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ATI Claims HDCP Then Covers Its Tracks 328

Posted by Zonk
from the not-so-fast-hotshot dept.
BigControversy writes "It looks like a big can of worms is being opened. The DailyTech.com is reporting that ATI sold millions of video cards knowing that HDCP support was not enabled. Despite that, the cards were sold and advertised to its customers as having HDCP capabilities. A day or two after this information was revealed, HDMI.org went completely password protected and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'."
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ATI Claims HDCP Then Covers Its Tracks

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  • i smell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DisplacedJoshua (919071) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:42AM (#14742387)
    an opportunity for a class action!
    • Re:i smell (Score:3, Funny)

      by moseman (190361)
      Darn it - you beat me to it. As an owner of one of them fancy Gateway monitors with HDCP built in, I purchased a graphics card for HDCP support. SHould have bought some vasoline while I was at it.

      When I learned of this I wrote to ATI costumer relations (Tuesday) and they had already covered thier tracks by sending me the "specs" showing no HDCP listed.
      • Re:i smell (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rovingeyes (575063)
        When I learned of this I wrote to ATI costumer relations (Tuesday) and they had already covered thier tracks by sending me the "specs" showing no HDCP listed.

        See that's what I don't understand - why do you (likes of ATI) think your customers, especially the techie types are idiots. Average Joe doesn't understand what HDCP (or for that matter any thing on the spec sheet) means and probably doesn't even know what a video card is. Its only the slashdot type gaming crowd that is more or less interested in the

      • Re:i smell (Score:3, Insightful)

        Do you still have the specs from the original box?
    • The AG is New York (Eliot Spitzer) seems keen on these sorts of things... Whenever some huge consumer action comes up, his name is usually someplace around.
    • Re:i smell (Score:2, Informative)

      by skilover (954136)
      Yep. Just ask netgear. http://www.netgearsettlement.com/index.aspx [netgearsettlement.com]
    • by aitio (794921) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:24PM (#14742782) Homepage
      ATI Code of Ethics [corporate-ir.net]

      At ATI, we are committed to conducting our business with the highest level of integrity, honesty and professionalism. Maintaining high standards are also critical for maintaining investor confidence and shareholder value as a publicly traded and world-leading high-tech company.

      The Code of Ethics outlines the key principles and policies that define our business practices and formalizes these standards. The rules set out in the Code serve as a complement to the corporate by-laws, policies and other corporate requirements and directives governing the conduct of ATI and its employees. In its application, the Code applies to all ATI directors, officers, and employees, whether full-time or part-time, and to all other service providers including, contractors and consultants.

      ATI's Code of Ethics extends to wherever business is carried out on ATI's behalf including ATI offices, business travel and any other work-related functions such as meetings with third parties, seminars, conferences and training programs. As everyone lives up to the expectations in all places of business, in this regard ATI's reputation as an excellent company with high ethical standards will be upheld.

    • Re:i smell (Score:3, Insightful)

      by antarctican (301636)
      an opportunity for a class action!

      Agreed, I can see all the lawyers drooling already...

      What is also means is a drop in sales for the next while. Just like the speculation that Apple's Intel announcement would mean people would hold off buying a new Apple until the switch was made; I can see a lot of people holding off on purchasing a new video card until this is settled.

      I know I had been thinking of building a new computer this summer, including some fancy new PCI-X video card (which probably would have be
  • by beacher (82033) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:42AM (#14742393) Homepage
    "Some products boast HDMI connectivity, when they do not even have a physical HDMI connector nor do the products ship with an adapter. Even if they do, having a HDMI connector does not mean the board is able to output a HDCP-DVI signal."

    How in the world can they ship this? It's not even a firmware bug.. It's missing in its entirety! Been disliking ATI recently.. this dropped them down to the "I'd rather buy a S3 Virge" video card level..
    -B

    • they won't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheAxeMaster (762000) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:03PM (#14742591)
      Like the first post said, it'll end up as a class action suit most likely. Nvidia has the luxury of blaming the board manufacturers, ATi can't hide behind that. Vertical Integration isn't that bad until you screw up and get caught lying about it...
       
      Now, this doesn't make nvidia the smarter purchase choice at this point, because none of their boards support it either. Maybe when the 7900 comes along in about a month or so though. Hopefully the board makers (evga, bfg, xfx, etc.) realize that they'd better get it out there after this fiasco.
      • by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:37PM (#14742932) Homepage
        Like the first post said, it'll end up as a class action suit most likely.

        Oh the irony. A class-action suit brought by customers who feel defrauded because they did not get digital rights management.
      • Re:they won't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@amiran . u s> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:38PM (#14742943) Homepage Journal
        Does anyone honestly _want_ HDMI support?

        I own 3 30+ LCDs. I've got a 42" plasma, and a 60" plasma. None of which support HDMI or HDCP. Guess what, I don't give a flying fuck (pardon my french).

        My cable boxes output beautiful HDTV through DVI. So do my various (Mac and/or Linux) computers. So does my xbox. And I'm expected to replace _everything_ for absolutely no extra technical capabilities?

        HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHA

        Hardware solutions like this: http://www.engadget.com/2005/07/15/spatz-techs-dvi magic-killing-on-hdcp/ [engadget.com] already effectively crack HDCP. Do you really not expect mplayer/vlc/xine for Linux and OSX not do to the same? The technical details of how to break it are already public knowledge: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/11/20/025 1206&mode=nested&threshold=3 [slashdot.org]

        HDCP is dead on arrival, as far as I'm concerned. All it will mean is that the good, more functional equipment that supports standard DVI will be cheaper. I can get that 30" LCD for my bathroom, and maybe an outdoor one for my hot tub. No offense to the rest of slashdot, but its people (like me) that spend a substantial amount of their income on home "tech" that drive the industry, and most people I know are NOT going to replace their setups unless they see substantially improved features.

        HDMI + 4 times HDTV resolution + Real 3D versus Standard HDTV on DVI? Yeah, maybe we'll upgrade.
        HDMI + Standard HDTV versus DVI + Standard HDTV? Bwahahaha. Tell me another.
        • Re:they won't (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:05PM (#14743206) Homepage
          Without HDMI you (allegedly) won't be able to view DRM protected WMV files under Vista. This might not matter to you, but I bet it does to those who've just shelled out for the bleeding edge video card which is supposed to support it.
          • HDMI != HDCP (Score:4, Interesting)

            by the melon (89066) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:56PM (#14743667)
            You are using HDMI in place of HDCP. HDMI is simply a physical inteface. It carries the same signaling as does DVI-D with the adition of Audio over some extra wires. DVI and HDMI can very easily be converted to one annother and BOTH support HDCP signaling.
        • Re:they won't (Score:4, Informative)

          by jonnythan (79727) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:35PM (#14743477) Homepage
          1) Buy a neato Blu-Ray drive for your PC for $400
          2) Plug video card's DVI-out to your 1080p plasma TV's DVI-in
          3) Buy $40 copy of King Kong on Blu-Ray
          4) Get really pissed off that you're forced to watch the movie in 480p because your video card didn't support HDCP.

          Blu-Ray and HD-DVD apparently will only output high-def signals with HDCP enabled hardware.

          • That's just one more reason for consumers NOT to even think about going to BLU-RAY or HDDVD in their current incarnations.

            Just tell the vendors that enough is enough - cut the bullshit, remove the encryption (or at least make it cut-off by a legal copyright date), and give us our pure, unfettered digital content.

            • This was a knee-jerk response -however, my attempt at notating that within the response was filtered - guess that's why they have a preview button =D
          • Re:they won't (Score:5, Insightful)

            by HunterZ (20035) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:09PM (#14743760) Journal
            1) Buy a neato Blu-Ray drive for your PC for $400
            2) Plug video card's DVI-out to your 1080p plasma TV's DVI-in
            3) Buy $40 copy of King Kong on Blu-Ray
            4) Get really pissed off that you're forced to watch the movie in 480p because your video card didn't support HDCP.


            5. Rip disc to hard drive
            6. Take disc back to the store and demand a refund
            7. Either run a program to remove protection from the ripped data, or play with a special open-source player that knows how to circumvent it on the fly
            8. Enjoy.

            If they're going to treat us like criminals then we may as well live up to their expectations.
    • by ScottLindner (954299) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:15PM (#14742701)
      HDMI does not inherently include HDCP. The specific is a bit loose in the way people interpret it. HDMI is the physical standard, HDCP is essentially a data layer standard. It's the same as wondering why you only get two channel audio if you use an SPDIF interface (AC-3/Dolby Digital). Sure, SPDIF can carry full 5.1 audio, but that doesn't mean it has to. This is the same with HDMI and HDCP. What I think most people are confused or frustrated with is some displays say HDMI support, and don't tell you that they require HDPC as well. You gotta figure that one out by visiting forums.
      • Very true. I think they could get away with advertising HDPC compatible even if it didn't have DVI, because HDCP will be used in the future (if the *IAAs get their way) to connect everything, including those shiney new Blueray DVD drives, HDDVD, etc. If your video card doesn't support HDPC, even with a VGA adaptor, you won't be able to decode the video on the disc.

        In this case, however, it sounds like the decoder functions are disabled at the chip level somehow. If a ROM flash fixes it, no harm done, on

      • HDMI is the physical standard

        Didn't we all JUST go through a migration to a new video signal hardware standard, when we gave up VGA, et al in favor of DVI? Like within the past five years?

        What benefit does HDMI offer to anyone? Besides giving content manufacturers an opportunity to get HDCP in?
    • How in the world can they ship this? It's not even a firmware bug.. It's missing in its entirety! Been disliking ATI recently.. this dropped them down to the "I'd rather buy a S3 Virge" video card level..

      Ahhh, the good old S3 Virge. Still got one of them lying around. Whenever I'm faced with a machine that refuses to post(or at least refuses to display a screen) I plop in that card to rule out the possibility of the graphics card being the problem. Always works, no matter the OS.
    • They are indeed HDMI ready. HDMI is basically a DVI signal, and all you need is the proper cord to get your DVI into HDMI, but the DVI port must output a proper digital signal and not just the analog signal that can also be carried on DVI.

      In otherwords, the ATI cards are putting out analog and digital via their DVI ports, so all you need is a DVI to HDMI cable (which isn't a converter, simply a different connector) to hook up to an HDMI TV.

      I'm doing it with my ATI card, and it works well.

      Video card
  • by TerenceRSN (938882) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:43AM (#14742399)
    I think ATI is going to have to do more than cover its tracks to get out of this one. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag there's no way some enterprising lawyer and disgruntled techies aren't going to start up a class action law suit. And this shouldn't even be hard to prove since it's obvious it just doesn't work/isn't supported unlike some lawsuits where they argue a product didn't "live up" to expectations.
  • Google Heaven? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shdragon (1797) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:44AM (#14742406) Homepage Journal
    It looks like the cached copy on Google will be the copy submitted in court. I just bought a new ATI card, one of the reasons was because they claimed to support this feature.
    • Re:Google Heaven? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@SLACK ... com minus distro> on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:52AM (#14742490) Homepage
      Really? I think the number of people who bought the cards for HDCP support and not the 3000fps they can get in Doom3 is fairly low.

      Basically do what I do. If I buy something that says "AC'97" or "PCI-Express" compatible and doesn't have linux drivers [or compatible drivers] I just return it saying it's defective. So far I've been 100% successful with only having to be marginally rude :-)

      So if you bought the card assuming HDCP support worked out of the box and it doesn't return it. If everyone did the same you'd see retailers scrambling to avoid selling them like the plague.

      Tom
      • Really? I think the number of people who bought the cards for HDCP support and not the 3000fps they can get in Doom3 is fairly low.

        Basically do what I do. If I buy something that says "AC'97" or "PCI-Express" compatible and doesn't have linux drivers [or compatible drivers] I just return it saying it's defective. So far I've been 100% successful with only having to be marginally rude :-)

        So if you bought the card assuming HDCP support worked out of the box and it doesn't return it. If everyone did the same y
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wulfstan (180404) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:45AM (#14742414)
    Making a mistake? Fair enough. Treating your customers like idiots and trying to hide what you've done, though, is not something that is going to fly in this day and age. ATI are going to pay through the nose on this one and doing stupid things like this to try to paint over the damage done is just plain stupid.

    Come clean, apologise publicly, recall products, do whatever you can to ensure that you have supported and looked after your customers. But to do this sort of thing smacks of burying your head in the sand.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.
    • doing stupid things like this to try to paint over the damage done is just plain stupid.

      Are you sure doing stupid things is stupid? Or is it just stupid to do stupid things?
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kenthorvath (225950)
      Come clean, apologise publicly, recall products, do whatever you can to ensure that you have supported and looked after your customers.

      Like taking down a web page that has false information on it and making sure that nobody else is being misled? Has ATI denied any wrong doing, or are they more likely just in the process of fixing a mistake?

    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:05PM (#14742605)
      It's not the crime that gets you into trouble....it's the cover up. ATI is foolish to try to cover this up. They should have just announced a "mistake" and made some offer to existing customers to make things better. They are a public company and the SEC is going to be very interested in this since they are listed on the NASDAQ exchange in the US.
      • No, I'm pretty sure the crime gets you in trouble too. The coverup makes it worse though.

        Really, ATI should have either:
        1. Offered a free swap to every customer with a broken card for one that matches (or exceeds) the features listed on the original product. However, for various reasons I think this is likely impossible. 2. Offer a 100% buyback offer or a check that covers the difference between having a HDCP enabled card vs. not. Basically pay the customers back for the feature they paid for but didn
      • Give 'em a break. Its not like they shot someone in the face, or something.
    • Agreed. They know that admitting their mistake and making an honest effort to rectify it is going to cost them a lot of money. Worse, they may end up loosing market share to nVidia! Unfortunately, it looks like their CEO has decided instead that the company should simply pretend as though nothing happened. "Hey, what the hell is HDCP anyway? Nobody'll notice the difference if we act as though we never supported it, right?" Truly infantile behaviour.
    • Not so fast. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RealProgrammer (723725) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#14742750) Homepage Journal

      While what you describe might be occurring, I refer you to a basic lifesaving mantra:

      1. Stop the bleeding
      2. Start the breathing
      3. Protect the wound
      4. Treat for shock

      ATI may just be stopping the bleeding, that is, first taking steps not to deceive any other potential customers. In fact, if they were to do anything else there would be a situation where they'd be saying "Sorry, we were wrong" while continuing to allow customers to get the wrong idea.

      Watch their public statements and what they do next before rushing to judgement.

    • ATI isn't out to deceive us; oh, no! They're being a counterculture badass, fighting for our right to use unencumbered video transport systems.

      Joe User: Can this card output HDCP? I wouldn't want to accidentally expose my system to any high-bandwidth video signals unless they're nice and locked-down.

      ATI: Surrrre it can. We completely support content restrictions in the name of protecting copyright... *WINK*

      Joe User: Oh. Thanks. Um, I can still watch Terminator on it, right?

      ATI: Of course, in glor
    • "Treating your customers like idiots and trying to hide what you've done, though, is not something that is going to fly in this day and age"

      Uh... what about the RIAA?
      well, I guess they're not really trying to hide anything, but rather sticking it in everybody's faces and claiming its legal...
  • A silver lining? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:46AM (#14742426)
    If sufficient chaos ensues, perhaps this can be the issue that pulls HDCP requirements out of Windows. Without support from Microsoft (who has no real financial interest in HDCP), HDCP will probably fail in the marketplace.

    Hopefully this little 'mishap' will be the thing that makes it such that all our new LCD monitors aren't obsolete after all.
    • by Benanov (583592)
      I'm almost tempted to buy a card now knowing it *doesn't* support HDCP so I can avoid all of this nonsense for quite some time.

      Too bad ATi's Linux support isn't hot.
      • Buy it, sell it on eBay, but keep the reciept & UPC symbol.

        I doubt anyone is going to ask for any more proof than that. Fill out the warranty card too, just so you have the product's serial number etc.

        I'm not encouraging anyone to try and scam ATI, but if you're going to do it, do it right.

    • Hopefully this little 'mishap' will be the thing that makes it such that all our new LCD monitors aren't obsolete after all.

      As if anyone here needs reminding, planned obsolescence isn't part of Linux and free software. So, Penguin away and be happy.
    • by tgd (2822) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:55AM (#14742523)
      Its already fairly common in the marketplace. My DVD player uses it, for example.

      There's no chaos there. Vista will require HDCP-encrypted channels to display restricted content, which will include purchased online content, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD content, as well as CableCard and DBS content.

      People's computers will either work with it, or they'll have to buy new ones.

      The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it regardless of what chaos ATI may or may not create through questionable marketing of their products. Since most, if not all, computer monitors do not support HDCP right now, that'll be the place there will be issues. But none of them will cause HDCP to fail.
      • The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it regardless of what chaos ATI may or may not create through questionable marketing of their products.

        I believe there are already external HDCP decoders available in the market. A previous topic listed them for sale in Europe.

      • by HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:22PM (#14742761)
        This whole HCDP thing strikes me as being very anti-consumer; I don't know of anyone who would actually want such a thing, since it essentially makes perfectly good equipment obsolete for no (technically valid) reason. The way I see it, it's a way for a few rich people to get even more rich, at our expense.

        So, I put forth the question: can it be made to fail?
        • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:33PM (#14743455)
          HDCP is destined to fail anyway. It is fundamentally a cryptographic protocol which does a handshake between video card and monitor that sets up a cryptographic key, then encrypts the data. This handshake portion was created without public crypto review, and as is often the case, is done very badly. As Niels Ferguson said when he examined the HDCP spec, "I was just reading it and it broke"!

          See this posting to Perry Metzger's cryptography mailing list [mail-archive.com] for a summary of known cryptographic attacks on HDCP. It is only a matter of time until the HDCP master key is reverse-engineered, and at that point it will become easy to create devices that mimic HDCP functionality, making HDCP essentially useless.
      • The support of HDCP is not an optional thing -- the content will not be available without it

        You think that without the requested protections, the content industry would pack up and go home? Nope. They'd keep doing their thing, and just bitch a lot.

        If the HDCP protected formats fail, the content will become available on the non protected formats.

        Since most, if not all, computer monitors do not support HDCP right now, that'll be the place there will be issues. But none of them will cause HDCP to fail.

        If there
      • People said the same thing about CSS. I don't buy it.

        HDCP has already been broken. You can buy hardware descramblers (spatz's DVIMAGIC), and I suspect there'll be a libhdcp for linux and OSX that vlc/mplayer/xine will use to descrambled the disks.

        All it really means is that my linux/os x installs will be more functional than your Vista install. On all hardware that is technically capable, I'll get hidef blu-ray/hd-dvd playback, complete with the ability to rip/backup/whatever, while you'll be stuck with the
        • All it really means is that my linux/os x installs will be more functional than your Vista install.

          Yeah, because it's not like there's a VLC version for Windows or anything...
        • by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:22PM (#14743357) Homepage
          HDCP has already been broken. You can buy hardware descramblers (spatz's DVIMAGIC), and I suspect there'll be a libhdcp for linux and OSX that vlc/mplayer/xine will use to descrambled the disks.

          On all hardware that is technically capable, I'll get hidef blu-ray/hd-dvd playback, complete with the ability to rip/backup/whatever,


          Not unless you have a HDMI loopback cable and very specific hardware to process it. Being able to remove HDCP means nothing for intercepting it before it exits your gfx card's HDMI output. What you're asking for is a breach in "Trusted Computing".

          Also, you'll want DeACCS not DeHDCP to be able to rip/backup discs. Without HDCP you can capture the decompressed signal in real time (yay) and reencode it (double yay) which currently takes far longer than real time. It'll eat a ton of disk space then consume your CPU for many hours.

          Besides even if all that was the case, you do realize once freed of the DRM it is freed? As long as Windows is able to download and play whatever comes of P2P, Windows will be just as "free" to most people. So despite the DRM, I don't think it'll lead to any mass exodus to Linux/OS X...
  • Otherwise they are so wide open to being hit with a class-action lawsuit for bait-and-switch it's not funny. If they cannot replace the cards with what was originally advertised, then they should offer refunds as part of the recall.
  • by TheCoders (955280) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:47AM (#14742441) Homepage
    This appears to be a serious mis-step on the part of ATI. It's not clear that they intentionally tried to mislead people, but the signs sure point in that direction. It's possible some marketing wonk put out a memo that ATI is now "HDCP ready", and that propogated to all press releases without proper oversight or anyone picking and choosing which cards support it and which don't. Somehow, I doubt a company that has dealt with bleeding-edge technology for so long would make such a mistake. The alternative explanation is they pushed the fancy new buzzword, hoping that the average user would see it and say, "Oh, HDCP, I saw a PC-Magazine headline with that term, it must be good!" and buy the card. These users will never even know that they were duped. The more tech-savvy users are the ones that will really care.

    And therein lies the rub. We, the "geek community" are making progress in educating the general populous about the importance of understanding technology, but there is a long way to go. Until more people learn to read advertisements critically and learn that knowing exactly what you're buying is important, companies will continue to perpetuate these deceiving business practices. In this case, ignorance truly is bliss, but it's the average consumer's ignorance that leads to ATI's bliss.
  • by ltwally (313043) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:49AM (#14742453) Homepage Journal
    "and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'."
    While I'm not saying it's cool to advertise features that do not exist in a product, isn't it the responsible thing for ATi to remove references to HDCP-ready on its websites, so as to not further mislead potential customers?

    That being said, of course ATi should roll out a driver that has hardware HDCP enabled, or offer some form of compensation to previous buyers whom were mislead.

    • by Svet-Am (413146)
      but if there is NO hardware HDCP support, a new driver cannot magically make it appear.
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:08PM (#14742630)
      That being said, of course ATi should roll out a driver that has hardware HDCP enabled, or offer some form of compensation to previous buyers whom were mislead.

      You can't fix this with a driver. If you could this would be a non-issue. The video card needs a Trusted Computing Module chip installed that contains secret keys that the user cannot access. No chip = No HDCP. And it's not like there's a socket on most video cards waiting to be populated.

    • FTA: "To enable HDCP, a board must include the necessary hardware and key at the time of manufacturing."

      There is no driver upgrade that will "turn on" HDCP functions. They will need to do a complete recall.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:51AM (#14742481)
    Well, it's time to admit something: I loathe "HD-ready" and all that surrounds it. DRM, TCPA, all that 3-4 letter acronyms that smell like "hand over your consumer rights".

    Now, I'm normally not a person to hop onto FUD and vent it 'til it stinks, but can't we hype that a little 'til no moron buys that crap anymore, and see the whole DRMism bomb like a tacnuke? It would certainly help prevent stripping us of any of the few rights left on our scale in the "balance between producer and consumer" when it comes to content.

    So far the consumer drones would buy it for the simple "booooooyehy, look at the stunnin' crystal clear display!" without realizing what comes behind it. They don't care that the content industry dictates what they may see and what not, after all, what they want to see is that latest blockbuster movie and not some small movie maker's gems.

    But hearing that their $500 piece of hardware ain't gonna do it should surely be an argument.
  • Time for the.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:55AM (#14742524)
    Wayback Machine! http://tinyurl.com/ddo94 [tinyurl.com]

    Had to use tinyurl as slahdot cannot parse the wayback URL properly.

    • You also could have used a makeashorterlink [makeashorterlink.com] URL. Which would have the advantage that one can first have a look at the real link to find out if it really points to the expected (after all, noone hinders you to make a tinyurl link to goatse, and then claim it's to some other, work-safe site). I almost never click on tinyurl links.
      People who don't want the intermediate site can disable it [makeashorterlink.com]. Note that it is not the creator of the link who disables the page, but the user of the link.

      BTW, you would also have had t
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:56AM (#14742532)
    You can't hide what was on the website; there are too many archiving mechanisms out there that will reveal the truth. Then, if a fraud has occurred, there'll be class-action litigation undertaken.

    If you have ATI stock, dump it, now, before the Chapter 11 filing; you might get a few cents out of it. Otherwise, make plans to obtain another adapter. If ATI can make good on the adapter, it'll be a miracle for them.

    But if the info in the article is true, it's the harbinger of the end of ATI as we knew them. Pity.
  • acronyms (Score:5, Funny)

    by revery (456516) * <charles@ca[ ]net ['c2.' in gap]> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:01PM (#14742574) Homepage
    My ATI gives BS and my HDCP card is DOA. HDML is MIA and I am PO'd and SOL.

    CRAP

  • by jocknerd (29758) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:01PM (#14742575)
    Between HDCP, HDMI, Blu-Ray, DRM, DCMA, and HD-DVD, I just get a feeling that its all about to crumble. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will both fail I believe and a 3rd technology will emerge at some point that doesn't have the backing of Hollywood. When will technology companies start producing technology again and stop trying to be the pawns of Hollywood.
    • You'd hope that but right now we have Decss, DRM, Macrovision, etc. Most consumers are not copying their dvds or breaking the encryption on their music downloads. For most people its honestly not a real bother.

      The only people that will get royaly screwed by this are technically advanced users. "Normal" consumers will just pony up like they always do. Its just same shit different day.
    • The 3rd technology has already emerged.

      H.264 on standard DVD, with the upgrade path being ANY sort of higher capacity device.

      H.264 means you can do 1080p (not 1080i, but 1080 progressive) with 5.1 audio in 1 MB/sec. That's about 3.5 GB per hour. That gives you 2.5 hours of 1080p on a standard DVD disk. You can squeeze the main title in 2, and then use the remainder for all the other stuff in SD. Or, make it a two disk set. Both of these will cost FAR, FAR less than blu-ray or HD-DVD.

      H.264 enables SD TV over standard broadband, NOW. Take a look at this: http://www.apple.com/macosx/cnbc/ [apple.com] . Thats technically 480p content. Its playing at 675 kbit/sec, or 84.73 KB/sec. 720p content is similarly small; you'll have no problems whatsoever fitting everything you'd want on a single title blu-ray disk onto a standard dvd if your encoding with H.264 on 720p.

      I suspect with a really smart encoder, using intelligent VBR type stuff, you can get 1080p down to an average of 800-900 KB/sec. Perhaps even less. If someone can get the standard DVD above the 3 hour of footage barrier, blu-ray/HD-DVD immediately become a niche market, at least until HDTV 2.0 comes out. Oh; and new displays, as well. But even with _today's_ setup, you can fire up Final Cut Studio, and produce a 2.5 hour feature length movie, slap in on a standard DVD in 1080p, and then put all your extras on the second disk.

      H.264 enables 1080i HDTV on a standard dual layer DVD. You need a beefy processor to play it back, but various manufacturers have already produced embedded decoders. H.264 is the future of IPTV, of satellite transmission, even cable transmission. Most likely, the "upgrade" path is H.264 on standard disks, and then the elimination of disks altogether.

      Why would I _EVER_ carry a pile of blu-ray disks around when I could simply walk with an iPod, or a mobile phone, or a flash disk, or some other portable media library, and wirelessly (bluetooth 4.5, or 802.11n, or whatever) "rent" a video from the blockbuster kiosk? Heck; strip out the middleman; just buy the movie from iMovie store, or Amazon's movies, or Walmart Video Online. Whatever; it doesn't matter.

      The thing is, the entertainment industry is trying to drag us kicking and screaming towards a "secure" disk format, and they are about to be absolutely blindsided by the U.S. retail/rental entertainment industry. Walmart alone dwarfes the RIAA; Walmart+Apple+Blockbuster+Target+Amazon+NetFlix+Al l the other outlets versus RIAA is a joke.

      Especially when Walmart can distribute videos at a cost of 5-10 cents via electronic (or rental, or flash) distribution, and blu-ray disks cost $23 wholesale! Ever met a Walmart purchasing agent? Those guys give new meaning to "hard barginer", and make your look like a fool and his money.

      A properly devised mobile media library will end physical media. You'll carry 30% of your media around with you, with the other 70% being stored securely over the internet, either streamed from or from your media center system at home. Microsoft and Apple are both going this direction; the lack of HD-DVD on Xbox 360 has locked them into this path, and Apple's been dreaming of running the TV/Video market with H.264 Quicktime. Much of the consumer electronics industry is interested in Blu-ray/HD-DVD, but retailers are going to squeal when they see how much it costs, and are going to squeal again when one of their competitors ships standard DVD products with the same features at 1/10 the price; with the only disadvantage being 2 disk sets versus 1 disk.

      HDCP, HDMI, Blu-ray, HD-DVD; whatever. Not that this is the end of DRM, that'll certainly be in both Apple's and Microsoft's schemes. But the content distribution of tomorrow won't be run by the RIAA/MPAAs of the world; it'll be run by the computer side of the tech industry.
    • I just get a feeling that its all about to crumble. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will both fail I believe and a 3rd technology will emerge at some point that doesn't have the backing of Hollywood.

      The Harry Potter franchise alone is worth billions to Time-Warner. You think the asian OEMs don't look at these numbers when they place their bets?

  • A day or two after this information was revealed, HDMI.org went completely password protected and ATI is now modifying key areas of its website, removing any mention of 'HDCP-ready'.

    I predict a lot of hits on the Wayback Machine this week.

  • HDCP (Score:3, Informative)

    by slackaddict (950042) <`moc.tciddanepo' `ta' `nagromr'> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:03PM (#14742595) Homepage Journal
    "According to the Microsoft specification, high-definition video content that is transported using a DVI signal must be encrypted with HDCP. If HDCP is not present, regardless of whether an attempt at copying is made or not, the video is scaled down to low resolution to deter copying."

  • Big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the bluebrain (443451) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:09PM (#14742644)
    I hardly think I'm the only one, but I'll be one of the first to purchase the first consumer level graphics card that puts out an HD signal to a "legacy" DVI monitor. The concept of "illegal technology" just brushes me the wrong way, and I'm confident there's some entrepreneural South Korean or Singaporian manufacturer who just isn't able to, however hard he tries, give a rat's ass about what some *AA halfway round the world thinks of their customers.
  • by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:10PM (#14742655) Homepage Journal
    ARS covered this three days ago, and better. ARS Technica on HDCP [arstechnica.com]

    It's everyone, not just ATI. Plenty of nVidia cards advertise it and don't have it. In fact, no video card in public release truely supports HDCP. So anyone who advertises it is lying.

  • by ratboy666 (104074) <[fred_weigel] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:22PM (#14742757) Homepage Journal
    Of course all those video cards are "HDCPI Ready". They *can* generate the encrypted content. No sweat.

    But (and here's the rub), the content providers (strike that, the "copyright industry", or CI) have decided to not trust any "home-brew" system. Which means that the keys won't go to the cards (because the *system* isn't trusted) and the feature is now useless.

    Of course, a new system can have exactly the same chip, and it will then work.

    Its the CI backlash against the DVD crack (which, of course, a vendor of playback equipment was responsible for -- which is NOT being forgotten). Coupled with some bad crypto choices, and DVDs are now wide open. The CIs would want to prevent this, and are now qualifying everything (my opinion).

    External boxes can only produce SD (DVD) quality output on analog, which is what Vista will generate as well.

    ATI make chips, boards and drivers. They (in my opinion) couldn't care less -- they just implement the spec. They put it the feature, and now can't use it because of key control concerns; they have been caught with their pants down.

    Is is possible for ATI to sue the CIs? Because if I were in ATI, I would be as mad as a wet hen right now.

    Ratboy.
  • I would be po'ed if I bought a card claiming to have HDCP and wanted it, but personally, I don't. I would rather watch 720p content max than buy into this, or any other DRM scheme. We live in an age when companies are at war with their customers, and in a free market economy, the only way for a consumer to fight back is to not buy. That hasn't started yet in earnest, but I imagine it will. All the vid card manufacturers are to blame here, not just ATI as almost all have claimed this capability and don't de
  • by TheLink (130905) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:23PM (#14742772) Journal
    Is this a way to hype up demand for DRM tech?

    Some people say ATI is being really stupid.

    But are they really stupid, or is someone really really cunning and ATI got paid off to "screw up".

    This way with all the fuss etc, Joe Public will go: "Wow my next video card MUST HAVE HDCP".

    So who's being stupid here?
  • According to ATI's site, the X1600 is HDCP ready.

    http://www.ati.com/products/RadeonX1600/specs.html [ati.com]

    DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready
  • Now if I understand this correctly, this is what HDCP means:

    "According to the Microsoft specification, high-definition video content that is transported using a DVI signal must be encrypted with HDCP. If HDCP is not present, regardless of whether an attempt at copying is made or not, the video is scaled down to low resolution to deter copying."

    So could somebody come up with a little app to run in the background to just get around this MS check? Sorry I don't know the details of how it works but it sounds

  • by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:43PM (#14742993) Journal
    Personally I'm hoping for as many of these screw ups on the manufacturer's part as possible. I'm also hoping that HD-DVD comes to market soon enough before Blu-Ray that the outrage over incompatibility issues causes the Blu-Ray group to ratchet down their DRM stuff a bit. DRM is now a major obstacle to coming out with new consumer gear, and mark my words even the approved compatible products will break in industry unexpected ways. The buying public will not tolerate equipment that is as crash prone and glitchy as PCs are.

    Ironically all these attempts to lock down HD-DVD and Blu-Ray to thwart piracy will probably accelerate piracy as people who have been buying EXPENSIVE HIGH END gear will feel little remorse in resorting to pirated material to display on their setups. The industry is fooling itself if it thinks it can keep real pirates from cracking their content by whatever method, when there will be such a huge demand from the installed based of early adopters.

    It won't happen, but I would love to see legislation that forbids intentionally crippling products or creating some artificial market segmentation to insure some business model. Maybe when the HD-DVD Blu-Ray debacle really begins will we some come modification to the really bad legislation that is the DMCA. At least they are considering really spanking people the put Root-Kits in products. Maybe we need the CRMA (consumers rights millennium act) to balance some of this madness.
  • Do a google search for x1300 hdcp, then look at the google cache for the ati result.

    It has this in it:"
    # Flexible display support

            * Dual integrated DVI transmitters (one dual-link + one single-link)
                        o DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready
  • and i was thinking that as a CANADIAN company, you might just have slightly higher morals that certain companies to the south. appearently i was wrong. do not expect me to buy from you in the near future.
  • The idea that someone somewhere needs to approve of the hardware I buy before it can play content is anti-freedom, it's anti-competitive, and it's anti-consumer. The idea that a content provider can control whether I am able to save or time-shift content is evil. They should never have that power. It should be illegal for them to.

    Don't buy any content protected this way. Remember good old DIVX (the Circuit City crypled DVD format, not the video compression standard). It died. This should too. I doubt
  • by PalmKiller (174161) on Friday February 17, 2006 @04:11PM (#14744721) Homepage
    This makes the article look suspect, maybe it does have support after all and the web site monkeys just pulled it down until they knew for sure, the web page they use an an example http://www.ati.com/products/RadeonX1900/specs.html [ati.com] still has HDCP ready on it...not just the google cache as they claim # Flexible display support * Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters o DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready

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