Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Windows 10: welcome to hardware-based DRM
Windows 10: welcome to hardware-based DRM Featured

There is a lot about Windows 10 which is out there in the open. There are some things that are a little more closed. Like PlayReady 3.0.

It's secret to the extent that when a Microsoft executive started talking about it at the WinHEC conference in Shenzhen earlier this year, the recording was stopped at the point when a detailed discussion on PlayReady 3.0 began.

Simply put, with PlayReady 3.0 — earlier versions are implemented through software and exist in current versions of Windows — Microsoft's digital rights management, or digital restrictions management, depending on your point of view, will exist in hardware.

The hardware components will be developed by partners like Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.

The benefit? As Microsoft has been putting it, it will enable the user to have access to prime digital content much earlier and in 4K. This, the company hopes to do, by convincing the creators of digital content, or the film studios, that PlayReady 3.0 will also be a solution to the unauthorised downloading of these versions of films online.

Hollywood has long complained about films leaking online and made the most fantastic claims about how much studios lose due to this.

Enter Microsoft with the assurance that once the studios agree to release the 4K content to it under a deal, then only customers who have PlayReady 3.0-enabled PCs will be able to view it.

And that lot will be those who are necessarily on the straight and narrow.

For those who invest in new hardware, the 4K versions will be viewable. Else, the old standard definition clip will play. Either way, only those who can decrypt the stream will be able to see it.

How Microsoft plans to do this is still a mystery because of the way it shielded the aforementioned presentation from public gaze. Whether the studios will buy in is also yet to be seen.

There are various estimates as to how many people still view films on their PCs. But you can also beam a film to a TV, using a Miracast dongle.

There are loads of people who use streaming services directly to their TVs. And Microsoft may well have missed the boat with PlayReady 3.0 given how many streaming services have come to the market.

One thing is clear: the PC market is going to be quite active if Windows 10 is a success.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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