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Next Generation DVDs – the entertainment industry’s vision of tomorrow

March 9th, 2006 · No Comments

Have you ever seen an episode of MTV Cribs? Basically, it’s a show where people in the entertainment industry show you how much money they’ve blown on their house. One episode I saw featured a child way too young to have a license showing off his personalised sports car. More often than not, the ‘celebrity’ is someone I’ve never heard of, but they’ve amassed enough wealth to own a multi-storey complex with a pool, gym, home theatre and little electric buggies to get around in.

So when corporate frontmen from the entertainment industry claim that copying DVDs and CDs is threatening their industry, I think about “Cribs”. But the entertainment people think about something else: they imagine next generation of DVDs, discs that can’t be backed up, discs that can’t be copied and discs that dictate the way they are viewed. To quote Gerry Block, “You know those previews on DVDs that you can’t skip through? That’s only the beginning of the ways Hollywood wants to control your entertainment experience.”

How is this all happening? Through the Advanced Access Control System (AACS). AACS has been negotiated by a mega-corporation dream team:

  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Panasonic
  • Sony
  • Toshiba
  • Walt Disney, and
  • Warner Bros

are all members.

Basically, AACS is a system that means next-generation DVDs will only work on specially licensed equipment. That means you’ll need a new DVD player AND a new TV! Even the three million High Definition Televisions (HDTVs) in America today will be rendered obsolete by AACS.

A former Apple Executive, Mike Evangelist has pointed out an announcement from AACS that mentions an “analog sunset” – a decision to end support for traditional analogue playback in the coming years.

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Category: Media Mayhem


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