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Bill Gates Speaks Out Against Next-Gen DVDs 446

Posted by Zonk
from the format-independent dept.
jZnat writes "Although we all know that Microsoft hates Blu-Ray, Bill Gates doesn't seem to like HD-DVD either. Primarily, it seems, because Mr. Gates believes media storage on hard drives is likely to be the default standard sooner rather than later. From the interview: 'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"
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Bill Gates Speaks Out Against Next-Gen DVDs

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  • by Data Link Layer (743774) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:20AM (#13851817)
    Is an interesting idea, but, for it too work there has to be a distorbution system in place, that means high bandwidth. I think disks will be around a lot longer then mr. Gates thinks.
    • by mysticwhiskey (569750) <<mystic_whiskey> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:36AM (#13851874)
      DISTORBUTION - (n) A corruptive distortion-like field generated with the intent to imbue the subject with a sense of acceptance.
    • by pete19 (874979)

      I was thinking much the same thing, but if it was done right this could be a big boost to something like Bittorrent.

      I don't use ITMS, so I don't know what the file sizes are like for their video downloads, but if people were willing to wait a little longer I guess it could work for DVD type videos too.

    • Is an interesting idea, but, for it too work there has to be a distorbution system in place,

      There is [piratebay.se].

      Seriously, (ATTENTION MEDIA EXECS) do you know why I prefer P2P over DVDs ? Because:

      1. Getting a DVD forces me to get out and go to a shop. And, if I don't find what I want at the first shop I'll go to, I'll have to look around for it. On the other hand, a torrent search engine or P2P program finds me the movie in seconds, without me having to move more than my fingers.
      2. If I have a "HitMovie.avi" file
      • by Tet (2721) <[slashdot] [at] [astradyne.co.uk]> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:35AM (#13852059) Homepage Journal
        Of course, all this assumes that HitMovie has already been released to DVD - HitMovie.avi is typically available before the movie's first shown in theaters.

        You say that like it's a good thing. Much as I dislike the MPAA, the fact is that movies cost money to make. A lot of money. Yet you're proposing that the best way to view those movies is to download an unauthorised copy from the net before it's even hit the cinemas. That brings in precisely zero revenue to recoup the cost of making the film. I hate to break it to you, but there won't be a HitMovie.avi for you to download in a few years if this becomes the norm.

        • by Lepaca Kliffoth (850669) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @10:12AM (#13852191)
          That argument would have a basis if those movies deserved my money. Before I gave up Hollywood completely I was deleting 99% of the movies I downloaded halfway through seeing them. Just imagine how wasteful it would have been to pay for all of them. The problem is that Hollywood has lost the ability to appeal to its potential customers long ago and now nobody who has a clue would ever pay for a movie before he's seen it once and most won't care about owning a DVD with a barely average movie on it. Dowloading is easier, cheaper and you can dispose of a file with a simple command. I said "no" to Hollywood years ago. It can't produce more than a single great movie every 2-3 years. Most of its money are blown on movies that are so stupid that when I'm unfortunate enough to watch them I actually feel things grating against each other somewhere inside me. Let it die.
          • by The-Bus (138060) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @12:04PM (#13852605)
            That argument would have a basis if those movies deserved my money.


            They apparently deserve your time and effort. If you find it worthwhile to sit for 2 hours and watch Doom I think you'd be able to work for 15 minutes to get the $8 to see it at a matinee/cinema. Or, to wait a couple of months and spend $3 to see it on video. Or wait a year or two and see it on cable or broadcast TV.

            The thing is, "Hollywood" makes a lot of really good movies. And they make bad ones. For the "great movie" they make every 2-3 years, do you go to the theatre and pay to see it? Do you buy the DVD? Rent the movie? Tell your friends?

            If movies are really that bad, why even watch them? Downloading movies means you want to watch the movie. If you want to watch it, you should compensate the people who made it by seeing it in theatres / buying it on DVD / renting it / waiting for cable TV. If you think Hollywood movies are garbage, then fine. Don't support them. Don't pay for them. But you certainly shouldn't watch them, otherwise you're a hypocrite.
        • 1. perhaps the studio executives and actors are hideously overpaid, and that's why it costs a lot of money to make?

          2. There will always be a way for people to perform illegal activities, there is no situation I can imagine where they can be effectively stopped. They've been trying to stop it for more than a "few years" now.
          • If you think that an actor's salary contributes to the overwhelming majority of the cost of production of a movie, you're very wrong.

            I'm not even remotely involved in that business, and I know that just the *equipment* alone can probably run for a good few million, and let's not forget the cost of things like materials for costumes and props, as well at the cost of designing and building a set and the associated cost to use a space to film in. Also, add in the money that you have to pay the dozens of people
        • by po8 (187055)

          In the history of the world, no medium has been killed because folks couldn't afford to produce for it. Do you know how much it costs to run a symphony orchestra for a year? Yet much new symphonic music is written every year, and performed by the hundreds of symphony orchestras all over the world. This for a medium in which only a tiny fraction of the population is willing to listen at all. Note that ticket prices pay for only a fraction of the cost; the rest is made up in other ways.

          If we can keep pro

      • If I have a "HitMovie.avi" file, I'll watch it by giving the command "xine HitMovie.avi" to the computer. If I have a HitMovie DVD, I'll have to suffer trough FBI warnings (and possibly MPAA's "piracy is theft" music video wannabe), fuck around with the start menu, then I'll finally get to see the movie. Of course, all this assumes that HitMovie has already been released to DVD - HitMovie.avi is typically available before the movie's first shown in theaters.

        While I consider your other point valid, is pressi
      • 1. People buy DVDs in shops? Strange stuff, I swear by Amazon.co.uk (it's got search, and a great selection).

        2. Agree

        3. I tend to only find DVD storage space an issue for TV shows (to anyone producing TV shows on DVD - putting your DVDs one to a box is a massive waste of space). If it's a real nuisance for you, invest in a DVD folder [novatech.co.uk]. Sure, you lose the pretty packaging, but it doesn't seem you wanted it anyway.

        4. Never saw this as a big problem. Just sort your DVDs alphabetically then perform a binary sear
    • by leifm (641850)
      I think discs will be around for a few more years as well, however I think the discs that will stick around are DVD not Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Most people don't have a TV set that will let them enjoy any sort of quality improvement by jumping to HDDVD/BR and by the time they do I wouldn't be suprised to see bandwith catch up with HD content.
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hate to admit it but, I actually agree w/ Billy on this one...
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsro.gmail@com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:25AM (#13851837) Journal
      Agreeing with Bill Gates is an odd experience .
      I just can't help shake the "What's his angle " .
        Then Thinking a little more , I imagine It will be HDD based WMA files with MS DRM that is consumer friendly .
        Cutting out Sony , Philips etc. with their nasty DRM and allowing free reign for his slightly less nasty DRM
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:46AM (#13851904) Homepage Journal
        I cant but agree. For me the first thing that hit my mind was Bill G wanting all media being stored under Windows powered appliances instead. Those pesky DVD things arent really tied to one vendor, namely Microsoft. I do want my media tied to a movable disc much more than i want it tied to a specific computer or appliance. I also dont believe for a second that the DRM from Microsoft will be one bit friendlier than the ones on the new DVD formats. Who will decide that, Microsoft or the media companies? Just because MS wants it nice and friendly does not say RIAA and MPAA will follow their wishes.

        All DRM sucks as it tries to take away basic functions from the consumer by technichs when laws say otherwise. Its just a way to sidestep fair use law.
        • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gherald (682277)
          > All DRM sucks as it tries to take away basic functions from the consumer by technichs when laws say otherwise. Its just a way to sidestep fair use law.
          The DMCA already took care of sidestepping fair use. DRM is just an implementation.
        • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

          by quarkscat (697644)
          Amen!

          Bill Gates's (MSFT's) position regarding the BLU-RAY HD-DVD has virtually nothing to do with "protecting" "consumers' rights". If that was even a credible position, neither Trusted Computing nor MS-Vista DRM would be in their roadmap. It is all about who controls the DRM-protected IP that is to be spoon-fed and metered out to the lowly consumer. The larger (and longer term) revenue stream will come from the control of the DRM, rather than the IP it restricts.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ebuck (585470) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:51AM (#13851917)
        I believe that his "angle" is that a very large corporation which is directly responsible is releasing a new operating system who's only major advertisable feature is a new media player.

        So, it might do Bill some personal economic good to talk about how the future of film / media distribution will not use the DVDs/HDVDs/Blu-Rays but will use hard disks, which will only be enjoyable with a media player. And since this corporation has such market penetration and will be giving away said media player pre-installed, such perceived needs only move to drive the perceived need to adopt this (so-called) new operating system.

        And I didn't even have to add in the DRM angle.
      • "Cutting out Sony , Philips etc. with their nasty DRM and allowing free reign for his slightly less nasty DRM"

        Well of course he's going to be pushing his own DRM format, but that doesn't mean we can't agree with him. Personally, I detest DRM in every form, but if one happens to believe that DRM is the only way studios will agree to online distribution, then Microsoft's method is certainly more consumer friendly.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that the studios want to control how and where we watch our

  • How far wrong is he? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Derg (557233) <alex.nunley@gmail.com> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:21AM (#13851821) Journal
    Come on. 60 gigs in less space than a twinkie. I cant see this prognostication being that far off, except that its ironic he makes claims about being anti-consumer while pushing his own flavor of DRM down our throats. *sigh*
    • by ebuck (585470) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:55AM (#13851926)
      Winston: I'm worried, Ray. All my readings point to something big on the horizon.

      Ray: What do you mean, big?

      Winston: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of hard drive space in a New York area desktop. Based on this morning's reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

      Ray: That's a big Twinkie.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's Egon who explains it to Ray, and Winston who says "That's a big Twinkie".

        Sigh, I have no life do I?

        Better post AC.
  • Isn't it funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_unknown_soldier (675161) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:22AM (#13851825)
    While Bill Gates talks about how content should be hard drive based, The ITMS actually lets you buy epsisodes of lost for $2.

    If you are going to make a format irrelevant, provide a viable alternative Bill.
    • While Bill Gates talks about how content should be hard drive based, The ITMS actually lets you buy epsisodes of lost for $2.

      Irrelevant. Microsoft don't sell content, they sell technology. There are several sites selling MSDRM-covered content (although none with the real clout of ITMS, with the possible exception of the BBC online service tests, which use Microsoft's DRM). They've provided a technological alternative, but content selling is not their market sector — they have, however, provided too

    • He's discounting a technology that's designed to give you HDTV quality content because he thinks people want to store that content on their hard drives. How exactly is that content going to get from the distributor to your hard drive? Am I expected to download 50 gig of data? Even over an 8Mbps connection (which is far in excess of what _most_ people have these days) that's over 14 hours assuming I can saturate the connection. And most home-user connections are asymmetrical so peer2peer won't help nearl
  • by badfish99 (826052) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:24AM (#13851834)
    What? Bill Gates thinks that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer? Is this the same Bill Gates who is responsible for the copy protection schema for Windows XP?
    • by Xyrus (755017) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:29AM (#13851847) Journal
      It should be noted that every decision at MS is not necessarily Billy Boy's decision. Bill Gates is a public figure, the public knows him. But companies are not just one man shows, especially ones as large as MS.

      ~X~
    • by mysticwhiskey (569750) <<mystic_whiskey> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:31AM (#13851852)
      Ala Keyser Soze - "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist"

      ;)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course the scheme is anti-consumer -- on that I agree with Gates. However, the HD-DVD is also anti-consumer, only marginally less so. The fact is *both* of these new standards are anti-consumer and both make sure that the players are never truly out of the control of the manufacturers... they are never really "owned" by the people who pay for them.

      Gates' problem with Blu-ray is that it is controlled by Sony, the big dog in the console world where Microsoft wants to play. His "anti-consumer" argument is

    • by Anonymous Coward
      And is it the same Bill Gates who's responsible for the "new standard for content distribution and digital rights management" ?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Access_Conte nt_System [wikipedia.org]
      "The group developing it includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Matsushita, Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. The standard has been adopted as the access restriction scheme for HD-DVD and Blu-ray."

      _V_
    • Bill G says it's anti consumer not because it's anti-consumer, though it is, but because it's not completely controlled by Microsoft. Anti-consumer implementations of technologies that are Micrsoft owned and controlled are just fine for him.
    • Of course Blu-Ray is anti-consumer. It can be played on a Blu-Ray disk player without the need for a licenced copy of Windows-whatever. Same goes for HDDVD, and even for the old-fashioned DVD / VHS / Beta / film reel formats.

      Note that there's virtually no copy protection on the older formats, it just costs more to duplicate the media. So, I'm not so sure that copy protection schemas have anything to do with Bill's definition of pro-consumer / anti-consumer. Perhaps the article should have mentioned who'
    • Windows XP activation takes about 10 seconds to do. It's not anti-consumer... at least, not nearly as much as a DVD format that doesn't allow ripping to HD *at all*. HD DVD had provisions for that, Blu-ray doesn't.
      • XP allows you to install it on your machine over and over again, transfer it between HDs, slipstream a service pack into your setup image. Activation is more draconic than previous Windows releases, but compared to for example dongle use, the SafeDisc protection for games or the original CSS scheme, it's kind of benign. It doesn't prevent you to install it on the machine where you want to use it. It doesn't really enforce anything other than not spreading your setup image to just about everyone, which, by i
  • by Hosiah (849792) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:30AM (#13851848)
    ...I would sprint for the cliff out of sheer reflex. I wasn't so sure about Blu-Ray before, but anybody Bill Gates doesn't like is a friend of mine!

    As for the Redmond round table: I just realized that every time I hear Microsoft open it's mouth these days, it's complaining or unhappy about something. Is this what a mastodon sounds like as it sinks into a tar pit?

  • Erp? (Score:4, Funny)

    by hardgeus (6813) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:31AM (#13851853)
    So...confused...don't know which evil to side with...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:33AM (#13851858)
    It is true that organizations are looking at blu-ray only to hedge their bets. Blu-ray can easily prevent people from properly using the format - it is loaded with an unprecidented amount of "control" technology that can be used to target or knock out particular hardware or software products. If I were a hardware or software vendor, I'd be very concerned about blu-ray. As a consumer, I'd be only more concerned - what if the disc I buy rejects my player or computer or software package? Instead of one simple standard like the classic CD, suddenly there are thousands of incompatibilities, all with the name "blu-ray". Crazy! I can foresee the side panel of blu-ray box, with a technology compatibility list 100 lines long. This is not what we need.

    As a system that is loaded with patents and license agreements, you can bet that blu-ray will be well supported by industry licensees until the key patents start to expire. Then you can expect a mass-exodus to a new, yet unnamed "standard" that has more patent protection. Given the most of the patents involved are 3-10 years old, give Blu-Ray a 10 year life.

  • Sour Grapes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bbzzdd (769894) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:33AM (#13851861)
    Funny how he was riding the HD-DVD parade all the way up until Warner Bros jumped ship this week, spelling pretty much the death of the format. Now, he's all about direct digital distribution? Sure optical media is going the way of the dodo, but Gates is very much flop-flopping here.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      it's flip-flopping.
    • Re:Sour Grapes? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cylix (55374)
      Nah,

      I think they had that planned with their DRM anyway. Think iTunes and multiple registered computers. So you could share out your hd-dvd stuff to another device (probably with a codec shuffle or recompression).

      They have simply dropped the media and pushing digital distribution.

      That might work somewhere else, but I didn't think HD codecs were good enough for the typical broadband found in American homes.

      It's just a grab for something in the mist, but I don't believe the media partners are going to follow
    • Sure optical media is going the way of the dodo...

      I'm not sure it is. I find it hard to believe that throw-away and WORM media will ever become obsolete. There will be times when I need something that I can just give to someone in the real world, and not worry about getting it back. We'll need backups and archives. Even if media distribution (movies, music) goes completely on-line, without any physical media whatsoever, I don't think that it means disposable high-capacity removable media will be obsole

  • right on the spot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javilon (99157) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:36AM (#13851876) Homepage
    He is right in his view that the MPAA will back blue ray because of the anticonsumer copy protection in the format.
    He is also right when he says that people is increasingly storing stuff in hard drives because they are competitive on the price per dollar side and they are much more reliable than the easily scratched current recordable DVDs.

    He is mostly wrong about a lot of other stuff, but I have to give him this one.
    • He is right in his view that the MPAA will back blue ray because of the anticonsumer copy protection in the format.

      Except for the bit about Blu-Ray maybe not requiring the availability of a managed copy (HD-DVD), both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use the SAME copy prevention system, AACS.

      I don't know about the cost per GB. It's going down for all formats. Desktop hard drives don't get jostled much, so I can see why someone might say a whole hard drive is more durable than a slice of optical media. Currently record
  • If Bill Gates is so angry, let him attempt the E^3. That is, E mbrace, E xtend and finally E xtinguish, on all non-conforming entities. After all, he still has loads of cash to spend.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:41AM (#13851893)
    Its DRM is Java-based.
  • Ignore the Audience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ebuck (585470) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:42AM (#13851895)
    Bill Gates can speak out against whatever he wishes. Until he considers who his audience is, it won't do very much.

    The distributers of media want a format that is not-alterable. That way, there's not even the discussion of loss of data / corruption of data in transit. The consumers want a format that is not-alterable. If I buy a movie, I don't want to find that it's been "modified" rendering it useless, or worse yet, partially useful.

    Sure, there is a market for downloading movies onto a hard drive, but realistically, hard drives fail, and I'll want a backup. DVD's may not be the best technology in the world, but it comes with a built-in feature, it is read-only. I don't want to be saddled with the responsibility for determining the validity of burnt DVDs, because I really can't do that for all of the films I intend to own. Especially when the previous expectation is for the PRODUCER of the content to produce copies of it for my consumption.

    Any technology that is read-write could be overwritten, which isn't a pretty thought to consider when you just paid for the CONTENT on the media.
    • I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I'm willing to bet that hard drives are quite a bit more reliable than optical media. Perhaps not if you go around dropping them, but under normal use...

      Anyway, any reliable online media store keeps records of your purchases and allows you to download the media you've purchased multiple times. This means that if you manage to lose the media, you can always just download it again. Granted, if the company goes out of business, then you're in trouble... bu
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:47AM (#13851905)
    Physical disks are just a means to an end. Why buy a physical disk player and physical disks when bandwidth provides the same experience? Physical formats add bulk without adding much value (in most cases). I'd bet that most people want the content and relatively few people want the artifact.

    I wonder how CD player and disk sales are doing? Last I heard both were flat or declining. Once people realized that they wanted their music on an iPod, the CD became an added hassle. The same process will occur with DVDs.

    But DVDs won't die for 10-20 years because some collectors will be willing to pay handsomely for the "Extended Platinum Director's Super Secret Cut Anniversary Re-release edition with matching book-ends." What will occur is that fewer B-list titles will appear on DVD because video-on-demand/pay-per-view/download services will offer a larger play list with lower distribution costs.

    • All I want is to turn on my TV and watch a movie. I really don't care what format the movie is in. The easiest way to do this is to plug something directly into my TV, or something attached to my TV. I don't was the hassle of booting up my PC, waiting 8 hours to download it, then connecting that PC to something that has a big enough display to watch (I don't know about you but my PC display is not 60" wide).

      And for those of you that think the PC and TV will merge someday: the first day I have to reboot m

      • by CiXeL (56313)
        I've had my DVD player menu crash. Simply put the more complex the software gets in things the greater your chances of this occurring. It's inevitable.
        • I agree. I've had software updates to my SUV three times in the last four years.

          Which is why I firmly believe that software that directly impacts a persons safety should be written only by Engineers that have been trained to develop software for mission critical applications (and whose conduct is bound by a code of ethics and a regulatory body).

    • Why buy a physical disk player and physical disks when bandwidth provides the same experience?

      I'm with you, believe me I am. But there is still a good reason to buy or rent a physical disc. For one thing speed. I can go to the local video store and rent a flick in about an hour. That's 4 to 8 gigs/hr. Further I can buy/rent more than one flick. That's pretty snazzy, equal to a 10 to 20mbit connection. Further I can buy/rent more than one. But the main reason to go with physical discs is for the conc
  • Lets Just say... (Score:4, Informative)

    by thebdj (768618) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:51AM (#13851915) Journal
    that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use their full dual-layer storage capacities of 50GB and 30GB respectively. Now, the largest currently available 3.5" internal HDD is 500 GB. Presently that would mean a maximum of ~10 Blu-Ray movies or ~16 HD-DVD movies. This is not a lot considering I counted over 200 DVDs on my shelf, making over the 500GB alone.

    Another mentioned problem is distribution. The largest "widely" available download speeds available from Verizon via FIOS (which I will admit is not that widely available), is 30 Mbps. Now assuming you get the peak download speeds, we are talking about downloading 400,000 Mb or 240,000 Mb depending on the media. This would result in download times of 3 to 4 hours for Blu-Ray type media and of 2 to 3 hours for HD-DVD Media. On the more standard 6 Mbps connection these times would be nearly 5x larger. I think I can get to Best Bu,y Circuit City, or some other store and home in about 30 minutes tops. You have to remember a great number of consumers still pay for convenience, even in DVD purchases.

    I think the hard drive storage Bill is hoping for is a pipe dream, unless of course he is planning on HDDs becoming so cheap you can sell a movie on one and then just pop it into your "player" and let it go...but HDDs are so big, and they do come with a host of their own problems...
  • Interesting reading (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ars Technica goes Inside Microsoft's decision to back HD DVD http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/hardware/mi crosoft-hd-dvd.ars [arstechnica.com] Bluray fires back http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050929/sfth060.html?.v =32 [yahoo.com] Microsoft Responds http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050929-5366 .html [arstechnica.com]
  • You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"

    That the MPAA will release its movies only with DRM seems obvious. But I see no reason why the use of the new format for other purposes is more restricted that the use of, say, CD-R.
    Is there a mandatory copy protection I have missed?
  • by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @08:59AM (#13851941)
    Bill Gates doesn't care that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use restrictive, anti-customer technologies. After all, Gates is that one who's letting Hollywood studios design the high-powered DRM in Windows Vista. He's the one crippling media playback on non-approved PC peripherals.

    What Gates mostly cares about, I'll bet, is that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD keep your data chained to another vendor's disc. Microsoft could have a few problems with this; after all, the inability to back up or rip discs will make Windows look like a second-rate OS, while Linux will undoubtedly end up with open source DRM-cracking tools. Gates would rather keep your data locked into your Windows installation. That way, Microsoft-approved devices like the Xbox will work with it, but non-approved devices like the iPod won't.
    • by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @10:47AM (#13852308)
      Another post early on explained it in a great way. Gates may not necessarily care about consumer rights from a humanitarian perspective, but he certainly does from a business perspective.

      Basically, he wants Windows to become the complete center of the digital home universe. Everything from TV, music, movies, home automation, personal management, purchases, etc will be done on and controlled by the computer. Problem is, Big Media doesn't want it's content accessible to computers unless they can be guaranteed people won't make copies and/or distribute their copyrighted works. Gates himself has nothing to gain, rather, everything to lose by caving in to high level DRM such as with Blu-Ray. He wants the computer/Windows to be the complete media management solution where people can do essentially anything with media, including stream/copy media to any computer in the house for playback. But again, the media conglomerates see that as an encroachment of their copyright, even if it falls under the category of fair-use.

      Anything considered fair-use (in terms of media) is a good thing for Gates, because it means people are free to use his platform to do whatever they want with media they purchase.
  • by krygny (473134) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:02AM (#13851952)
    Every time something he doesn't like (for whatever reason) starts to gain prominence, he makes comments like this in an attempt to freeze the market and play the White Knight with an alternative that is really, REALLY bad for consumers, but much better for him.
  • by strider44 (650833) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:10AM (#13851970)
    'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'

    Yes Mr Stallman, but I think that this sort of thing is bound to happen whatever you...Bill who said what?
  • .. so, if harddisk storage is so important for Bill Gates, why do I have to jump through hoops to get Windows 2000 to see more than 137 GB [microsoft.com]?

    I know!! 137GB's aught to be enough for anybody, right?
    • .. so, if harddisk storage is so important for Bill Gates, why do I have to jump through hoops to get Windows 2000 to see more than 137 GB?

      An interesting link. The data loss/corruption is worrisome. A crashing app is one thing, but filesystem corruption is much worse and may not be noticed before months has passed by rendering backups much ot-of-date:

      * Operating systems that do not have 48-bit LBA support enabled by default (such as Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), or

  • A telling quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markbark (174009) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:28AM (#13852030) Homepage
    "'Well, the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs. You won't be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.'"

    Translation: ANY version of DRM where WE don't hold the keys? That will not do!

    --MAB
  • by sane? (179855) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:29AM (#13852034)
    Hmm, I have to wonder if this might be a shot across the bows of the movie industry. Consider that Bill wants the PC (and Media Centre) to be at the heart of the future home. As it stands the PC will be at best an expensive HD delivery mechanism, since they are trying to prevent you downloading and storing the HD disk on your hard disk.

    Bill is not happy.

    However, he has WMV9, DRM and high bandwidth broadband connections to play with. If he launches a solution that will enable you to encode and replay HD content via your PC - with say a movie at 720p in 10-15Gb then he can say to content providers "sell your content with my DRM, in my store, to replay on this system". They will say no, but he doesn't care, he just waits for the hackers to create a system to extract and replay Blu-Ray content via the new system. They can distribute it in the same way they distribute DVDs - at the same time fixing the existing holes that RIAA exploit.

    People then have a choice of paying lots for a new system, and new content - or just a HD capable PC and the file sharing that people are already happy with. Cue movie industry meltdown.

    This looks to be very much "play nice or I'll get nasty". He can make it so that the easiest HD solution is one based on file sharing. Expect to see secure download to your PC as part of an updated Blu-Ray and HD-DVD spec.

  • I certainly don't hope hard disks are the way of the future -- I want get away from these lound power-hungrey spinning accidents waiting to happen and start moving stuff to flash solid-state memory. If the iPod Nano can have it, why not my next iBook?
  • ...I'd say that HDDs were the future. If the movie companies took the original footage (not DVDs that have been compressed a round already), compressed it with modern codecs and you'd have at least 100 movies in a standard 250GB HDD of equal to or higher than DVD quality.

    Now, Blue-Ray is promising 25GB/disc encoded with high quality codecs. 10 in a 250GB HDD? That's a dead proposition. People won't have a whole RAID array spinning just to have a 40-50 film library. And harddisks haven't been significly impr
  • On the other hand Mr. Gates thinks that the future is streaming and storing videos on the harddrive, and that the WMV format is ideal for this, and also very consumer friendly. And it will integrate excellently with all PCs. (As long as the PC is running Windows(TM) of course. But in the future alle PCs will be running windows, so that's not an issue.)
  • by Garwulf (708651) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @09:58AM (#13852143) Homepage
    It took me a bit of time after reading this article to figure out how to put this, but I think I know now what I'm going to say. I don't buy the idea that DVDs or discs of some sort will be replaced by hard disk space, regardless of what happened to music and iPods.

    Back when my ebook was published, there was a lot of talk about how ebooks were going to supplant the print book. It hasn't happened, and there's a few reasons for that. A book that is bound with a spine is called a codex, and there really isn't a way to improve on it as a format. A codex doesn't require electricity, it is portable, and you can do just about anything you want with the book itself. It is completely self contained - the only equipment it is truly linked to in order to function are the eyes of the reader (and something with which to turn pages). An ebook, on the other hand, has copy protection issues to deal with, requires electricity of some sort to use, and if the electronic reader breaks down, the ebook becomes inaccessible, or possibly even lost. Is it any surprise that the numbers that constitute a bestseller for an ebook are a fraction of the what is required for a print book?

    Now, take a DVD. So far, I think it's become about as close to what the codex is for books as is possible for movies (although it could be a bit smaller and contain more information). It has no moving parts, it's portable, and while it requires a player to watch the movie, the player breaking down will not damage the movie, or prevent me from taking it to another player.

    If it becomes just a download onto a hard drive, a lot of these merits are lost. The movie is attached to the player, if the player goes down the movie can be lost, and there are a bunch of new digital rights issues to deal with (and let's face it, we're not doing that well with figuring out how to deal with digital rights right now). Also, once the movies are being stored on a hard drive, it becomes difficult to deal with them individually - let's say I want to loan one to a friend, or to take one with me when I travel out of town. In order to do that, I'd have to loan or take the entire hard disk.

    No, I don't buy the idea of a format like the DVD being supplanted. It has always seemed to me that the most lasting technologies are those that offer the most utility in the simplest way. And, when it comes down to it, DVDs are pretty simple. They can certainly still be improved, but I honestly can't see a portable medium like the DVD being replaced by a medium like the hard disk.
  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @10:06AM (#13852176) Journal
    If the technology is so user-unfriendly, then it'll be defeated by the users, sorry, the customers. The customers already have a technology that works, called DVD. It works good enough for most of them, so you have to give them reasons to upgrade (Bill should know a thing or two about it, from a certain product he has, called Office). If you don't, you won't sell a Blue-Ray player ever.

    Well, the studios could refuse to release the films in DVD format, but, you know, that's kind of difficult till you have a big customer base. After all, it's your main revenue source, you don't play with that. And then there is piracy. No amount of protection is going to protect the content, as you will always have at least the analog output to recode, and most likely a tweaked Blue-Ray player to play with.

    So I don't particularly care one way or the other. If they protect too much, they'll never win market share, and hard disks are not the only competitor that they will find. Think cheap memory cards, for example. I personally think that these standards are a bit early in the day, driven more by the desire of selling us again the same old films in the shiny new format, than by any customer desire. If they really cared about the customer they would quit displaying stupid screens at the beginning of the DVDs that you cannot skip. I regularly copy my DVDs and you know what, the copies are more used by my family than the originals, because you simply pop the disk and the film starts, no menus, no nothing. So that's a customer desire (my family being fairly typical), and it's not even being considered.

    Note to the studios: Do you want to end piracy? Sell DVDs at 3$ from the same day of the first screening, and you are done. You'll even win probably more money than now, as people will buy the cheap DVDs before their friend tell them that the film is no good (what happens with most films nowadays, which was the last film that left you Wow! ? For me it was the Matrix, and that's some years away).

  • by Quixadhal (45024) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @10:27AM (#13852237) Homepage Journal
    VHS macrovision... evil.
    DVD region coding... evil.
    HD-DVD small capacity... evil.
    Blu-Ray Super-DRM... Evil.
    Hard Drive distribution failure rates, cost... Evil!
    Download network saturation... EVIL!
    Streaming-only content lack of persistancy... EEEEVIL!

    Wherefore art thou Crystal Storage?
  • Gates sez... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday October 22, 2005 @01:10PM (#13852899)
    "...the protection scheme under Blu-Ray is very anti-consumer and there's not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [MPAA] got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won't work well on PCs."

    Then why are all the major PC manufacturers backing Blu-Ray instead of HD-DVD?

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