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BitTorrent Video Download Store Falls Flat 195

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the working-as-intended dept.
seriously writes "We've all heard about BitTorrent going legit this week with legal movie and TV show downloads. Ars Technica took a look at the service to see how usable it was and ran into a few snags, including not being able to download or even open the video files on some computers. However, the ones that they did manage to open varied a lot in quality. Overall, they blame DRM: 'Without knowing whether browser compatibility and dysfunctional video files are a rare occurrence or not, it's hard to say whether BitTorrent's service is a good one overall. Our initial experiences have been disappointing and frustrating, and guess what the culprit is once again? DRM. Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear, but whatever the cause, it's simply unacceptable.'"
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BitTorrent Video Download Store Falls Flat

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  • again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @01:59PM (#18184416) Homepage
    Our initial experiences have been disappointing and frustrating, and guess what the culprit is once again? DRM. Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear, but whatever the cause, it's simply unacceptable.'

    Once again proving the point that DRM is nothing but punishment for being a paying customer.
    • Re:again... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:03PM (#18184460) Homepage
      No, according to the RIAA it *adds* value for the customer!!! *rolls eyes*

      Is a week long enough to tell if a service will work in the long run? Imagine if we used such journalistic skills for companies like Microsoft or McDonalds...

      "After a solid 7 hours of being open, it's clear, Microsoft will never make a sale."

      Tom
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:31PM (#18185616) Journal

        If I go into a newly opened restaurant, give my order and seven hours later I would still be waiting for my food, I would NOT give that restaurant another chance.

        You seem to have an amazingly silly idea of how you sell things. In the real world you get your stuff in order and THEN launch. I know I know, this the computer industry, home of the patch and beta release, but regular stores like McDonalds do NOT work that way.

        Why on earth you label a regular business with Microsoft or for that matter an IT company is beyond me.

        You can rest assure that when McD launches a new hamburger they will have at least done some testing to see that the majority of customers are in fact able to digest it. They also do not attempt to stop you from feeding that burger to your dog, splitting a cola with your friends or use the ice cubes to cool your overheated radiator.

        If the article is accurate then it is extremely bad, but expected, news for the site. Crippling DRM, inability to just take the customers money (imagine if McD refused to sell you food because it thought you were from the wrong country) and just plain not being able to match up with the ease of downloading the same stuff for free.

        I could have gotten all the stuff he payed for, for less and play it without WiMP. Oh and used the money for snacks and drinks.

        You know the funny thing? It is not that I am cheap, I got money to burn, and never had a trouble renting or buying stuff before. Just that it has gotten so much easier to just fire up a torrent.

        Frankly this looks the same as when napster went legit. Too little, too late.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by The_DoubleU (603071)

          You know the funny thing? It is not that I am cheap, I got money to burn, and never had a trouble renting or buying stuff before. Just that it has gotten so much easier to just fire up a torrent.

          It is the same here.
          I have money, I'm willing to spend it. But I want value for money.
          I buy CD's but only for 10 Euro or less. I had an exception to that rule in the past year and it was for an indie band "Sikth".

          The problem is DRM doesn't deliver value.
          I download music from eMusic and it is easy. Download + add to my library (iTunes), done!
          But if I can't find an artist on eMusic, the new CD is still 20 Euro's. I'll download it and wait a half year then by the CD
          If they would have made it availale

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Torsoboy (1057192)
          You'd wait 7 hours for your order before leaving? That's some serious dedication for a hamburger!
      • A day or a week is way too short. However, impressions like these won't help unless of course BitTorrent addresses the problems.

        I think that DRM is only relevant for rented downloads, it allows people to pay for a limited time for a lower price. DRM for a personal copy is not something that I accept.
    • by saskboy (600063)
      We don't call DRM Defective By Design, because it works all of the time ;-)

      DRM, is there anything good that it can't break? It bugs the heck out of me that only "legit" services use DRM.
  • short term profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:05PM (#18184488) Journal
    Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear

    The more we can download all of our media, the less need there is for a giant distibution company. I don't think the big players want legal, easy, inexpensive media downloads.
    • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:21PM (#18184658) Journal
      The content industry has already admitted DRM has nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with forcing the consumer to pay for the same content, over and over again. It should come as no surprise then, that the downloaded content failed to work (so that the sucker^H^H^H^H^H^H consumer will be compelled to pay for the same content, again.)
      • by bberens (965711)
        I'm not trying to flame you or anything but I'd be interested in press releases or anything of the sort where a media giant expresses that sentiment.

        /genuinely curious
        • by Petrushka (815171)

          The GP is probably thinking of things like the following passage from Macromedia's recent open letter to Steve Jobs:

          Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas - vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely. Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them.

          The GP is probably also thinking of John Gruber's (accurate) translation [daringfireball.net] of that section into RealPeopleSpeak:

          Abandoning DRM will prevent us from forcing our customers to keep paying us over and over again for the same movies and songs they've already paid for.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malsdavis (542216)

      The more we can download all of our media, the less need there is for a giant distribution company. I don't think the big players want legal, easy, inexpensive media downloads.

      I would have to disagree. The value of the "big players" to the actual content creators' isn't their ability to distribute films, it's their available capital and connections which are used to create insane amounts of marketing, world-wide.

      For the independent movie producer, finding a distribution company to manufacture and distribute

      • Re:short term profit (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Znork (31774) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:57PM (#18185102)
        "used to create insane amounts of marketing, world-wide."

        And, of course, the insane amount of marketing is needed to counter the insane amount of marketing that other makers get. Essentially making sure a large part of the capital available from the end-consumer goes, not to fund more movies, but to maintain a pointless marketing war that neither consumers nor creators want or benefit from.
        • The mass marketing adavantage/need is beginning to slip as well. Look as far back as "Blair Witch", grassroots internet buzz and viral marketing are overtaking billboards and TV commercials.
          • by gordgekko (574109)
            How did that work out for Snakes on a Plane?
            • Considering what a complete piece of crap that movie was, pretty well. From:http://theclientside.blogspot.com/2006/08/sn a kes-on-brain-when-marketing-works.html [blogspot.com] "Third, it was still a big huge success. Why? There is no fleeping way that this movie would ever have opened at #1 without the web. Never ever never ever never.... ever. This is an amazing feat. Without the attention from the blogosphere, consumer generated content and the conversations via social media, this film would likely have raked in $1.4 mi
              • by gordgekko (574109)
                True enough, and I didn't mean to imply that SoaP lost money (my apologies if I did) but for every Internet-based campaign that succeeds it seems there are one hundred that don't.
  • by MMaestro (585010) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:09PM (#18184536)
    Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear, but whatever the cause, it's simply unacceptable.

    Um, maybe its because most DRM works only by virtually destroying a user's PC? When DRM makers finally agree on a standard (for better or for worse) THEN we'll start seeing progress (on the part of DRM breaking 'hackers').

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:15PM (#18184600) Homepage Journal

      Um, maybe its because most DRM works only by virtually destroying a user's PC?

      No shit man, this has got to stop. I installed Windows Media Player 11, and my laptop display exploded in a puff of orange smoke. Then I installed iTunes, and my hard drive melted into a puddle of metal that burned a hole through my desk and set my pants on fire. Someone must do something!

      • by g1zmo (315166)
        Someone please think of the pants!
      • by Kaenneth (82978)
        That's impossible, I worked for a year as a contractor testing WMP install and uninstall. It would never cause 'Orange' smoke to come from any part of your machine, only 'Coral', 'Salmon', 'Goldenrod', or in extreme cases 'Peach Puff' colored smoke.
    • by cptgrudge (177113)

      Yeah, we'll see progress when a standard DRM method is implemented across the vast majority of digital media the world over.

      Just imagine the leaps and bounds in advancement our society will make when that one is cracked!

    • by shark72 (702619)

      "Um, maybe its because most DRM works only by virtually destroying a user's PC?"

      For what it's worth, I've bought a bunch of stuff from the iTunes store (which makes use of DRM) and I haven't had any problems. Oh, I do get the "beach ball" from time to time, but it's usually due to mail.app, the new version of Adium, or sometimes even Firefox. I've never had a system instability issue which I could trace to the fact that I have a bunch of Fairplay music in a directory somewhere.

      I've seen some iTunes st

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:11PM (#18184554)
    DRM is clearly anti-consumer. The only way that it's possibly going to get accepted is by collaberation between supposedly competing groups within the entertainment industry. In other words a cartel. Now that probably is actually illegal; it definitely should be. The fact that they can get away with it by buying some politicians and by controlling the media (which they often own) doesn't make it any less criminal.

    Let's not confuse "adding DRM" with "going legitimate" please.
  • by Looce (1062620) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:14PM (#18184580) Journal
    After HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs being locked out of people who didn't buy DHCP-enabled monitors, video cards and an encrypted video path to view them... This is not even a surprise to me.

    In the end, the easiest thing for a consumer to do will be to just open up The Pirate Bay and type the name of a movie they want. It's sure to work wherever they want, provided they have the codec to play it. And if they don't, they can convert it to MPEG-2, or any other such standard.

    Consumers do not want to buy a separate version of their music for their iPod, their Zune, their Gigabeat, their [insert name of portable Flash/USB player here], etc. They don't want to spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on new technology to hear what they want, either. Audio CDs have worked for nearly two decades. This goes for video as well. The *AA's need to realise that.

    Then again, it's what Apple and Microsoft want: to lock people into their player, so that they must buy another if it breaks. Interoperability would just make every player equal... Oh no, we have to actually think of new features for our players instead of just relying on lock-in to bring us sales! What should we do?!

    P.S.: Many stories on Slashdot seem to revolve around DRM lately. I have an impression of déjà vu...
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:35PM (#18184828) Homepage Journal

      After HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs being locked out of people who didn't buy DHCP-enabled monitors, video cards and an encrypted video path to view them... This is not even a surprise to me.

      They're not locked out, they're reduced to a lower resolution. You can still watch them.

      In the end, the easiest thing for a consumer to do will be to just open up The Pirate Bay and type the name of a movie they want. It's sure to work wherever they want, provided they have the codec to play it. And if they don't, they can convert it to MPEG-2, or any other such standard.

      If they don't have a codec to play it, they probably don't have a codec to convert it.

      Consumers do not want to buy a separate version of their music for their iPod, their Zune, their Gigabeat, their [insert name of portable Flash/USB player here], etc. They don't want to spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on new technology to hear what they want, either. Audio CDs have worked for nearly two decades. This goes for video as well. The *AA's need to realise that.

      Of course, if you buy the CD and rip it, you don't have DRM problems. Just a copyright flag that pretty much all software and even hardware ignores.

      Then again, it's what Apple and Microsoft want: to lock people into their player, so that they must buy another if it breaks.

      The paranoid among us might believe that Steve Jobs would release an open letter condemning DRM just to take the heat off Apple for using DRM. It might even be true. But I don't that's actually all that likely.

      Microsoft, on the other hand, definitely operates through vendor lock-in.

      Apple has never been the most open company or anything, but they're not as bad as Microsoft in that way. (They are worse in others; they have been known to attempt to hide evidence of their abuse of customers. So I think they both suck.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Looce (1062620)

        In the end, the easiest thing for a consumer to do will be to just open up The Pirate Bay and type the name of a movie they want. It's sure to work wherever they want, provided they have the codec to play it. And if they don't, they can convert it to MPEG-2, or any other such standard.

        If they don't have a codec to play it, they probably don't have a codec to convert it.

        Apologies for this. I didn't write what I thought correctly. I meant, if they don't:

        • have the codec in their player of choice, they can convert it with their computer if they have the codec on it (like AVI/DivX, even though DivX players are more and more common);
        • have the codec at all, ask someone they know for an MPEG-2 version.

        Either way, they can always check the torrent site for MPEG-2 versions of movies they want. Or anything they have codecs to play.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stubear (130454)
        "Microsoft, on the other hand, definitely operates through vendor lock-in."

        Yeah, because Apple allows me to run OSX on my Dell M2010 and I can copy all my iTunes music to my Zune or other non iPod MP3 player. Aperature really flies on Vista. I'm so glad Apple wrote that app cross-platform so us PC users can use it too, iWork and iLife also. Wait, you mean I can't do either of these things? I'm shocked, truly shocked. Apple uses vendor lock-in too? To hell you say. I guess Microsoft can finally use th
      • by Andy Dodd (701)
        "They're not locked out, they're reduced to a lower resolution. You can still watch them."
        Not if your video card is limited to digital output only.

        Admittedly, display devices/video cards that have DVI but not VGA are rare, but the fact is that you have to essentially use a DIFFERENT output device to view HD-DVD or Blu-Ray content.

        Even if it is the same video card and monitor, switching inputs and video card outputs just for your HD-DVDs is a massive PITA. I speak from experience here.
    • DHCP vs HDCP (Score:2, Informative)

      by bogd (912084)
      DHCP [wikipedia.org] - Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, a protocol for assigning dynamic IP addresses to devices on a network

      HDCP [wikipedia.org] - High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control digital audio and video content

  • WHY? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:14PM (#18184588) Journal
    "Why the DRM failed to work on 50% of our purchases is not clear, but whatever the cause, it's simply unacceptable.'""

    Why? If failed because it is defective by design. It failed because they (whomever "they" are) don't have control over all the various bits and pieces. It failed because DRM deliberately breaks things, on purpose. DRM fails, unless you have complete and utter control over all aspects of distribution/playback, and simply put, they don't have control over people's PCs. Nor will they ever.

    And, it is simply unacceptable. But rather than look at the real problem (DRM), they are blaming the distribution protocol (BT).

    One last point: The whole "whatever the cause" is turning a blind eye to the real issue, which is DRM cannot work on systems (not just computers) that they don't control. PERIOD.

    I just wish the industry technocrats would just look at the obvious. DRM doesn't increase (or maintain) control, it decreases satisfaction in the customer, which makes it .... "simply unacceptable"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cdrguru (88047)
      The one way that DRM can work is replacing the "personal computer" in home environments with a dedicated entertainment appliance.

      This has numerous advantages for the home user because it can be immune to viruses, spyware and trojans. It can provide a superior entertainment experience apart from what constitutes a "home PC" today. And, it can be cheaper because there will be fewer options and support will be much, much cheaper.

      And, because it is controlled, DRM can absolutely work. 100% of the time, just
      • "And, because it is controlled, DRM can absolutely work. 100% of the time, just like CSS works on a DVD player today."

        Yes, indeed. So why not just buy/rent DVDs ??? Oh because you want to watch them on your PC flying from NY to Paris, or on your PSP on the commute into NYC from the Hamptons, letting the rugrats watch in the car on the way to grandma's house, or on your cell phone during halftime at the game or ......

        The problem is that people want to not only time shift but also format shift what they want
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jerf (17166)

        The one way that DRM can work is replacing the "personal computer" in home environments with a dedicated entertainment appliance.

        We have that. We call it a "gaming console", as it also plays games.

        You may well have had that in mind when you wrote it; I'm not claiming this is news to you. I bring this up because I want to say that while it wouldn't make me ecstatic, I would be satisfied with the compromise of not being able to play DRM'ed content at all on my "general purpose" computer, and confining DRM'ed

    • Why? If failed because it is defective by design. It failed because they (whomever "they" are) don't have control over all the various bits and pieces. It failed because DRM deliberately breaks things, on purpose.
      Defective
      Recorded
      Media
      • I've always used and favoured the (perhaps more accurate, definitely more inflammatory)

        Defective
        Restricted (or restrictive)
        Media

        You can substitute "Music" or "Movie" for "Media" where suitable as well.
  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:19PM (#18184636)
    Overall, they blame DRM

    OK, I'll get flamed to death, but oh well. To make a statement like that is silly. That's like trying a new piece of software and then condemning all software in that category because one failed. Apple has shown that properly written DRM can have a minimal impact on the "user experience". Just because the DRM mechanism used by BitTorrent sucks, I guess the naysayers feel the urge to exclaim, "It was the DRM" (visions of MP and Death with outstretched fingers). In reality, it was BitTorrents DRM, and hugely important distinction. We cry and moan when one flaw in OSS causes critics to then paint all OSS with the same brush, but we are so quick to do the same when it suits us. But hey, I guess that means that we're only human.
    • by garcia (6573)
      Apple has shown that properly written DRM can have a minimal impact on the "user experience".

      Excuse me? Huh? Maybe if you have a player that supports AAC it has a minimal impact. Otherwise you have to burn a CD and rip it back to MP3 (which isn't hard but it's more than a minimal impact) to play on your less expensive hardware.

      All Apple's DRM has shown is that people don't give a shit as long as they are cool because they all use the same device with white ear buds to play music.
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      Apple has shown that properly written DRM can have a minimal impact on the "user experience". Just because the DRM mechanism used by BitTorrent sucks, I guess the naysayers feel the urge to exclaim, "It was the DRM" (visions of MP and Death with outstretched fingers).

      I was sent a gift certificate for the iTunes store. I use Linux, I can't redeem the certificate. You call that "minimal impact"? Some people just wasted quite a bit of money on a useless certificate.

      Unfortunately the person that sent it to me d

  • Why bother? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:32PM (#18184766)
    Wow. What a crock of shit. I wanted to see what exactly these movies they offered, and well.. They speak for themselves.

    In the Sci-Fi category.

    4d Man "rent"
    A Clockwork Orange "rent"
    Alice in Wonderland Broadway production "rent"
    Buncha "Alien" movies. "all rent"
    Animatrix "own"

    Yuck. I wouldnt even download this garbage from Thepiratebay.com , and they're free. I also looked at other sections that piqued my interest, and the similar veneer of crap was about them all.

    Why should I pay for a "rental" or a "own" when there are plenty of websites that provide it for free, along with more rights than I would gain with "bittorrent.com" ?

    Answer that, and you solve the majority of piracy. And shutting those sites down is not an acceptable answer, as the USA interests are not shared globally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marick (144920)
      Um... yeah, so the order of the listings on the Sci Fi/Fantasy page is kind of lame. Alphabetical order does that.

      My advice to you is to skip past the ones you don't want to see to the ones you DO. For example, I watched "I, Robot" the other night, with a buddy.

      It was a 40 minute download (YMMV) for $2.99. And yes, we spent that 40 minutes making popcorn, chatting, and such. The movie was great - my friend's video projector put it up at a whopping 60 inches, and yes, it was good quality at that level.

      And
      • Ok, I got a torrent, and yeah, it will be another 3 hours 40 minutes until it's downloaded at 64KB/s.

        From my experiences with Linux ISOs and similar, for which the BitTorrent link is usually the quickest download method:

        1) Wait until you've downloaded a couple of blocks before measuring the speed. Your speed won't peak until you have something to upload due to the nature of the protocol.

        2) Assuming you have more than 64KB/s download capacity and there are more than a dozen or so peers (or seeds), tr

  • by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:32PM (#18184770) Homepage
    So bittorrent offers films to rent. I can't see a way this can be implemented without DRM. Otherwise you haven't rented it, you now own the file

    So, is the argument that we shouldn't be able to rent a film using our computer or is it just a complaint that they use a poorly implemented Microsoft DRM that isn't compatible across platforms. If, say, Real who already offer applications on each platform were to make some DRM that works on *nix, OS X and Windows would the /. crowd then support it?

    I can't see how services like this can be delivered without some way to restrict viewing after a period of time. Is there another option I'm missing?
    • You are correct: you cannot "rent" a download without DRM. The deeper problem, the consumers are basically demanding to own (not license) a movie for the price of rental. If the industry doesn't comply, the consumer goes pirate. Suprise, profit margins just got smaller. The industry needs to stop bitching and accept it. All major profits for a movie must be made in the box office, just like it was before home video.
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:59PM (#18185136) Journal
      No, you can't wind this game, especially not on slashdot.

      Renting is a antiquated term when viewed with respect to digital media of any type. The biggest issue is that there has been a tiered pricing model in the past based on length of access - that access was limited by a physical medium. Both the software and music industries recognized that there is no "rental" when the data is so easy to reproduce as to be trivial - and in response they made certain that copyright law forbid the rental of the physical media which contained those works (I don't have the citiation, but in the US it is true). For video, it was relatively expensive and/or inconvenient to copy the works, and rental stores flourished. I still remember annual and initiation fees (many north of $100) just to have the priveledge to rent the movies.

      The idea of renting something doesn't really make sense in a world where there are no incremental costs to produce, and no exclusivity of use of an item. But there's the problem, too. Most consumers put a lower price expectation on a "loaned" item than to own the item - that's natural because we've all grown up to believe in scarcity. There is no scarcity in digital media - the first copy costs an insane amount to produce; the second costs almost nothing. Now, on the opposite side of that debate are the content providers/producers. They value their end-user item at a fixed cost, as if there were an incremental production, packaging, handling, and delivery cost - just like they've always had. In return for reducing or eliminating most of those costs, a lower fee may be paid for a time-limited use. Except that digital media eliminates nearly all of the incremental costs.

      So we're at a stalemate where consumers expect a $2-$3 product and the producers want to sell a $20 product. No, let me correct that - the producers expect to sell a $30 product - the "suggested retail price" - even though consumers are used to finding the traditional product at a significant discount, closer to $20. So you've got a 10:1 expectation gap as a result of the data revolution. Until that gets settled, there will be DRM, and nobody will really be happy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      You're right, you can't have download to rent without DRM. There would be no way to ensure that you didn't watch it after downloading an unprotected source. Really, I don't see any reason why someone would pay to rent a downloadable movie. Playing it on your TV is a lot harder than sticking a DVD in a DVD player. The quality is worse than DVD. It takes longer to download than it does to go to the movie rental store. And that's without any problems encountered due to DRM and files not playing the way t
    • by kosmosik (654958)
      > I can't see how services like this can be delivered
      > without some way to restrict viewing after a period
      > of time.

      Well technically I guess you would like pay for ability to download the content or something. By any means. Bittorent protocol seems fine here. But it does not really mean. It could be some other protocol like heavy proxying the content to local ISP servers or smth. like that.

      I would pay (be f.e. $10 for good movie) then download the file then watch it and keep it on my HD. What is th
    • by nmos (25822)
      So, is the argument that we shouldn't be able to rent a film using our computer.....

      I wouldn't use the word "shouldn't", it's just that technology is rapidly making that model impractical. We're aproaching a time when we will be able (from a pure technical perspective) to access any information ever produced whenever and wherever we want. That sort of conveinence is incredibly addicting, just ask anyone who's ever owned a DVR. I've had a Mythtv box for at least 4 years now and there's no way I'm ever goi
  • Tried it.. worked ok (Score:5, Informative)

    by Panaflex (13191) * <convivialdingo AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:42PM (#18184920)
    I think I had the same problem - his Windows Media settings were wrong. In order to use the DRM you have to "Allow scripts" in the DRM settings. I bought and downloaded it on Linux, played it in Windows WMP10.

    I would have been up in arms as well - but I noticed the yellow banner which told me to enable scripts.

    The movie I tried (Broken Arrow) worked and the quality was fine. I consider it about the same as a movie ticket - but I do wish they'd allow more than 1 day to watch the movie after you start watching it(yes, I know you have 30 days to begin watching it - but I wanted to check to make sure it worked first). If I were buying the video I would have been much more annoyed with the DRM - but since it was a rental I wasn't too irked.

    Download time was 1 hour (255 KBytes/second average download)
  • why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joemawlma (897746) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:49PM (#18184996)
    Let's see... The majority of people who actually know and care about bittorrent are already getting their downloads for FREE and without DRM. I can't imagine why this would be off to a bad start.
  • I've figured out the ????!

    1. Make really large files full of random numbers and pretend they're movies
    2. Market the hell out of some fictional movies.
    3. Sell the files and tell people they can't view them because of the DRM
    4. Profit!

    Note that I haven't actually to pay for the cost of making a movie here. It's sheer genius!
    • That reminds me of a Foxtrot cartoon where the kid was distributing random bits and that any resemblance to the source code to Windows XP was purely coincidental.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:05PM (#18185226) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, guys, if you want to stop copying, just watermark the videos before download and I'll be happy to buy them. I'm not going to share them so that's fine, but I need to be able to work with them. Put my name and home phone number in there, I really don't care.

    You've got to get over your Control-Freak needs to tell people where, when, and how they can use their media (DRM) so you can get on with making a profit by actually selling huge amounts of it.

    Once you give up on the idea of selling me Back to the Future 25 different times over the next half century this is all going to work out well for you.

  • fail on purpose (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Loconut1389 (455297) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:35PM (#18185686)
    Is there any chance bittorrent is doing this to make a mockery of DRM and send subliminal messages to just download the (illegal) torrent instead?
  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by init100 (915886) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:01PM (#18186130)

    Why would anyone sponsor the big movie companies with their bandwidth, storage and cpu power? I fail to see why anyone would want to do that without receiving a piece of the action, i.e. monetary compensation. This is just a plot by the movie companies to be able to sell movies and have the users pay for the infrastructure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sikandril (924466)
      This is what big media fails to see - the key issue is high bandwidth, high quality content. Give us DRM free, DVD quality downloads which stream consistently at 350 KB per second and we'll be happy to pay 1-4$ per movie. Oh you want more? Sorry chump, times have changed and your product has devaluated. You need to give me something which is easier and better than searching for a torrent, waiting for the download, taking the risk of a defective / low quality file etc. It ain't rocket science.
    • I agree, although I suspect they might have a number of permanent seeder clients out on the net to maintain the swarm at any given moment. Otherwise someone might purchase "Gigli" and nobody would have it. I guess they're paying for those seeders, but it does seem a little unwholesome.

      The other thing I was thinking, if each of these movies are DRMed, doesn't that mean each movie is unique, making them pointless to try and Bittorrent? Or is it more that the movie is encrypted with a given key, and your DRM p
  • by ZwJGR (1014973)
    Why are they bothering to sell files over bittorrent?

    Bittorrent is by definition a "Peer-to-Peer" protocol.
    --- There are no peers ---
    There are only the clients and the source.
    Hence it would be infinitely simpler to just use a perfectly ordinary HTTP (or whatever), download service from the source to the client, client--server.

    Bittorent is perfect for downloading the latest ultra-popular freshly pirated movie, or downloading all six Slackware 11 isos at high speed (as there were so many peers after it was re
  • As long as you're using Windows and IE, Netflix's Watch Now [engadget.com] offering is superb. It's worked 100% of the time for me. Though I'm no fan of DRM, Netflix took Microsoft's DRM and built something superb. If you want to see what it looks like, you can watch this video [hackingnetflix.com]
  • Um -- when was BitTorrent not legit?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @10:46PM (#18190482)
    So I decided to go legit. Been working on a windows laptop lately so the OS restriction wasn't stopping me from enjoying the brave world of new media downloads.

    My friends told me that Little Miss Sunshine was a wonderful heartwarming film. Sounded like a perfect mood lifter. So I headed over to Bittorrent.com, signed myself up and with little hassle got myself a nice link to a .torrent. I started downloading the movie with the Bittorrent client and was getting reasonable service. (100 KB/s from each of two bittorrent.com servers and 20 KB/s from a real peer. Not the beautiful image of piece of the file flying to me from all over the net, but I was getting what I wanted and it was during the first few hours of the service going live.)

    The problems started when I tried to play the movie. I launched the downloaded file in windows media player 11, and immediately hit a roadblock. There were some messages to respond to, perhaps signing in with my BT.com username + pw, then a message stating that I had a limit of 2 machines to try this on. Click OK. Number goes to on. Sure. Giving me an extra. OK. Then I get the message the the good folks at ARS got about WMP "encountering a problem." Cancel and retrying gets me nowhere, so I try the "Web help" option" which turns out to be a page about updating the sound drivers. I try windows update - nothing there. I try the freshest drivers from the sound card manufacturer. I still get the same message. I Google the error code. Many links later I get one helpful tidbit from a support forum (non-MN) to downgrade to WPM 10. Desparate I go for it. I use add/remove to downgrade to WMP 9, my previously installed version. I try to play the movie just to see what will happen even though I know BT.com tells me to use 10 or 11. Now I get a message telling me that I'm out of licenses. I guess I'm out $3.99, too.

    Having paid for the movie, I decide to download it the old fashioned way. It took the pressure of having to watch it in 24 hours off, which is nice since I'm pretty busy and might like to watch it over a couple of nights. The download took a bit longer, but it worked. The movie played when I hit play. I was touched by the experiences of the quirky people. I had no headaches fiddling with driver updates, support forums, WMP downgrades, time-limited and disappearing licenses. I'll probably delete the file soon, as I don't watch too many films twice. Kind of like a rental. I just wish they would make it easier for me to pay them. I mean what do I do for my next rental? Do I go to BT.com, pay ignore their DRM torrent and find my own? Seems kind of silly. If I'm paying I'd like to get the higher download speeds. (YYMV, but my "community torrents" go slower that the one I got from BT.com.) This method would also work for when I switch back to Linux.

    Any suggestions? I do believe in paying the artist - enough so that I'm willing to pay the media giant that stands between us.

    -Jon

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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