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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday links: Netflix May Be Prepping a Set-Top Box ... Thwarting Piracy (and Consumers) ... Soderbergh Psyched About Red Camera

Some post-holiday links for ya...

- Netflix may be planning to roll out a $50 set-top box that'd pull movies down from the Net and let you watch them on your TV.

- The Wall Street Journal reports on a new strategy for thwarting hackers trying to crack the encryption on high-def discs played on computers. Unfortunately, it may also stymie consumers who've bought the discs and simply want to use them. Note: this only applies right now to watching high-def discs on a computer. From the story:

    The anticopying protection for high-resolution DVDs relies on secret, 128-digit passwords embedded in the hardware or software used to play DVDs. Under its new " key-revocation strategy, Hollywood and its allies in the high-technology industry start with the assumption that enterprising hackers will eventually decipher the passwords, which can then be used to make copies.

    But once a password is compromised and posted on the Web, the industry answers by changing the way in which its new DVD titles are made. Anyone who pops one of the new discs into their personal computer without installing a software upgrade will find that it destroys the computer's ability to play any high-definition DVD at all. To restore the computer's ability to play them again, the owner is forced to download new software from the Web -- software with a new password that hackers haven't yet discovered. The old password, or key, has been revoked.

    The self-destruct signal affects player software for both formats for high-definition DVDs -- HD-DVD and Blu-ray -- not hardware players hooked up to TVs. The effect could be bewildering to a customer not used to downloading frequent updates over the Internet.

- Director Steven Soderbergh is apparently impressed with the Red One digital camera. From his comment to Red founder Jim Jannard: "This is the camera I've been waiting for my whole career: jaw-dropping imagery recorded onboard a camera light enough to hold with one hand."

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