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Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM 394

Posted by timothy
from the nicht-ohne-meine-ketten dept.
FuzzNugget writes "In a recent blog post, Netflix details their plans to transition from Silverlight to HTML5, but with one caveat: HTML5 needs to include a built-in DRM scheme. With the W3C's proposed Encrypted Media Extensions, this may come to fruition. But what would we sacrificing in openness and the web as we know it? How will developers of open source browsers like Firefox respond to this?"
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Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

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  • by Querrilla (2898723) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @08:45AM (#43460151)
    The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

    That is a clear advantage over Flash and/or HTML5 based video content. Another is the easy integration with other projects when using visual studio. It enables you to rapidly develop new software and code.

    This being said, the DRM probably isn't as needed by the Netflix itself but the content providers. It most likely says somewhere in their contracts that Netflix has to use DRM when streaming their content. It's the movie studios that demand it, not Netflix.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @08:52AM (#43460213) Homepage Journal

      Netflix probably wants DRM too, FWIW. Remember their model is based upon people getting unlimited access to their library but paying by the month. If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

      I'm wondering, actually, if the long term solution is in things like Cinavia [wikipedia.org], which, in theory, implements enough of the "checking the license in hardware" that the system (or one evolved from it) could conceivably be built into PCs and tablets without preventing the transportation and decoding part of the process being open source.

      Of course, that wouldn't work today, it'd require the majority of monitors and tablets support the system to the point people find it difficult to get a device that doesn't have this built in, so it's not really going to work for Netflix today.

      • by shemyazaz (1494359) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:08AM (#43460405)

        If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

        That theory is already debunked. If it were true, Netflix and all the other streaming services would have already failed. Since it is tremendously simple to just hop on over to TPB and grab whatever you want in whatever quality you want it in. People want to pay a reasonable price to have this stuff available legally.

        • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#43460525)

          Netflix also has a great UI, especially for TV episodes. It's a lot easier to deal with than trying to piecemeal together a bunch of pirated stuff. Well worth the $8 a month.

          • by tedgyz (515156) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:54AM (#43461009) Homepage

            I agree. The ease of watching a long series with multiple seasons is extremely valuable. Combine that with the ease of watching on multiple devices. My kids watch their favorite shows on the PC, Wii, Wii-U, and Kindle. The ability to pick up where you left off on any device is well worth the monthly cost.

        • by alen (225700)

          how much effort is required to stream TPB to your TV in HD?

          i have a PS3, xbox and apple TV and use my apple TV the most. it takes seconds to turn it on and find something to watch

        • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:24AM (#43460575)

          Very true. Of all of the services I subscribe to, including Internet, cell phone, electric, rent, insurance and so on, I feel Netflix is by far the best value and I'm happy to pay each month less than the cost of a movie ticket at a cheap theater in exchange for entertainment that's only limited by my free time and my crappy ISP (which, coincidentally, is one of the worst values I get for my money).

          Likewise, I'll donate a few dollars here and there to software that I use even if it's released for free. It's partially because I want to see development continue but mostly because I feel it's a fair exchange.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:17AM (#43460511) Journal

        Netflix probably wants DRM too, FWIW. Remember their model is based upon people getting unlimited access to their library but paying by the month. If it were easy for their customers to simply download and save all the movies they're interested in over the space of a month, and then unsubscribe for a few months until the next time they see movies they're interested in, then the entire model would break down - less revenues received, and more money spent on bandwidth per month.

        The problem with that argument is that it's bullshit. If you look at the most popular lists on services like Netflix, they're full of new releases. I don't subscribe to a rental service just because they have a big catalogue, I subscribe to them because they have a big and growing catalogue. At any given time, my DVD rental list has a number of unreleased things, which are added to the main list as they are released. If I had infinite local storage and bandwidth, I could download everything that they had that I might want to watch today, and their service next month would still be valuable to me next month. On the other hand, the fact that I can't download 20 hours of their content today and watch it on a transatlantic flight or a long train journey means that it is less valuable than a DRM-free service would be.

        • by webdog314 (960286)

          Except that the difference between the Streaming catalog and the DVD catalog is like the difference between a burger at McDonalds and a burger at Outback Steakhouse. Sure, there are tons of new releases on streaming, but let's be real... 98% of them are low-budget direct to video crap, with an occasional gem thrown in to keep people thinking there might be more on the way. Most of what people watch on Netflix streaming now are the television shows, and even in that genre there are 99 idiotic realty shows fo

      • OK, this is a reply to everyone who responded to me with a comment along the lines of "No, what you've said has been conclusively debunked. In my case, I want to keep my subscription anyway."

        1. Drawing a conclusion by extrapolating your own requirements to those of "All Netflix customers" isn't a "Debunking". Otherwise the iPad is a stunning failure because I would never in a million years buy a shitty locked down oversized keyboardless computer.

        2. Even it is true that the majority of Netflix customers

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        IF DRM is needful, with Netflix as the example, I'd far prefer to have it done in software. Then it is a simple choice for me to make to buy their, or similar, service. If I buy in, then later stop, the software with the DRM is uninstalled and no longer on my system.

        If DRM is done on hardware it's always on, or has that capability built in. I thus have no control over my own machinery. No thanks. Bad enough with what's already baked in.

    • by dingen (958134)

      There really is no reason why this feature should be Silverlight-only. Javascript can just as easily measure where you currenly are in a video, compare that to where you should have been and adjust the source of the stream to a lower bitrate version if you lag behind. Upgrading your stream might require an algorithm which is a bit more sophisticated, but there is no reason why it couldn't be done as well.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        It has already been done both in Flash and HTML5. And obviously, developing for Flash or HTML5 have tools that are just as polished (and also cross-platform).

        Frist post troll strikes again (just look at the UID, it was created today). Though he is more or less correct about the DRM... it's a moot point trying to complain about Netflix or any other streaming provider, the studios require DRM to provide their content.

    • by laffer1 (701823)

      The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on many devices unlike Silverlight. With HTML5, there is a chance that I can actually stream content on my tablet, *BSD or Linux computer, Windows, Mac, iPhone, or consoles in my home. Netflix managed to get Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, etc. to stream their content so obviously they can already do it without silverlight. With both flash and silverlight dying, netflix has to find a solution to this problem.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ssam (2723487)

        But how do you implement DRM in a web browser in *BSD or Linux in such a way that I can't capture the decrypted video to disk?

        • You can't. But there's no way to do it in Windows or Mac, either. There's also nothing you can do to prevent me from running netcat on another box on the network and capturing the stream in its entirety for brute force decryption at a later date.

          You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

          If this means I have to have a Google Chrome installation on my laptop, then great. It means I don't have to run mono + silverlight + wine + whatever else to watch Netflix.

          • You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

            Yet it's enough a single person to decrypt their streams with the necessary means, and distribute the content over p2p networks, where people can easily download and that's it.

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#43460529) Journal

            You can, however, make it enough of a pain in the ass that most people won't bother.

            The problem is, it only takes one person to bother and release a nice GUI application that you point at the URL and then everyone can do it.

            • by jedidiah (1196)

              ...you mean like the Pirate Bay?

              So much for that strategy of "avoiding Linux" in order to keep content safe.

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            People won't bother not because it's a pain in the ass, but because its not the best or first way to acquire the content.
            It's much easier to just rip the bluray, which is usually available first, and in higher quality than anything on netflix.

            As soon as it becomes worth while to do so, you can be sure that people will work out how to rip the streams.

          • by ssam (2723487)

            why brute force decrypt it? the web browser is already sending a decrypted stream to your graphics server. there is plenty of screen recording software on linux.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I believe Windows has some sort of DRM protected content path mumbo jumbo. Not sure how the heck it protects itself from a fake video driver, but I am sure they have something.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I had almost the opposite experience. My iPad, iPhone and Wii stream Netflix fine, but when I wanted to view it on my laptop, they wanted me to install Silverlight (no thanks). I thought it seemed stupid to require that.
      • The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on many devices unlike Silverlight. With HTML5, there is a chance that I can actually stream content on my tablet, *BSD or Linux computer, Windows, Mac, iPhone, or consoles in my home. Netflix managed to get Wii, PS3, iPhone, iPad, etc. to stream their content so obviously they can already do it without silverlight. With both flash and silverlight dying, netflix has to find a solution to this problem.

        A chance is exactly the right word. With the use of HTML5 Netflix is talking about you will be able to stream Netflix to all platforms that Netflix develop and distribute a HTML5 CDM plugin for.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Which means Windows and OSX.
          They will not make a linux or BSD plugin, had they wanted to stream to those platforms it would have already happened.

      • Seeing as you can already stream on consoles, most Android devices, most iDevices, etc it's obvious they already have non-Silverlight methods of delivery. However, most of the non-Silverlight devices they deliver to have their own methods of DRM built in to the OS or the app (usually both)... not something that's as easily controllable on a PC running a standard web browser.

      • The great thing about HTML5 is that it runs on all devices at no cost unlike Silverlight.

        FTFY
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:01AM (#43460345)

      This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

      I doubt that Silverlight is anything special in that regard. I would be stunned to learn that it used anything other than a standard codec like vc1 and just switches between a couple of different bit-rate streams that were pre-encoded.

      This being said, the DRM probably isn't as needed by the Netflix itself but the content providers.

      Nope. Netflix lurves DRM. They will force it on viewers even when the producer does not want it. [ninapaley.com] Hell, they won't even let the producer put up a message at the start of the movie to tell viewers they can get a DRM-free copy.

      • While I believe Netflix wants DRM to protect their model, I don't think Nina Paley's experience means one thing or another.

        Ms Paley was asking that her movie be streamed without DRM, which would mean it would be processed in a completely different way to Netflix's current catalog. I don't think Netflix is unreasonable in requiring everything be streamed the same way - I wouldn't be at all surprised if, in order to implement this, Netflix would have to update and release new versions of all of their Andro

        • by jfengel (409917)

          They don't appear to be 100% strict in their "no bumpers" policy, then. I've been watching a TV show ("Awkward") which always begins with a short (5 second) bump for the upcoming season of the show on MTV. I suppose MTV has convinced them that it's part of the show, but it seems kind of dubious to me.

          I don't really mind the bump all that much, though if it's a prelude to real advertising in the Netflix streaming, it's potentially worrying.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Netflix should really just go native for all the platforms they support. There's no reason trying to force everything into the browser. Especially for something like Netflix, where more often than not it will be the sole app being used when it's running. They already have native apps for Android and IOS. There's an "app" for Windows 8, but I'm not sure if that's native or just some kind of wrapper around IE and Silverlight. All the other devices they run on (XBOX/PS3/Wii/Roku/Smart TV) don't use the brow
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Um... If you think those things can't be done with Flash or HTML5... That's your problem. Don't inflict your lack of creativity and programming ability on us.

      That being said, Flash still needs to die in a fire for being the biggest cross-platform security vulnerability on the internet. Given the Silverlight is probably only "safe" due to a low user base... It can jump in the pit too.

    • Wow, recently we're swamped with MS spammers.

    • DASH and other technologies will soon make it just as easy to do adaptive streaming based on your current bandwidth.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Adaptive_Streaming_over_HTTP [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Inda (580031)
      I promise to wash myself with bleach after this post.

      Silverlight is better than Flash in every way and I wish it had gained ground all those years ago. It never ground my PC to a halt. It rarely crashed, if ever. It never hung Firefox. HD video played smoothly; as if I were playing it in VLC.

      I know you guys have problems with it on Linux, Unix, BSD, OSX, Android, ..., but it's so much better than Flash on Windows.

      I can hear the wife in running me a bath. I'll add my own bleach.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The great thing about Silverlight is its ability to stream content as your internet line can take it. This means Silverlight will dynamically adjust the video and audio bitrate so that even users on less-than-fast lines can stream Silverlight video content.

      That is a clear advantage over Flash and/or HTML5 based video content.

      Now if only Silverlight would sync to vblank on XP.

  • ... they would transition to providing shows I actually want to watch, and in a timely manner.

    • If only Walmart would spend the time, money and infrastructure to stock that one brand of cereal that most people don't care about just so I can have it...

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Netflix doesn't carry major titles, not just some weird off brands.

        It's more like: If only wall-mart would carry Kellog's corn flakes.

    • If you think that's bad, you should see what's available on Netflix Canada.

      Granted, the situation is a lot better than when they started out, but it still pales in comparison to the USA. Not really their fault, though, with all the exclusive rights deals already in place with cable and satellite companies.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @08:53AM (#43460225)
    You went with Silverlight. Now have fun being stuck with Silverlight. The end.
    • also, anything that can be displayed on my screen can be recorded and saved into a file. it doesn't matter if it's in silverlight, flash or html

    • by sammy baby (14909)

      Yeah, they could have used.... Flash. Hooray? Or Apple HLS?

      The bottom line is that non DRMed content is a non-starter for them. It's not that they can't figure out how to get away from Silverlight, it's that they can't figure out where to go instead.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        They could have done what they do on Android an iOS - made a Netflix app.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        At least flash is supported on more platforms.

        The simple answer is just make a native netflix application. The web browser is not needed.

  • The Studios That Provide Content for Netflix Want To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

    FTFY

    • by cffrost (885375)

      The Studios That Provide Content for Netflix Want To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

      FTFY

      Do you have a source which shows Netflix stating it doesn't want to use DRM?

    • Re:Not Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:38AM (#43460811)

      No you didn't fix it, you made it wrong. Netflix (not the studios) wants to go to HTML5 (the studios couldn't care less about HTML5 vs. Silverlight outside of DRM.) The studios won't licenses content to Netflix without Netflix using DRM, so Netflix also wants to continue to use DRM. (The studios are happy enough not selling to Netflix, since there are plenty of other streaming rental outlets that do use DRM, so if Netflix chooses not to, it hurts Netflix -- who loses content and, shortly afterward, customers -- but not so much the studios.)

  • not much better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ssam (2723487) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @08:56AM (#43460267)

    The only way DRM can work if if you make the decrypted video uncaptureable. So on any system where the root user can read the frame buffer there is no point. HTML5 DRM will only work on systems that have DRM build in to the OS, which is pretty much the same systems that have silverlight.

    The only way i can see it ever getting to linux is if the encrypted stream can be passed to rights managed hardware on a GPU. but then if i have a GPU that can effectively play the encrypted stream, why would i ever worry about decrypting it in the first place, i could dump the network stream to disk, and play back through GPU whenever I wanted.

    • Working on Linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by Parker Lewis (999165) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#43460535)
      Just a side note: to use current Netflix on Linux, guys uses wine + firefox + moonlight. And it works pretty fine. See more here, a working ppa with all the solution working: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2084592 [ubuntuforums.org] This is a good point about current Linux distros status: if you don't want port your application, no problem, we can simulate your environment. Ok, not FOSS solution, but at least works.
      • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @10:32AM (#43461449)

        Just a side note: to use current Netflix on Linux, guys uses wine + firefox + moonlight. And it works pretty fine.

        La, la, la, la, la. I can't hear you. As far as I know, there is no way to watch Netflix on Linux. That's what I told my Father-in-law when they were visiting. Told him he was free to google a solution, but unfortunately they had to cut the trip short to get away before bad weather set in. Me, personally, I like it STP and mostly sunny, but to each his own, right?

        Anyway, you were saying something about Netflix problems with Linux, right?

    • Re:not much better (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ZephyrXero (750822) <zephyrxero@NOsPAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:21AM (#43460557) Homepage Journal
      The point of DRM is not to give you absolutely no way to capture the content, but simply to make it difficult enough that the average person doesn't just right click and say save file to disk. It's like the lock on my front door. Do people know how to pick it? With enough effort can it be knocked down by brute force, sure. But most people will not attempt to open a locked door, so it serves it's purpose.
      • Your metaphor doesn't work here. It's rather than copy the key with brute force (i'm not sure what would be that IRL), and send the copies out all over the place, without going back to the original lock. Not every user has to brute force it, only a single one. The whole idea of DRM is completely broken.

      • by ssam (2723487)

        there are several ways to break DRM.
        The first its to break the encryption. The CSS encryption on DVDs was weak, so to play a DVD you just brute force it.
        Or you can get hold of a key. Bluray players each have a key, if you can extract one of these you can then use it to play blurays
        Or you let the DRM software do the decryption, and then just capture the output. A locked down OS can prevent you from doing this, for example it can disable the screen shot function when you look at the DRM media. With an open OS

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      The main defense against replay attacks is a clock. That makes network replay attacks pretty hard to pull off since most PCs have a clock (and messing with it is inconvenient, but patching the OS is of course possible and if you can do that then just strip the DRM in the first place). GPUs typically do not have clocks, and including them creates issues like batteries, and resetting the clock. Messing with a GPU RTC also isn't that inconvenient since nothing but DRM would use it anyway, so hardening a GPU

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why in the hell would I ever buy a GPU like that?
      That is even worse than a binary driver. That is hardware with DMA that I do not control.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Yeah, but capturing from the frame buffer and then trying to sync the result with the captured audio can be very problematic, and creates less than stellar copies. All this for stuff that's available on DVD anyway. There's much better ways to go about getting a good copy of whatever content is out there, especially since BluRay and DVD encryption have been broken for a long time.
  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:15AM (#43460475)
    They want DRM but since that doesn't actually work they'll be wanting secure boot with a signed software stack all the way down. This would require the exclusion of Firefox and others. Somehow I doubt the Encrypted Media Extension would actually allow the plugin to work in an open source browser. If it does, then all it really does is allow a locked down app to be displayed in the web browser and get stuff fed into it from said browser. Why not just give people your locked down app and forget about the browser? The browser can still be told to open links using external apps, so this would still allow people to link to videos and such.

    I really don't see the need for adding EME to HTML5. What are the actual use cases that don't have simple solutions without it?
  • by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#43460547) Homepage Journal

    "But what would we sacrificing in openness and the web as we know it?"

    Let's recap. The proposal for opened and standardized DRM method in HTML is just a bunch of callback and methods so a media content can say it has a protection and then the web browser can look up in its plugin repository if a DRM plugin can decrypt the content. The HTML part is 100% open and standardized. The actual DRM encryption and keys are not. Which is the point of any DRM scheme.

    So adding DRM support into HTML, as media play/pause/method already did, won't make the Web more closed or more proprietary. The opposite is true.
    Currently, media owner that choose to use protection for their content must rely on proprietary technologies. With a standard DRM framework (ie for distributing and handling protected content, not the part of decrypting it), at least, we could have much more openness on this kind of content.

    Now, adding DRM to HTML does NOT change the web. Should an actor decide to use those DRMs features, you are totally free to NOT use their services. But the thing for sure is that we will have much more actors ready to use standard and open functionality to distribute their content in a protected way.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ADRA (37398)

      "Now, adding VBScript to HTML does NOT change the web. Should an actor decide to use those VBScript features, you are totally free to NOT use their services."

      There is NOTHING that this buys anyone except a single client software download. The thing that this costs is an officially sanctioned DRM scheme by all web parties, which quite frankly have no business in DRM or protected content to begin with. The alternative, have an officially supported plugin that does everything the in-browser function would do a

      • Having a plugin is what they do already. It is in fact the problems with these plugins that are causing this move.

        It really doesn't matter because you are ending up with DRM in your browser either way.

    • by progician (2451300) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:37AM (#43460793) Homepage

      Inviting DRM in to standard browser tech is a sort of thing, that directly turn the internet to be more closed information system. For the moment, the reason that not all media provider goes with DRM is that DRM still loomes over the user and exclude a portion of the population, because it can't be done without user interaction. If user interaction won't be required any more we'll soon will see large migration to DRM scheme.

      The problem is that if content providers move en mass to DRM schemes, your choice is not simply not discard DRMed providers, but not to consume entertainment at all or install god-knows-what binary blobs on your system, forced to use software which you wouldn't normally buy or even trust, and so on. DRM scheme, along with many "invention" of the tech/entertainment industry is a fraudulent scheme, nothing else.

  • Netflix is already using HTML5 for Chromebook. It was already discussed here on Slashdot [slashdot.org].

    How come they can't roll this out to web browsers more generically? Getting the DRM binary blob installed in the client's web browser is an issue or something?

    • etflix is already using HTML5 for Chromebook. [...] How come they can't roll this out to web browsers more generically? Getting the DRM binary blob installed in the client's web browser is an issue or something?

      Chrome, unlike "web browsers more generically", already supports the Encrypted Media Extensions discussed in TFS. So, yes, the mechanism they use to support Chromebooks doesn't work more generically.

  • I know it's blasphemy to say so, especially on Slashdot, but I have zero problem with Netflix using DRM. Why? It's a rental service. I have not purchased these videos. I do not own them. Therefore I have no expectation of any sort of rights to do what I want with them. So, as while I'm totally against it for things like iTunes or a BluRay. It completely makes sense to me that Netflix needs some sort of mechanism, even if it only keep 99% of people from keeping a local copy.
    • I know it's blasphemy to say so, especially on Slashdot,

      Pretty much yeah.

      but I have zero problem with Netflix using DRM

      Curious.

      It's a rental service. I have not purchased these videos. I do not own them. Therefore I have no expectation of any sort of rights to do what I want with them.

      What so? You can (or used to be able to) rent DVDs and do whatever the hell you liked with them within the bounds of copyright law. Making something a rental does not magically make it different.

      even if it only keep 99% of peo

  • Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravis777 (123605) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:32AM (#43460685)

    I know that people are generally opposed to DRM - shoot, I am one of them, because half the time, it doesn't work right, but if the system works.... I bought an eInk reader a few months back, and actually tried buying books through them, but the books would only stay authorized for a few days - to get them to work again, I had to delete both the book and the sql database off the tablett and resync. CD checks on games are always a bitch, and internet-verification games - shoot, I almost always download cracks for them, even though I legally own them.

    But when DRM works fine - IE, I stick a DVD in my player and it plays, or I stick a Blu-Ray in and it plays, I am fine. Oh, upconverting only works over HDMI? No problem, I haven't run component in years (well, except for the XBox as I have one of the early models). What does annoy me is when you get a Blu-Ray that won't play on certain players (ie non-PS3s) until you apply some firmware update (actually, may have the issues with non-patched PS3s as well, but I normally keep it updated to stream Netflix).

    I have considered jailbreaking the PS3, though, to play region-locked discs. Luckily, many Blu-Rays are region-free, or are available in the US, but I have come across a few region B locked discs that don't have US releases.

    Had to replace an HDMI cable a few months ago because it was having handshake issues. Granted, HDMI cables are only a couple of bucks, but the only issue I had with this cable was that it would loose sync for about half-a-second every 30 minutes or so, didn't really even notice, until I moved and plugged that cable up to my Blu-Ray player instead of to the cable-box, and in my new area, then realizing that my new cable company DRMed everything, even free OTA channels.

    Netflix is currently the only streaming video app that seems to work on my rooted Android tablet (Time Warner Cable, Hulu, and Ultraviolet in Flixster won't work on rooted devices), not sure what streaming methodology they are using on Android, but willing to bet its not silverlight. As long as I can still use it on my tablett, I am fine.

    Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, so I am fine with DRM IF IT WORKS and is WELL IMPLEMENTED. I understand protecting your stuff, and I am a collector, so like to have Physical media in my hands anyways. But if I have authorization errors, handshake issues, and my legal media just doesn't work, I will break your DRM or pirate the product. I tried playing your game, but if you don't play nice....

    So, as long as the HTML5 DRM works, I am fine with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by progician (2451300)

      DRM doesn't work. It doesn't work because there's an already working technology, that is, downloading media files over the internet. DRM doesn't add anything to that. Media players, browsers, your display connector, etc. is in your possession, and is yours to use them in a way you like. DRM is a bunch of method to deprive you from that basic right. DRM doesn't add up to your service quality, at best(!) you don't notice. But even then, you need to have an equipment that is able to decode the DRM encryption,

  • by Uninvited Guest (237316) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @09:43AM (#43460885)
    Netflix is facing some hard choices. With Microsoft abandoning Silverlight on its own sites, the writing is on the wall. I say, let Netflix demand anything it pleases, and ignore all such demands. Eventually, Netflix will have to switch from Silverlight to something, and HTML5 is the obvious choice. If Netflix can't get DRM in the standard, they'll still have to find a way to keep streaming using existing standards.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      No they won't. Not ever. If it came to it, they'd require customers to install a plugin or an app which connected to their service. They are contractually obliged to encrypt content and it also serves their interests too since it stops someone subscribing for a month, ripping off a load of content and cancelling until they had watched it all.
  • by Theovon (109752) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @10:25AM (#43461377)

    I'm not a fan of DRM. If I purchase and download a video or audio file, I don't want some stupid protection scheme preventing me from playing it on arbitrary devices. I want to transcode it and watch it on my smart phone. I want to watch it on a Linux box.

    But Netflix is a SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE. By paying a monthly fee, I get access to unlimited streaming content, with the tradeoff that I can't just suck content down to my computer and hoard it. So when I choose to end my subscription, access to the unlimited streaming ends. This is a perfectly reasonable business model. It's analogous to renting a DVD vs. buying one. If I buy one, I should be able to rip it. If I rent one, it's unethical for me to rip it. The DRM scheme is orthogonal to this moral dilemma. So as far as Netflix is concerned, the DRM is something I don't even need to know about it, as long as I'm able to reliably stream content I've paid for access to.

    People complain about the patent protection on H.264 for content they want to download. But I believe the FSF has even pointed out how this is irrelevant for subscription streaming services. You're paying a subscription fee, and a small portion of this is paid to the patent holder to give you and your provider use of the technology. Keep in mind that patents aren't evil; they're just heavily abused. And use of patented technology in a streaming service isn't abusive (at least not in the case of Netflix).

    In other words what we want isn't "no DRM." What we want is control over media we've rightfully paid for. Most of us aren't pirates. We just want our money's worth. What that means, in many cases, is a requirement for "no DRM." When you're using a subscripion service, failure to access the content you've paid for is an IT problem, not an abuse of DRM. (The fact that Netflix isn't yet available for Linux is a side issue. That's a gap in platform support, not a DRM problem.)

    Oh, and one other point: Supporting DRM is WAY MORE of a pain for Netflix than it is for the user. For most users (except those on unsupported platforms), Netflix "just works." Netflix engineers have to wrestle with this stupid impediment in order to do what they really want to do, which is to stream content. But they can't get that content without satifying the content providers who demand the use of DRM. If you really want to pick on someone, go after the content companies.

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @10:41AM (#43461573)
    Yet again we discuss a short signted blog post pushing a corporate agenda. Repeat after me: DRM does not belong in HTML.

    HTML is a markup language that attempts to be cross platform and presentation agnostic, whereas DRM is all about controlling the user experience.

    1) DRM is not an actual type of media content, it's just a way of regulating access in time and space: It's like the bad old days when HTML designers were forcing us to browse their websites EXACTLY in 800x600 on a particular browser. Here you're supposed to have EXACTLY the right credentials from EXACTLY the right secure enviromnent. This is just as stupid. Today most people browse the web from a phone where even desktop style drop down menus from 5 years ago are a pain.

    2) DRM in HTML kills web pages: Documents and web pages are timeless. Any web page that exists today, if it is archived, can be displayed 10 years from now. But in 10 years, the DRM content will be impossible to read because either the authentication servers are gone, or your credentials no longer work, or the product has been discontinued, etc. Either way, a web page becomes corrupted for reading. Documents are archivable. Digital rights are not.

    3) DRM makes the Internet brittle: If you have DRM on lots of web pages, when it goes stale it's going to be like 404's without Google's page cache. Is that the web we want?

    4) DRM support has no business being part of HTML: The HTML standard is already a very complex language. Anyone who wants to implement a web browser or HTML parser has to support a lot of things. There's no reason why DRM should be supported as well, just to have a standards compliant HTML parsing system.

    5) The end result of 4) is that programmers and companies who must support HTML documents, as it gets more complex, won't implement the full standard, just the tiny bits they actually need. Then we'll be back in the 90s with incompatible browsers and parsers everywhere.

    6) DRM breaks transparency. For example, think about what it takes to implement a spam filter that parses HTML pages as in 4). With DRM content locking away parts of an HTML document, this breaks the security model. A random spam filter is obviously not going to have account access to view/scan whatever the content is, so either it lets it through (hello spammers/phishers) or it blocks it without trying (hello user complaints).

    7) If companies like Netflix want DRM, they should put it where it already belongs, at the server in the authentication part of the HTTP protocol. HTML is a document format for content, digital rights aren't content.

    8) Alternatively, Netflix can build a DRM plugin and require its users to use it. Oh but wait, with all the different browsers we're now using, that would be painful to support everywhere, right? Much better to ask the WHOLE WORLD to support DRM and keep it up to date, so that Netflix doesn't need to do anything! Wrong. DRM is sufficiently niche that those companies that want to use it should implement it themselves, and support it themselves. It's common sense.

    9) DRM is a business model, not a content markup. And as business models go, it's quite expensive to implement, since a single breach in the chain invalidates it and we all know that some hackers crack those chains just for fun. So it's natural that Netflix doesn't want to pay for it, and prefers to externalise the cost to the Internet at large. We shouldn't let it.

    10) I'm starting to repeat myself, so I'll stop now. Just say no to DRM in HTML.

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday April 16, 2013 @10:52AM (#43461749)

    I wonder if Netflix really understands its own benefit to its customers.

    1. Anyone can get any show they want from 'illegal' areas like torrents or various streaming websites.

    In short, if I actually wanted to get illegal content, I, like everyone else out there can already do it.

    The reason we go with Netflex is because it is very convenient to not have to sit around searching torrents, encoding/decoding video files, dealing with crappy hosting websites, dealing with suspicious malware, hacking around with javascript ...

    Netflix is cheap enough to get paid for convenience.
    It is the convenience we are paying for with Netflix.

    So what exactly is NetFlix trying to prevent us from doing with DRM? I have no idea. If we want to go through all that trouble, we'd be torrenting anyways.

    You method of control is pretty simple netflix. Track users and what they are watching. If you see too many people using the same account from different countries or whatever, then you know someone is sharing the account. I'm assuming they can do this in HTML5... or maybe I'm mistaken.

    But DRM? You have no need for it NetFlix.

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