Vista: no CableCARD streaming to other PCs (Ars Technica) | Ars Technica has a summery of last weeks No Streaming CableCARD Content to Other Windows PC’s, and questions the ability to transfer content to portable device…
Quote: “It’s hard to believe that Microsoft wouldn’t enable this at least for the Zune (which currently has no way to transfer video back off the device, making it “safe” for content owners), but it’s not clear exactly which parties are behind which restrictions.”
While this is true from the basic consumer use standpoint, it’s not hard to get anything off a Portable Media Center (and I assume Zune too). Taking for example the Creative Zen Portable Media Center, which I have personally taken apart, the data on the device is not secured in any manor. The hard drive used in the Creative Portable Media Center is an Hitachi Travelstar, and mixed with a simple IDE to USB adapter you can access it directly from Windows. Its FAT32 formatted, and the files are unencrypted (though the organization method of Windows Mobile on the devices leaves a lot to be desired, relaying on ASF meta data, but this has nothing to do with CableCARD)
So, despite the fact that the Zune/Portable Media Center’s can’t re-copy content back over to Windows doesn’t mean the data is secure! It’s going to take a lot more than the software on the PC not allowing you to, it’s got to stay secure on media too.
If you take a look at anything related to CableCARD, part of the deal is the data must stay protected throughout it’s existence. I don’t know all of the reasoning behind not allowing CableCARD content onto portable devices, but there are generally loads of regulations about unsecured hardware and hardware which could allow sniffing on any bus.
I’m hoping CableLabs and Microsoft will be able to work something out using WMDRM to secure the data on the device. However, with Zune supporting whatever new DRM method they are, I don’t know if it supports WMDRM10 for example (anyone know what DRM technologies are support on Zune, please let me know).
The other concept that might work in the future is streaming to the Zune since it has built-in WiFi. Streaming is a good option for in-home viewing, and I would bet easier to secure too.
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