Thoughts and Answers on Managed Copies

I’ve been talking about the ability to legally “rip” HD-DVD’s to your hard drive for some time now, and of course today Microsoft finally made their announcement that they will pair with Intel to provide support for HD-DVD in Windows and with Intel’s Viiv-based PC’s.  I have seen many questions pop-up about some of the features and about your ability to do certain actions with the media.


Thomas Hawk had questions about the quality and file size of a “Managed Copy” over the original HD-DVD.  Ed Bott speculates that better compression will cut down the file size which is kind of true, but I’m not sure if Ed is thinking of the compression used in the correct manner.  While we do have much more advanced and efficient video and audio codec’s, it doesn’t always mean file sizes will be drastically cut.  There isn’t much stopping “studio x” from encoding their video using MPEG-2.  For a feature length movie at 1920x1080p, you’re looking at 30GB cutting it close!  You will have to add audio and extras too!  Most studios will be encoding video with either MPEG-4 AVC HP or VC-1.  This will cut down file size of the overall disc, but you as a consumer should really want that disc to be as full as possible.  Greater bitrates (in turn larger file sizes) means better video and audio quality to start with.  Oh, 30GB HD-DVD’s might be available at launch, but that doesn’t mean the all studios will play the price for them.  Think about it!


If I remember correctly, you will be able to make at least a single “Managed Copy” at full resolution.  Look for a host of other information on this near the end of October or start of November.  This is where that crazy AACS content protection system I’m always talking about starts to come into play.  =)


Sean Alexander had also posted this news and his views on “Managed Copies” and Kenn left a comment about the type of “reactivation” that will be needed to keep the content secure.  This is true, and you will need an active Internet connection to take advantage of “Managed Copies” for HD-DVD.


Ian Dixon asked if the process will be easy to get your copy, and you can bet the answer is yes!  It will be extremely simple to copy an HD-DVD to our hard drive.  =)


Windows Vista will of course play into this in many ways.  I would very much assume that Vista will be needed to take advantage of “Managed Copies“.  There are some downfalls to the “Managed Copy” feature with HD-DVD that will play out in the upcoming months.  To try and kill a bit of what might pop-up in the feature, while it is a “guaranteed feature”, it doesn’t mean that you purchased the right to make a copy when you bought the HD-DVD.


My single question about all of this is where is the HDMI output on the Xbox 360!  There will be a secure path with WMRM to get content TO the Xbox 360, so there must be a path OUT to also keep it secure.  I still hold my thoughts that Microsoft has the best chance to win your Living Room, the rest of the pieces just need to start falling.  This mainly comes with Vista and the framework that is being built to allow the consumer to get this media on their PC!

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts and Answers on Managed Copies

  1. "Why couldn’t I watch the movie I paid for just cause the internet was down!!". I can see the problems now.

    Benig someone with an extensive hdtv movie collection on their mce machine, I’m signifigantly more siked about upcoming dvd changer support. hopefully the hush hush is because its the larger than dvd formats. Its just too costly and heat generating to keep that much space in an mce machine. jukeboxes have gotta be cheaper and no delay in the time it takes to rip.

  2. Chris, aren’t HD-DVD disks hybrid, with both standard and HD copies on a single disk? If so, that’s about 5GB of the 30 that won’t be needed for a copy. Also, I’m betting that most people who want to rip a copy of a DVD won’t want every single extra, interview, and behind-the-scenes documentary. So I really don’t think the 20GB per movie estimate is out of line. Might even be a little high.

    YMMV, of course!

  3. manor should be "manner", also there is a rumored hdmi cable for x360 MS has talked about it, I think they said it is to be relaeased later – this might fit with HD-DVD roll out

  4. Chris, that isn’t what my technical references say on HD-DVD capacities. The specification says that each side has 15GB of storage, making a total of 30GB. If you put a standard DVD on there, the 4.7GB has to come out of that total capacity.

    Here’s one source: <a href="">Disctronics</a&gt;

    Do you have a link I can follow to see more details on the different formats?

    Note that the same source says that WMV HD can do a full-length movie in 1080 line video on a single layer HD-DVD (ie, 15GB). Presumably this is the format that will be used in Vista Media Center.

    PS: Your capcha system is rejecting 4 of 5 posts from me.

  5. I doubt the ability of the XBox 360 (as it will be sold initially) to have a DVI-HDCP/HDMI cable. Is say this based upon the fact that all the current outputs (composite, S-Video, component and VGA) are analog based. I doubt the rear av connector has the digital out pins built in. I hope I am wrong though. Mostly because as Chris says this means you can’t watch DRM HD content from a MCE box. Secondly though because all new TVs are being sold with HDMI (or at least DVI).

  6. Ed: Never heard of that source. Here’s something from Toshiba

    There are several types of HD-DVD discs that have been developed, but I don’t know for sure which will be able to be used in shipping HD-DVD players. Cinram has a dual sided, hybrid disk that can do 8.4GB on one side and 15GB on the other. Memory-Tech and Toshiba have a single sided, dual layer (no flipping the disc) that does 4.7GB and then 15GB. I don’t remember off the top of my head what the 30GB discs do, but I would assume it’s the some concept (single/dual sided, dual layer, etc) There is also a three layer disc that does 45GB out there for HD-DVD.

    Microsoft will have no direct control over what codec’s are used on the disc’s from different studio’s. It can either be VC-1 (aka WMV9, aka VC-9), or MPEG-4 AVC (aka H.264), or MPEG-2.

    All the current WMV-HD titles are under 10Mbps, IIRC. I can check on that, but using VC-1 AP VBR it will be about 10GB for just the single movie using about the lowest bitrates. Higher bitrates will be better, and studios will hopefully take advantage of them. You also have to add audio to the disc, then extras, then everything else.

    The webmaster is trying to fix the problems with CAPCHA. I can’t do much about it except turn them off. As soon as I do that I get 20+ spam posts in an hour. 🙁 Sorry.

    Chris Lanier

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