if the process will be easy to get your copy, and you can bet the answer is yes! It will be extremely simple to copy an HD-DVD to our hard drive. =)
Windows Vista will of course play into this in many ways. I would very much assume that Vista will be needed to take advantage of “Managed Copies“. There are some downfalls to the “Managed Copy” feature with HD-DVD that will play out in the upcoming months. To try and kill a bit of what might pop-up in the feature, while it is a “guaranteed feature”, it doesn’t mean that you purchased the right to make a copy when you bought the HD-DVD.
My single question about all of this is where is the HDMI output on the Xbox 360! There will be a secure path with WMRM to get content TO the Xbox 360, so there must be a path OUT to also keep it secure. I still hold my thoughts that Microsoft has the best chance to win your Living Room, the rest of the pieces just need to start falling. This mainly comes with Vista and the framework that is being built to allow the consumer to get this media on their PC!