AfterDawn: Tech news

Companies move to anti-piracy chips

Written by Jari Ketola @ 12 Sep 2004 8:22 User comments (32)

Companies move to anti-piracy chips NDS, STMicroelectronics and Thomson announced on Friday that they will begin implementing new anti-piracy technology to weed out video piracy.
The technology, known as the secure video processor (SVP) platform, will allow media companies to protect their content using their own DRM specifications. The protected content could only be viewed on SVP-capable devices.

Thomson will start embedding SVP-chips to its video players and set-top boxes next year.

Clearly the consumer is the entertainment industry's worst enemy. The new anti-piracy technologies do little more than make the lives of the consumers more difficult. Professional pirates have not been stopped by DRM before, and they will most certainly not be slowed down by SVP.


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32 user comments

112.9.2004 8:55

Well, I guess it had to happen. The "beginning of the end", although I wouldn't sweat too much about it. The first of the hardware-based cripplers is beginning to rear it's ugly head. We knew it was coming. So what? We have DRM/SVP, and then we have the Global Internet Community. Wanna place bets on who the winner will ultimately be? We've alread stripped the once-impenetrable DVD down to it's jockey shorts - the systematic dismantling of SVP will be next, and follow in all good time. What bothers me most, is that these exquisite little cripplers will, in the process of being covertly imbedded into our equipment, will also be stealthily imbedded into an unaware market. There won't be much point in reading the fine print on the outside of the box, because there will BE no fine print. Hope you're going to be around for awhile, AfterDawn - we'll be looking for The Answers as the New Questions unfold.

212.9.2004 9:24

The protected content could only be viewed on SVP-capable devices.
Wait a moment here, this article is saying if we want to view these new movies (Terminator 4! YEAH!), we're going to have to get new DVD Players? Isn't that just more money for them?

312.9.2004 10:08

It really makes my blood boil! what next they will be trying to stop us braeking wind next(being polite!)I recently found out the hard way buying a mini disc portable only to savour the restrictive practices of over protective and intrusive software hardware,Not unduly worried as there are plenty of brainy people in the community like the previous comments state as they bring in these measures someone will beat them, makes me so glad I kept my old Vinyl,....wax cylinders etc! sorry just me being sarcastic and bitter

412.9.2004 10:48

It's sure that when NDS is involved.. then customes of British "Sky Digital" will first suffer this. In larger scale from 2006-2007... It begins when stb-manufacturer Pace Micro Technologies launches some new set-top pvr-boxes next year.

512.9.2004 10:53

Most probably boxes like this will be equippped with those crappy chips. Movie studios fear that people can watch and record HDTV-content without their full control. Combined with the new European version of DMCA / Digital Millenium Act - laws, it will be most probably illegal to even disable/modify/reverse_engineer SVP chips from those boxes. Country where these kind of systems will last appear? Definitely Germany. Let's hope mr. Murdoch does not aquire Premiere.

612.9.2004 12:27

The way it will work is the chip will be a hardware decryption. I can see the day when you get free DVDs and pay per view via the telephone dial up to the main servers. Cracking an encryption algorithym generated where half the key is on the DVD and the other half is downloaded via the phone, will almost be unbreakable. Each DVD will have a different key. If you then add in an element of the key being a serial number on the DVD player - then I can't see it being cracked at all -depending on the algorithm and key length.

712.9.2004 15:22

Ummm... modchips for DVD players anyone? I can forsee something like that being a fairly simple solution for a few switched on people to implement, once the nuts and bolts of the protection are worked out. Either way, it still won't stop analogue copies... if it can be watched, it can be copied.

812.9.2004 15:47

Why are you lazy American bastards crying like little ball baby brats that did not get their way? After all you have been warned since 2001 that this would happen. But when I brought this up on Yahoo Chat rooms you people would yell at me. And when I posted hateful messages up on forums you also said it would not happen. Hope you people will finally wake the hell up and vote. That is what click the vote is all about. Get involved and stop the control freaks. I have a Phillips DVDR for the TV and it would not record Analogue signals that had been protected even with a Macrovision eliminator. But if I play the DVD's through my computer it would work. Solution is to buy a capture card and just play the DVD player through that and record the contents with your DVDR. They can't stop that.

912.9.2004 16:43

The only message they will ever understand is for us to stop or limit our purchase of their products and goods. Trouble with that is most consumers don't even know what is going on. It will be interesting to see when (if) broadcasters go fully DTV and turn on the copy protection flags how America likes all of a sudden being told they can't record the show on Monday they have been recording for years. To nigeljkuk, They don't want to stop us from breaking wind they just want to find a way to charge us for doing it.

1012.9.2004 18:37

I think we are getting ahead of this thing. Macrovision works with an embedded chip. Didn't take long for someone to design an in-line box to kill that. This system will have to work similar to that. An embedded signal on the disc that the chip will acknowledge. If the signal isn't there, the chip will think it's a home recording. Insert a trap of the right frequency, and all is well. Hope its that simple as in the past. Jerry

1112.9.2004 18:59

Here is a little lesson in Data 101 for people like Jerry. Iíll make it as simple as I can. In the early days of the Commodore 64 for exe the games were recorded to a regular cassette tape. If you played the tape youíd hear Buzz ehhh ohhh and you can hear the pitch of the tone change. This represents the ones and zeroís (Binary Code) in which makes up the date to create the game in your computer. Now an Analogue VCR works in the same way but it records the different pitch tones to represent the vertical and horizontal lines that create the picture. Filter out the tones that create the white barberís pole looking signal from the refrence line of the picture and you have a picture free of macrovision. But when the copy-protection is part of the data itself you canít simply filter it without some sort of Digital Time Lens. A digital Time lens or time delay is a device that corrects that which is wrong in a digital signal. But again it requires the box to have a parameter for that show/Movie you want to copy. Sort of like Fast HackíEm was to the Commodore 64. It had a parameter for say Fight Night. You put the disk into your drive and Fast HackíEm knew what to do based on that movie. So with that in mind you would have to create a box that had Internet access and maybe make it a Linux OS and then you would Download the parameter for the Movie you want to copy. The parameter would have to be almost the size of the movie itself as the hacker would have to watch the digital signal and insert the canceling at the proper moment. Believe me a box of this nature would be complicated. There are now Ditital Time Lenses for DirecTV but you have to at least have a subscription. It will make all the channels avail. Again this is just for the DTV cards and think what would happen if the code changed avery hour. Youíd have to have a Digital Time Lenz that would access the net and a hacker to crack the new code. And whoís to say that they canít come up with 20 or more different parameters for each DVD sold. Time to wake up folks. If you donít do something the free ride will be over. Donít say you were not warned. I use to work for a telecommunications company and this technology was on the table.

1212.9.2004 23:09

I didn't know Americans were lazy!

1313.9.2004 0:37

DietCoke i hope you were joking because anybody thats doesnt know Americans are lazy should get his brain checked.:) Anyway about this chip, it looks like those companies never learn their lesson. Dont they know it's only a matter of time and someone will come up with something that will completely defeat this.

1413.9.2004 3:39

AHHHH, God Bless this country. Today our rights and tomorrow our lives. While Americans sit and say, "never us". Last year in America the video rental business pulled in 6 billion dollars. While the movie making industry grossed more... Makes you realize it's all about taking your money from pure greed. Pump em full of fear, cut to commercial and buy that video for three times its worth. AS long as there is a culture as ours that feeds from the media the fight will continue. Afterall, they didn't think we were pure zombies did they?

1513.9.2004 7:41

Vudoo, I don't need your lesson in Data 101. I have an extensive background in Computer and electronics repair. I have an FCC 1st class repair license for SAT and land base Broadcast equipment. I made my Macrovision remover box back in the 80's when most people didn't even know what macrovision was. When I had Direct TV system, I wired the receiver completely bypassing the card slot which wasn't an easy task. So don't talk down to me. The new encryption system you are talking about would make a DVD cost $40. or $50. each. Its not going to happen that way. The new system will come out probably better than the present system and within 6 months it will be cracked. I'll just wait and see. Your opinion is noted. Jerry

1613.9.2004 13:46

I'll give it a month.

1713.9.2004 14:41

Kool Jerry glad to see that finally someone on this forum knows about Electronics. Everytime in past threads I would try and explain something people would have no clue. Anyways what would happen if DVD players in the future required an on line authorization sort of like DiVX players did in the past? I know that the DVD's I've mentioned may cost more, but isn't that what the industry wants us to do is pay more? Just a hunch but from what I've seen it doesn't look good. The DirecTV receiver without a card sounds kool. Bet you had to reprogram the processor. As long as the encryption never changed you would be in luck. And no ECM's. Believe me before the new box came out the hacked cards burnt out after 6 months or so. Now that this box came out makes me want to try again.

1813.9.2004 16:24

Posted b Jerry 746 - Vudoo, I don't need your lesson in Data 101. I have an extensive background in Computer and electronics repair. I have an FCC 1st class repair license for SAT and land base Broadcast equipment. And you can take that to your Euro bank vudoo! Yeah!

1913.9.2004 19:25

Reverse engineering to start with. Don't trash all your old DVD, VCR & such equipment. They could be buiding blocks to overcome this upcoming dilema. There are people who enjoy this kind of challenge. Now, if the new discs are not backward compatible, where are the EPA and other such organizations? To view newer content, you would have to have newer equipment. If the older gear won't play the newer discs, what do you do with it? Put it into the dump? All that solder & such. Heavy metal contamination. This is going to be interesting. TC

2013.9.2004 20:39

The EPA should have a say in this, but won't. And my betamax still works like new. I keep it all. Since every protection (on unprotectable things like soundwaves and lightwaves) will be overcome, I don't worry about what they "want" to do. Implement it. See how the consumer responds. Take note of how many people take these rediculous greed protections as a personal challenge. Even if it is not defeated, what's the loss. I have every movie I'll ever need in my collection. I'll always have analogue recproers connected to frame syncs. Usually, I'm lucky if Hollywood can produce 2 movies a years I want. Greed never surpises me. It is as old as mankind, and the root of evil. :)

2114.9.2004 7:28

You say that the problem is regular people dont realize whats going on, well i think they'll preatty much realize when the movie industry tells them because of so much piracy you have tou dump that 300 dollars dvd/hometheater and buy a new 500 dollars one that will protect people from vewing copyprotected matterial, or even if they dont say it that way, i cant think of something that will influence so many people to change formats now that they just started buying dvds, at least here in mexico everybody whas so esceptic about dvds it took about 2 years for people to say, ok so its still in the market lets go buy it

2214.9.2004 8:50

Maybe I am naive but I don't believe you comprehend the implications of what could be built - if a good encryption algorithm is used. 128 bit 3Des has been out there for a long time and has not been cracked in the non government world. A chip on motherboard is only a means to decrypt data at high speed. All you need to do is: create an encrypted DVD - the algorithm is not important at this stage. (Old plain DVDs will still be able to be played). Each DVD film will be encrypted using a different key. Therefore crack one, film you still have to crack the next one. Remember the encryption key is one way and there are more combinations than stars in the sky. The clever stuff happens if each encryption chip has a unique key and you dial up to unlock each film. So to decrypt the DVD will require a different key to be downloaded for each DVD film on each DVD player. Imagine the algorithm is a maths sum. The answer is 8 DVD = 3 Embedded chip = 2 To decrypt the film you will download 3 Before you all say this can't be done etc - my company actually does this kind of stuff but for computer data rather than films.

2314.9.2004 15:41

Friends, Iam old and a techno freak. I love movies and have a nice collection of movies on dvd most of which I have purchased. The movie studios will cut their own throats by going to this protective system. First because we will all have to buy new equiptment to watch the new movies that come out. The public will not move to buy the new equiptment very quickly even as the change over from VCR to DVD. Thus the video rental stores will go out of business and dvd sales will plummet to nothing. The movie studios will fold on their own doing. This new protection system is to sell chips. It will never take off. Thanks for listening.

2414.9.2004 16:22

I guess we'll have to mod the dvd players like the sony.

2514.9.2004 16:30

Hey my computer hard dive makes a great dvd player.If I can add a big screen to my computer I won't need this new dvd player.I guess I'm just old fashioned I don't want to buy extra dvd players just to watch a movie.That just sounds like to much of a headache to watch a new movie,buy some new player for a movie.They better be making some damn good movie to make me switch.Hey have you ever noticed the spyware from your computer from this site alone?

2614.9.2004 16:32

Funny thing is it really isnít about pirating DVD (pirating meaning tons of DVD to sell not a copy for your self) as these movie industry fools would have us believe, itís about control and getting every last dime they can out of us. I work for an airline and people all the time are coming back from trips with pirated DVDís and guess whatÖ NONE of them, again NONE of them are from the US.

2714.9.2004 16:37

Just wait until everyone hears, "You better get to Wal-Mart to buy a new DVD player just to watch this movie!"

2814.9.2004 17:18

People that have computers cannot mass produce DVD's or at least copy a large amount that would run into too much time and expense to sit at a computer all day.You would have to purchase a DVD or CD duplicator for around a thousand dollars or more just to do that.Many other country's just like this airline worker states have different copyright laws, They are not pinned down to strict laws like us.In Taiwan they knew what a SVCD or a super video disc was long before anyone else did.I know of asia people that have no problem getting a video copied.Of course their laws are different.As far as I'm concerned I think what the MPAA is doing is completly wrong,They are trying to stop every which way to back up a movie.It first started with DVD X copy and next to computer video cards via satelite and other sources.Adding chips to video cards and DVD player.Hey what can we copy are we just dammed from backing up are movies.Here is my view. If the movie is good then the public will go to the movie theater to see the movie.The movie industy makes the most amount of money for the movie from this time.From this point if the movie sucked or if it was good then most of the money that was made was from the theater.Now the movie hits the market, either it doesn't make more money because it sucked or alot of people bought it on DVD.Now everyone and their dog would have to have some type of connection for a pirated movie, that is either every one has high-speed internet and knows exactly where the movie is via the net.A lot of people still have dial-up.Most people that have a SVCD if they like the movie they will go out and buy it on DVD.That's if they can watch the movie more than five times without getting sick.Kind of like a merry go round.Now even if you were to pirate a movie first it would take time to burn off as well as cost for DVD/rs and it just would be feasable. You would have to be burning for everyone that you know for the movie and it would have to be alot of people that want the same movie and would would have to spend alot of time just for that.It's just not reasonable for someone to do that.I heard along time on the radio that if you have cable TV and you rented a movie on cable you can copy the movie.Because you payed for it.Even though you have that right the MPAA wants to stop that for you with a chip.

2914.9.2004 17:36

It's the MPAA enforcing every way they can so you cannot back-up a video or watch it on your player.They want to make it vitually impossible.The DVD player manufacturer has to make the player this way because of laws being made from the MPAA.They do not want to get sued.They don't have too much choice just like you and me to have the right for the consumer to back up your movie.So if your movie is out of print you cannot watch the back-up file if the original is scratched.

3020.9.2004 22:55

Well how do we educate the public and start a real boycott? I know if you were to tell some women that you talk with as friends or somehow slip it into the conversation they say something like "Wow I didn't know that." But that is as far as the conversation goes. If we can educate the general mass then we could get it all to work. But just a vew small people boycotting won't work.

3117.10.2004 2:10

Let's say there is a key on the disc, a key in the hardware and one you'd have to download. So the counterfeiters replicate the disc with the key, while the crackers intercept the hardware and substitute a fixed one, along with a copy of the one you were supposed to download. Or even better you remove the key from the disc before you replicate it and block the hardware key as above. So what gets distributed illegally is already decrypted and you don't allow the evil hardware to interfere. Either way once the protection is compromised they'll be able to distribute as much as they like. This kind of protection only works when the protection components are not open to scrutiny by a wide range of knowledgeable people. hijacker, movies make the bulk of their profits from video. It is one of life's jokes that the very thing the studios fought desperately to crush became their biggest ever cash cow. That was the video tape.

3218.10.2004 10:11

And the reason the videotape was so popular is the fact that you could RECORD your own content. Now as for a DVD recorder if it can't record off of say HBO, why buy it at all? the Tivo may still work because you pay a fee and the money goes towards the MPAA. But I'm sure the rates will go up as far as 40-50 a month for the Tivo. All other devices will be cut off. I can see it now. Why do you think that Comcast Cable offers a DVR inside its digital cable boxes? Because that is the new way and you have a limit on storage. This is what the MPAA wants.

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