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Displays Television Entertainment

2010 — the Year AACS and HDMI Kill Off HD Component Video 424

For home theater buffs who want (or already have) a high-def system using component-video connections, time may be growing short. Audiofan writes with this story, which begins: "Digital HD (high definition), like that enabled through HDMI and Blu-ray, is awesome. It offers amazing picture and audio quality. It allows you to conveniently connect one single cable to provide both picture and sound. It is royally going to screw up a lot of homes next year. Wait, what was that last part? After December 31, 2010, manufacturers will not be 'allowed' [to] introduce new hardware with component video outputs supplying more than an SD resolution (480i or 576i). Should this go through as planned, it's going to disable or throw a wrench in a lot of existing custom installations as soon as the end of this year." The AACS in the headline stands for Advanced Access Content System, the industry scheme to block "the analog hole" by controlling content from storage media to eyeballs.
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2010 — the Year AACS and HDMI Kill Off HD Component Video

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  • by cstdenis ( 1118589 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:55PM (#31202962)

    There will still be plenty of HDMI to composite converters coming out of China, etc.

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:56PM (#31202982)

    Why attempt to force the market to change? Oh right, money. Someone stands to make a lot of money from a bunch of people being forced to upgrade.

    I mean, they could just let the old tvs slowly die out and eventually noone will have a need for anything but HDMI, but where is the short term profit in that?

    Somehow I still doubt it will work. People don't like being told they can't have their way and someone will find a way to give them what they want anyways.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 )

      a lawsuit could probably turn this around pretty easily of people were willing to do it. That of course, is it's own problem: in order to turn around bogus crap, you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money just to turn around small stupid inconveniences that chip away at your rights.

    • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:21PM (#31203398)

      Somehow I still doubt it will work. People don't like being told they can't have their way and someone will find a way to give them what they want anyways.

      Yeah, the 1920s proved that.

      I used to think that people don't learn history. They do. What they don't learn is the ability to see how the current, "new" situation is similar to things that have happened before under similar conditions and can be expected to yield the same results. So every new development like this is a surprise to them. When it succeeds only in creating a market (underground, if need be) for non-compliant players that do what the customer wants, I guess the businesses behind this will be surprised too.

  • Money Money Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CorporateSuit ( 1319461 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:57PM (#31202986)
    • $25 for component
    • $60 for HDMI
    • Unchecked licensing authority

    What we have is a perfect recipe for greed!

    • by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:02PM (#31203086)
      You left off the $200 gold-plated HDMI connectors. Since converting to gold plated, I've noticed that the digital signal has 0's which are softer and rounder, while the 1's are slimmer and pointier at the top.
      • by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:12PM (#31203240) Homepage

        I prefer the more natural feel of less pointy 1s and less defined 0s

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You left off the $200 gold-plated HDMI connectors. Since converting to gold plated, I've noticed that the digital signal has 0's which are softer and rounder, while the 1's are slimmer and pointier at the top.

          I prefer the more natural feel of less pointy 1s and less defined 0s

          DO NOT MOCK MY $2500 GOLD-PLATED HDMI CABLE! (sob)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 )


          Everybody knows pointy 1's and rounder 0's are better.

        • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:24PM (#31203432) Journal

          Then you need gold-pressed-latinum plated HDMI cables, and our specially-crafted power strip made of ebony hand-rubbed to a sheen by naked virgins. It softens the zeros and rounds the ones ever so slightly. There's even a knob hand-carved from a Unicorn horn that stretches a bit of snipegut and can adjust the pointiness to a great level of precision. The dial even goes to 11, and there's a 12 setting available for a small extra fee of $50,000.

          • by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:29PM (#31203530) Homepage

            Interesting the last snipegut stretching knob I bought was made of rhino horn and I was unhappy with the result. Perhaps the magic of a Unicorn horn is what I need.

            Where can I order one? 50k is very affordable if I will be able to convince myself it is working as you describe.

            • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:02PM (#31204058) Journal

              The $50K is the upgrade to 12. The unit itself is $250,000 for the base model, and extra $10,000 if you want to specify the hair color of the virgins who rub the ebony (redheads tend to have brighter, harsher treble, for example).

              Of course, you'll want one for each channel to avoid any crosstalk, and one of our technicians will happily walk you through the process of having a second power feed run to your house so you don't run both channels off the same power lines, because that would be just silly.

  • It says that they "...will not be 'allowed' [to] introduce ____new____ hardware..." and then says, "...throw a wrench in a lot of ____existing____ custom installations..."

    How are these things related? Is the submission suggestion that your component video output will suddenly cease to work? Or are they trying to make the leap of logic that old displays will not have any new gizmos to connect to them? I've never seen a piece of display equipment that couldn't be connected to an HD source through some tricker

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:04PM (#31203110)

      From the article:

      Lest you think that this won't affect existing players, note that after January 1, 2011, the manufacturers of Blu-ray discs will be able (at their option) to insert an Image Constraint Token into any Blu-ray disc. This is a sort of "digital flag" that will turn off the high-definition component video output in the player (effectively turning it into a low-resoluton 480i/576i output). The goal is to make sure that all high-definition video will only be made possible through "secure" digital connections like HDMI.

  • Where? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mashdar ( 876825 )
    Where is this happening? Dare I assume the United States? Epic description fail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by T Murphy ( 1054674 )
      It doesn't have to tell you where, you can already tell:
      Stupid regulation motivated by greed: USA
      Stupid regulation motivated by stupidity/gullibility (often caused by the USA): mainland Europe
      Stupid regulation inspired by Orwell: UK, possibly Australia
      Not stupid regulation: anywhere else
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HogGeek ( 456673 )

      I believe pretty much "everywhere" (at least on this planet).

      The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is a standard for content distribution and digital rights management, intended to restrict access to and copying of the next generation of optical discs and DVDs. The specification was publicly released in April 2005 and the standard has been adopted as the access restriction scheme for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD). It is developed by AACS Licensing Administrator, LLC (AACS LA), a consortium that includes

    • Re:Where? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:27PM (#31203480)
      Everywhere. This is a licensing requirement to be able to play protected content, not a US regulatory requirement.
  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:00PM (#31203048)
    I'm sure there will be a $1000 cable from Monster that has 'no analogue holes'. "Use this for your composite video to ensure you get the best composite signal with no analogue holes" Buyers will SWEAR their 480i show 'looks as good as HD'. I love Monster Cable, they collect 'stupid tax'.
    • I can remember when I only saw them in audio supply catalogs. At the time you didn't purchase a Monster cable because of their "wooden knob" claims (though they did stretch the truth, even back then), instead you bought them because of the lifetime warranty. Sure, I just paid $100 for a 20 foot guitar cable, but it "should" be the last 20 foot guitar cable I have to buy. No idea if they still do that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Well you gotta be careful you know. You can buy the $20 cable, but we can't guarantee it has no analogue holes. Now imagine yourself sitting down to watch the latest rental. Do you want to have to get up in the middle of it to realize you're leaking analogue all over the floor?

    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:01PM (#31204046)
      Monster cables are higher quality than your basic cables. When most the signals were analog, this made a difference especially on a good AV system. Now that the signals are digital, the quality does not suffer as much due to the signal degradation.
  • We will have ways to split the HD signal anyways.
    Do they honestly think they can stop someone from splitting the source device?
    I have many Y adapters, Not all work well, but I am sure HD has many will have many solutions.
    Output a laptop HDMI to a Capture card on another system, TADA
    Why don't they just give up and stop making it hard for the common user
    When I hear unbreakable technology it always sounds like a challenge just calling me
  • Hmmm...time to buy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HikingStick ( 878216 ) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `remeir10z'> on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:07PM (#31203146)
    If I were one with a little extra cash (or a lot of available credit), I might just buy up a lot of the desirable components now, and then make a modest margin by reselling them on Amazon or eBay after remaining stocks dwindle.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:07PM (#31203148)

    Up to about 2001-2002 I was a legitimate consumer, but when the trend of shafting legitimate consumers became the industry standards, I went 100% piracy.
    My entire entertainment system is a lean, mean, swashbuckling, pirating machine. There is no hole in which to insert a physical media; why would I need a DVD or Blu-ray source, since I have no intention of buying any discs? DVD player went to the dump with my VHS.

    Now my country does levy a blank CD tax...Oh yeah, I never buy any blank discs because EVERYTHING is on Hard drives or flash cards.
    I'm laughing man, because I am so not legit.

    Ok, queue up the haters, I don't give a shit what any of you think.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:16PM (#31203298)

      Up to about 2001-2002 I was a legitimate consumer...

      You've failed to grasp that as far as these "content cartels" are concerned, there is NO such thing as a legitimate consumer. To them the world is consists of them, and pirates. There is nothing in between, and all are guilty.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:26PM (#31203452)

      I think your setup is perfectly reasonable. How much moralizing do you see companies go through when they employ slave laborers to make goods or outsource your job to some third-world worker for a pittance? They are taking things away from others just because they can, so why shouldn't you do the same?

      Slashtards go on about how it's okay because "corporation are amoral" and they "have a responsibility to make as much money for their shareholders as possible." If that is the case, then it's perfectly sensible to do the same thing yourself. Pirating is cheaper than buying, and allows me to have more money for other uses, therefore it is the right thing to do.

      As they have sown, so they shall reap. All hail the false idol of money and bow before the might of the corporate gods.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I'd keep the dvd drive around at least so you can make some backups or live disks
    • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:58PM (#31204014)

      Now my country does levy a blank CD tax...Oh yeah, I never buy any blank discs because EVERYTHING is on Hard drives or flash cards.
      I'm laughing man, because I am so not legit.
      Ok, queue up the haters, I don't give a shit what any of you think.

      You know what I think? You're not going to have to re-buy all your stuff when they come out with the next standard after blue-ray. You'll just have to download things again. Not too shabby.

    • by LainTouko ( 926420 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @06:53PM (#31205514)
      I'm fully with you as far as the likes of the ??AA go, but I find it worthwhile to make a distinction between the (generally large) companies which deceive, bully and engage in corruption at every turn, and smaller outfits which are still concerned only with creating (perhaps) good media.
  • by bferlin ( 642337 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:08PM (#31203164)

    I seem to remember the same argument with Region Codes and DIVX. People voted with the wallet last time, why would this time be any different?

    Even if they do get their way, all they will do is create a cottage industry of security-defeating technologies. And like always, the real pirates who make tons of money selling counterfeits will find ways around it.

    It's the actual consumer that can't watch that latest DVD because of DRM that doesn't quite work right that get screwed.

  • by voss ( 52565 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:08PM (#31203170)

    An overpriced underperforming platform get bypassed in favor of digital media players with increasing sizes of flash storage or hd storage.

    Its a story of a clever technology undermined by its own advocates. Why buy a blu-ray player that may not play new favorites 3 months
    from now when you can get a digital download. The old tech people may stick with DVD while the new tech people may switch
    over to direct digital download. If Im gonna hook my player up to a network to get firmware updates, I might as well just get a network
    media player.

  • by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <web@pineapple.vg> on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:08PM (#31203172) Homepage
    There is so much streaming stuff out there now, torrents of stuff ripped from streams and paid downloaded movies that optical storage is not really necessary or useful anymore. I have never had more problems with optical media than anything else, discs that go bad after a certain time, coasters and silly copy protection schemes.

    Blu-ray is the latest mainstream optical storage has to offer and it's a nasty proprietary format pushed forward by the notorious DRM worshippers that are Sony. The discs are too expensive and fewer people are going out to buy movies. There isn't much point either since when you buy it it's not even yours.

    Unless low-cost holographic storage becomes available without restrictions or DRM I'd say optical storage has had it's day. and anyone developing optical storage these days has to be in the least position to force DRM on the market. The SD card guys have had much more luck with peddling DRM to the masses and I expect that SD-DRM usage will become widespread any day now
  • by fruitbane ( 454488 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:10PM (#31203206)

    I typically try to express some kind of intelligent or informed opinion on /. stories, but all I can come up with here is, "Screw you, AACS." I have not yet moved to Blu-Ray or an HD TV, and this makes me much less likely to want to. Bastards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Well, considering the fact that we are the early adopter crowd that does have some relevance.

      How else is grandpa going to know that there's the nifty new tech out there that he should be buying.

      He's certainly not going to stumble upon this himself. And no, all of the ads and displays at Frys and Best Buy aren't going to clue him in.

      After 70 years of media saturation, he probably doesn't notice any of that stuff anymore (assuming he doesn't have his hearing aid turned off).

      If I can't play it in the device of

  • Oblig... (Score:5, Funny)

    by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:11PM (#31203222) Journal
    Though not exactly on topic, I feel like I should post this like I always do...

    "24K gold-plated connectors help protect the cable's optical lens to ensure consistent signal transfer"

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Rocketfish%26%23153%3B+-+8'+Digital+Optical+Cable/8315147.p?id=1174694191675&skuId=8315147&st=optical [bestbuy.com]
  • by dr2chase ( 653338 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:12PM (#31203242) Homepage
    because one way or another, you'll get screwed?
    • by Wovel ( 964431 )

      No not really. It means don't buy a new HDTV with only component inputs (impossible anyway so I can stop here, but I won't) in hopes of adding a blue-ray player that will be manufactured more than a year from now.

  • I run a media PC. I want to buy a BD-ROM for it.

    It's DVI -> HDMI for video, and a Tascam USB sound module for audio.

    Should I be concerned about blurays breaking my setup in any form or fashion?

  • by Craig Davison ( 37723 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:27PM (#31203496)

    The SD resolution you'll be restricted to is NOT 480i. It's 540p (960x540 in Widescreen). It's still better than DVD resolution (720x480 non-square pixels).

  • Impact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:31PM (#31203562) Homepage
    Component video cables are hardly ubiquitous. Lots of people have never even seen them and even less could tell you what they were if you asked. The majority of people with HDTVs bought a $150 HDMI cable along with them.
  • Patent Abuse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:33PM (#31203616)

    The reason they can enforce this is because they can refuse to issue patents related to Blu-ray to any manufacturer that does not agree to their terms, which a blatant abuse patent system.

    The purpose of patents are to promote the development of novel ideas, and the primary mechanism for doing so is to allow the original inventor to be compensated when these ideas are used. A government-granted monopoly is completely unnecessary to accomplish these goals, and is a horrible anachronism in a free market society.

    Patents should be reformed to require all grantees to license their patents to anyone who is willing to pay a reasonable and non-discriminatory fee. This would at least solve the problem of patents being abused to force agendas and limit competition, while still achieving the goal of compensating inventors.

  • The Real Analog Hole (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:43PM (#31203778) Homepage

    The real analog hole is the display screen.

    With all the camera and video technologies coming out, I wouldn't be surprised if creating an exact digital replica in the future was as simple as putting a camera in front of a screen and loading in a "record video on a screen" app.

    Play the movie once, (perhaps even at a higher speed,) and you have a perfect copy of the video.

    Sound might be a bit trickier.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      With all the camera and video technologies coming out, I wouldn't be surprised if creating an exact digital replica in the future was as simple as putting a camera in front of a screen and loading in a "record video on a screen" app.

      You think so? [wikipedia.org]

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @06:16PM (#31205098) Journal

      Why analog? At some point that content is being decrypted inside the screen. It should be possible to open the thing up and dump it and get a 1:1 digital un-encrypted copy. Sure, it's technically daunting but it only has to be done once per video.

  • HDMI = PITA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fishbulb ( 32296 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:09PM (#31204156)

    Due to the enforced end-to-end DRM nature of HDMI, switching components can be a pain in the ass. I've had no end of trouble getting HDMI switching correct. It seems that if a component is already on before my receiver is up, or switched to that component, that HDMI won't negotiate correctly and often requires the whole chain to power off and power back on.

    Not that it prevents the piracy that HDMI exists solely to prevent...

  • by azmodean+1 ( 1328653 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:10PM (#31204168)

    So once again we have more hoops for paying customers to jump through and perhaps have their legally purchased content automatically downgrade itself in order to "protect" the MPAA and member companies. Meanwhile everyone who has given up on the ridiculously outdated and self-defeating content distribution system suffers no inconvenience whatsoever.

    The further along this train wreck progresses the more my outrage turns into bemused detachment. I haven't bought any non-indie media in quite a long time now (occasionally I catch a movie or concert). I do feel somewhat sorry for the people who haven't figured out how totally messed up the system is and are going to be badly affected by this, but I just can't bring myself to the point of actual outrage over it any more.

    How many people are going to just give up trying to be "good consumers" and switch over to piracy based on this? I would expect it will be far more people than will be dissuaded from participating in casual "copyright infringement" by trying to make backup copies of their media or god forbid just trying to watch a movie they bought on the wrong type of TV.

  • Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:10PM (#31204170)

    I have no intention of ever buying into BluRay precisely because of the ability to play these sort of anti-consumer games. Wake me up when they start their attack on HD OTA broadcasts.

  • Most businesses in which need to run a signal a long distance need to use a Cat5 to Component system. My family owns three businesses and they all use a system in which cat5 is ran to all three of our TVs and converted to component right before reaching the TV.

    As much as HDMI is great it simply is not as good as component for running an HD signal over a long distance. Component is much better with cat5 because it is split into 3 cords. That way you Cat5 can easily handle the signal. However Cat5 is insufficient for carrying the entire signal if your using HDMI.

    The AACS should not have the authority to break so many people's installations. We certainly can't afford to take out our nearly one thousand dollar system of splitters and converters and I'm sure many businesses can't either.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin