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High Definition ICT downgrade delayed

Written by Dave Horvath @ 22 May 2006 8:22 User comments (11)

High Definition ICT downgrade delayed With the ongoing battle of HDTV standards and policies, developers had set to employ a feature called ICT or Image Constraint Token. What ICT is capable of is forcing the downgrade of video quality for players that lack the HDMI connection standard, in an attempt to thwart piracy. Essentially, this HDMI connection standard is used as part of a "protection pathway" that makes it impossible for pirates to tap into a HD video source.
Growing concerns over this token has spawned discussions that many consumers, if not appropriately equipped, may be forced to deal with a player that either displays severly downgraded quality, or doesn't play next generation video at all.

Unofficial agreements between Hollywood and some consumer electronics companies including Sony and Microsoft have been discussed to not include the ICT standard until 2010 or possibly even 2012.

Without providing more details, the report suggests that Hollywood isn't exactly happy with the situation, and could very well renege on the agreement, such that it is. But the agreement is there nonetheless, presumably to help the industry transition to HDMI. This could explain why the very same studios that pushed for HDMI and ICT have recently announced that they would not use it for the time being.

The report's claims could also shed some light on two of the more baffling consumer electronics moves as of late. Sony stunned onlookers when it announced that the low-end PlayStation 3, which will retail for US$499, will not have HDMI. This put Sony in the awkward position of downplaying HDMI as a "must have" feature for a next-generation optical disc player. Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, sidestepped the lack of HDMI by painting it as a high-end standard that wouldn't be aesthetically appreciated by many consumers.

ARS Technica

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11 user comments

122.5.2006 09:34

What about people like me who have already bought a HDTV without hdmi? Will Hollywood buy a new TV for me when they eventually implement hdmi?

222.5.2006 10:06

I wonder...Do you have a DVI??? HDMI = DVI + Optical Audio so a DVI to HDMI adapter should do the trick, unless if the powers that be distinguish between the two and force the downconversion....

322.5.2006 12:12

There is no agreed upon standard for HDTV yet. Is it any surprise there is no agreement for ICT? Once you get a HD and Digital TV, I hear you must feed it a HD and Digital signal. Spelled more "money". I hear that if you feed a regular signal to a HD set that it looks worse than a regular signal to a regular TV. I really don't know from experience. I still have a regular cable and TV that works just fine for me. I can NOT afford to jump on the money go round involved with all this conflicting hardware that some one else says that I "simply must have". Please wake me when this Beta vs VHS battle is over and the prices have reenter the oxygen level.

422.5.2006 13:48

Finally these idiots have waken up. only 10 percent of the market had HDTV of the 10 percent 5 percent including lack HDMI output. I got a 57" Sony (albeit crappy like all Sony products) that lacks HDMI not that care for anything with DRM on it anyhow so I use the Component outputs for HD cable and it works great.

522.5.2006 13:53

To me this is all new technology and it will take awhile before they master it or get it too a standard that is suitable and reliable without many or no glitches. I'm not going to get one till it becomes the norm.

622.5.2006 14:27

This is the reason I have not gone out and bought a HDTV yet. Number 1 reason: The price!!! way out of my budget, and 2: The good old "Format" war, once again, it comes into play as with all new technology. LOL and lets hope this one gets resolved soon. As others have stated, they have already bought HDTV's and what happens to them??? LOL!!!

722.5.2006 15:02

Thats all good and well, but HDMI will be broken within weeks of its wide spread adoption. All it is going to take is for like 50 private keys to be 'acquired', and from that the master key can be generated. From that, someone will make a box something like the macrovision filters for DVDs, and HDMI will be a multimillion dollar joke. And they've been warned about it too, but their solution is lawsuits and gagging orders, not a rethink of a poor security model. Don't worry about it at all, the sooner it gets released the easier it will be to break.

822.5.2006 16:19

Well, I just got an hdtv with an hdmi imput to replace my 2 year old unit that "only had componet" video inputs, but I have 2 hacked upscaleing dvd players that will upscale through the componet outputs.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 May 2006 @ 5:42

922.5.2006 17:01

Yeah need to find the hack code for a Sony DVP- NS70H

1023.5.2006 06:41

It's all a rip-off game, the UK seems to have a special flare for it too. 'Our' retail outlets have decided (for our own good, naturally) that HD TV will mean LCD or Plasma and are deliberately blocking the retailing of cheaper CRT HD TV's (which the USA has had for yonks....4yrs is it?).

1127.5.2006 02:25

I hear that if you feed a regular signal to a HD set that it looks worse than a regular signal to a regular TV. I really don't know from experience. I still have a regular cable and TV that works just fine for me.
You're right, had to deliver a repaired 50" 1080 HD Sony Plasma and the person had digital cable. When we tested it, the show on was only SD, and it looked awful.

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