Apple's subtle plan to turn me into a movie pirate, or: HDCP/DRM is Rubbish!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mim, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. mim macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    flesh, melbourne.... heart, london
    >>This is a post I recently made to Reddit about my ATV issues. I thought it may be of interest to you guys too. Original is here. I've removed some swearing from this edit, because MacRumours is a much more gentle place!<<

    After replacing my sadly defunct ATV Gen 1 with a shiny new black ATV2, initially I was very pleased - small, fast, cool. Pleased that is, until I actually decided to play a movie.

    1. Movie starts playing.
    2. Movie stops playing after 5 seconds.
    3. Screen goes black, and then....

    "THIS CONTENT REQUIRES HDCP FOR PLAYBACK. HDCP isn't supported by your HDMI connection."

    Well shiver me timbers.

    I play a movie I ripped from disc (ahhhhhrrrr - it's just a backup copy!). No problem, looks great. But try any movie from the iTunes Store: HDCP error! Scuppered!

    Mind you, I'm using exactly the same cable and TV as previously when my ATV1 was working, but now my legitimately purchased movies won't play because of some mysterious HDCP error with the ATV2. The joys of being a legitimate customer!

    I turn off the TV and ATV, plug them back in, turn them on in sequences, and try all this in various combinations as suggested by the Apple Support site and every single unhelpful forum I can Google. Nothing, of course. I wouldn't expect it to be easy. I mean, I paid for all these films. Would they want me to enjoy them and buy more? Of course not!

    Now, I'm a simple guy when I'm home. I just want to put on a movie for my kids to watch. It's pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty straightforward. Except now I've got to spend hours calling some support number to begin the painful process of ME having to sort out a problem caused by the movie industry in their attempt to prevent me becoming a pirate.

    I mean, if this is what's going to happen, they should just hand out eyepatches and parrots in the Apple Stores!

    The Genius Bar guys should just be straight up -
    "Hi, buying an ATV? Well, here. Take this simple copy of Handbrake! Make sure you check the system requirements - did you see we recommend a 100gb/month internet plan and an account with Demoniod?! Yes, you'll need a Bit Torrent client! We recommended Transmission!"

    I'm sure if I tried, there's a really simple solution. I probably just need to put the ATV to sleep, turn the TV off, turn it on, wait 10 seconds, wake the ATV, turn the TV off, reset my network, turn the tv on, and then simply play my movie. I probably just need to do this every day or something!

    I know it's pointless to complain. I mean, I should just waste my time trying all this rubbish until I find where the problem is! Because, you know, my charge out rate is only $300/hour and I know Apple will have no problem in me sending them an invoice for the time I spend to get it all working fine.

    But in the end it doesn't matter. Their cunning plan has worked, because I'm tired and have better things to do.

    Stuff the iTunes store, now I'm downloading every single thing I can find.
  2. CPD_1 macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2007
    South East Texas
    I get your frustration. Lord knows I do. I want so badly to play back movies from my MBP to my external monitor... but as long as it's connected, iTunes won't let me play them. I'd blame Apple, but I know this is a stupid measure taken by movie studios that ultimately hurts the consumer.

    I'm fortunate enough to have no problems with playback from my ATV. My TV and receiver are HDCP compliant, but it's too bad they need to be. The worst part is, I don't think there is any real way to emphasize to content providers what a poor scheme this is. By buying the content, I stamp my approval on their stupid content "protection". By pirating I give them further fule on the "we're protecting our content and profits from pirates" fire.
  3. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    I had that problem for about a minute. I had my appleTV (2nd gen) going through a switch box with my PS3 and 360, and got the HDCP warning. I then put the ATV on it's own through my receiver, never had a problem since.

    I know this is all part of the MPAA's grand scheme, and it's annoying that Apple has to cater to the MPAA's paranoia.

    To make it really fun, my mid-2007 iMac, it can't play purchased HD content. I get the HDCP warn, but if I connect my TV via mini-DVI to HDMI, it plays fine on my TV.
  4. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    I guess you didn't like the replies you got on Reddit. Seriously, the problem is the DRM and the MPAA who forces it into the hardware. Apple has always supported DHCP because, well the chips that they use support it (read the specs on AppleTV1, it's there). Why aren't things playing now? No idea, maybe because something changed that you're not looking at. Did you re-rip the movie and forget to take the DRM off? There are plenty of software packages that will do this for you; just go look for one.

    The MPAA has forced all hardware vendors to support DHCP in the US. It was supposed to be encryption all the way from the DVD player to the TV; and was the underlying factor to push HDMI out as a new standard. HDMI is nothing more then DVI with Audio and DHCP; since most equipment already supported optical, it wasn't really necessary to unify the two (although one cable is nicer then two). But the real goal was to get DHCP everywhere. If your monitor doesn't support DHCP you can't play movies via your computer.

    Using this to justify piracy is nothing more then an excuse. It would be one thing if it wasn't easy to remove the DRM; but it is, and it only takes a few minutes. It most likely takes you more time and energy to go find another copy of a movie then to just do it yourself.

    I hate DRM as much as the next person, but at least I understand where the forces who are championing it are coming from. They need to protect their IP and thus create these schemes to do so. They have the money and the power to make it a requirement for everyone. And thus they do. Unfortunately for Apple, they have to support them otherwise they would have no content to sell. Apple has shown in the past that they do not like DRM (we went through all this with Audio files) but are being forced into it. If they could, they would get rid of it. But they can't, so they won't.

    If you're going to be angry, at least focus on the right people. But that means nothing, you never have the right to pirate anything.
  5. owine macrumors member


    Oct 29, 2008
    HDCP - High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection

    DHCP - Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

    Easily confused.

    To the OP, I would try a few simple troubleshooting techniques like unplugging the ATV, turning the TV on first, plugging power to the ATV and finally plugging the HDMI from the ATV to the TV. Sometimes the HDCP handshake gets screwed up in the middle. Your TV supports HDCP, yes? Most recent ones do.
  6. ISO:HELP macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006
    Anyone want to trade hardrives ?

    I'm currently 1 Tb out of 3.

    I just started saving movies.....

  7. Phantom Gremlin macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    Tualatin, Oregon
    See, there's your mistake. I didn't buy one song from iTunes until they removed DRM. I've bought plenty since. Same with video; I'll never buy a DRMed movie from iTunes. But I've bought music videos, they're not DRMed and anything (e.g. VLC) plays them just fine.

    The MPAA pinheads are too busy snorting blow and shagging aspiring starlets ('hos) to care what you think. They're not about to read your comments. But you can always vote with your pocketbook (as you suggest you will do going forward).

    It's hardly simple to remove DRM. It's something that nerds and hackers excel at; however the average Joe Sixpack wants something that "just works". That's one of the big reasons people buy Apple products, they "just work" much more than the average consumer crap out there.

    Here's a JPG I got from somewhere that explains the situation:

    Attached Files:

  8. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    The problem is that DRM is so easy to remove that it isn't actually protecting any IP. It just hurts the consumer.

    A consumer wants something that 'just works' and this doesn't 'just work'.

    Also now you are not only paying for piracy you are also paying for the time spent implementing these (circumventable) DRM schemes. (EDIT: Not to mention the time and energy needed to decrypt the DRM everytime you watch a movie, not exactly enviromentally friendly...)

    How about let us pay money to the makers of the movie so we don't feel so bad about downloading an "easy to watch" copy.

    Actually maybe we should rebrand pirated movies as "Easy to Watch" movies, or maybe "Just Works" movies :) (I think i'll call them my "Easy to Watch" movie collection in future, although if someone can come up with a similar but better name i'd love to hear it. "Environmentally Friendly" movies?)
  9. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Yup, I don't disagree with you there. I hate all types of DRM but that doesn't mean that I don't understand the reason it exists. Sure the DRM on DVDs is very easy to strip off; but the average consumer still doesn't know how to do it. If someone spent 20 minutes googling how to do it (and 20 minutes includes not only the google, but the download, installing, and trying it -- and they would still have 19 minutes to spare) they could learn; but the fact is that most people don't do this, they just deal with it.

    We went through this with songs. DRM sucked and in general the only one that really worked was Apple's -- I don't think it was ever broken (besides burn to CD/ re-rip method; but that's a lossy method and was allowed). But eventually they (the Music Industry) around and realized it was a losing battle [especially since 2MB songs were nothing for the high speed networks today]. Eventually the MPAA will see the light and change things again; no copy protection they put on can be foolproof, it will always be broken.

    iBooks hasn't realized this, seriously. W.T.F?? Several different DRM methods; one for each vendor? Absolutely stupid. Oddly, being a more modern DRM it hasn't been broken as easily -- although some has been. But if the book companies just realized it's is a losing game, and that the average consumer will buy it anyway and that no matter what you do the pirates will STILL find a way to pirate it, it isn't worth the effort to put DRM on it. I truly believe that if they remove all DRM from books, thus allowing them to be read on any device (Sony, BN, Kindle, Apple, etc...) the sales of the books would go way up. Sure there would be more pirates; but they wouldn't have purchased it anyway. It is also a great way to introduce new people to new authors they may never have looked at before. It often happens, pirate one thing, but buy the next 5 because you liked the first one.

    I don't pirate, I buy what I want. BUT at the same time, because I am spending my money, I don't buy nearly as much as I could because I spend a lot of time making sure my purchases are what I want instead of just buying them.

    Price pays a big factor in things as well. For a while DVD's were down to $5 each. But there was an effort to raise the prices of DVD's back up to $10 for older DVD's and $15+ for new ones. At $5 I would never think twice about picking up a movie, new or old, I'd just buy it. But at $12.50 (average new/old) I do a double take and find that I really don't buy many movies any more. There are a ton of old movies I would love to buy, but I'm not paying $9.99 for Jumping Jack Flash, make it $4.99 and I'll buy it. Even worse is that many old moves you can no longer find in the stores because they don't make enough money. So why not offer those for sale on their website? $3.99 to download the 1977 King Kong without DRM, I'm there.

    It's one thing to try and milk your industry for all it's worth, and in good times, people spend a heck of a lot more then during a depression. Guess what, times are NOT good, so be more creative, come up with better solutions for people instead of saying; we used to make xxx million a year selling at $5, but sales are going down, so raise the price so we can still make xxx million on less sales. It doesn't work; people no longer have the disposable income they had, it is time to change the model.

    Ugh, long rant, if you didn't read, don't worry, you didn't miss much. Sorry, it's one of those .... years. :(
  10. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    The average consumer also doesn't know how to get past the stupid HDCP issue. So they just return the movie.

    These consumers also wouldn't be able to copy a dvd, even if it wasn't protected, so why bother protecting it.

    My take is that i can't support these DRM methods so i only purchase non-DRM movies and music. Which means i don't purchase any movies...

    All i read was "Blah blah blah i'm a dirty tramp" (Mr. Deeds quote... no offence intended :) )
  11. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I've honestly been forced away from legitimate purchases to a degree. I try to buy what I can; the last five movies I purchased, I bought the Blu-ray and then downloaded.

    I actually remember buying Heroes Season 1 off of iTunes, and then downloading it off a torrent site afterward, simply because my streaming setup utilizes a Playstation 3 to my TV and the iTunes DRM won't let me use it.
  12. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I'd love if you could pay for the "license" rather than paying for the physical disk and shipping (to you or to shop).
  13. cornbrown macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2010
    Unplug your HDMI cable and plug it back in. Make sure your connection is good. I had that problem twice while trying to watch movies I purchased on Itunes. My Toddler was playing around and the HDMI cable came loose and not seated all the way.
  14. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    Technically, when you buy a DVD, you ARE buying a license.

    The DVD's themselves aren't anything more than a transport medium.

    A movie rental download and a movie "purchase" download are the exact same from a legal standpoint, with one exception: duration of the lease.

    The sucky part is that the DVD version, the iTMS version, the Unbox version, both Netflix versions, the Blu-ray version, and the VHS versions are all considered "separate" IP products, so you're supposed to buy each one you want, and if the one you want isn't available, you're supposed to **** and take it in the rear.

    IP as we know it is untenable as a concept, and it is only a matter of time before the entire system is abandoned in truth and not just in practice. The days when an artist could get paid because someone listened to their song or watched their movie are coming to an end.

    The artists who realize this and embrace it sooner will come out better in the end.
  15. Tailpike1153 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2004
    Bellevue, WA
    I stand on a chair and salute you. I had a good laugh at the graphic. Thank you!
  16. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    Maybe I don't understand the issue. The problem is actually with your tv, right? I just bought Resident Evil: Extinction from iTunes (first movie I actually bought rather than rented) and it played via airplay from my Macbook Pro to ATV(2) just fine.

    I tried torrenting for a hot minute and decided not to anymore. I found:

    1) It's largely a waste of time downloading a file of hit or miss quality and, in one case, an unannounced Russian version and another case, a movie where the last 10 minutes was suddenly in Russian. Then there's the Handbraking, adding meta tags, etc. My time is worth more than the $20 it costs to get a perfect movie for the ATV environment.

    2) I'm an adult who can afford to buy movies, not steal them.

    3) I'm not a movie hoarder and don't share movies with other people so it won't cost a lot to get the few movies I actually want to watch more than once.

    4) It's illegal and I don't want to be that kind of person. I don't cheat at anything else so why would I do that here?

    Everybody makes decisions about the kind of person they want to be...
  17. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
    I think its more about the fact that a paying customer shouldn't have to deal with the headache of DRM. DRM accomplishes absolutely nothing. A hacker can remove it and upload a video to the internet regardless, and a purchaser likely isnt about to take that purchase and upload it to the internet or he wouldn't have paid for it to begin with. The only reason I pirate movies is because of DRM. I pay for my music. And I'd be glad to pay for a DRM-free movie as well that was guaranteed to play on any device that I have that it's pirated cousin is able to.

    EDIT: And yes, I am a cheater. But guess what, no HDCP errors.
  18. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    Everyone who steals and cheats has a bogus justification as to why they have a right to do it. Welfare cheats, tax cheats, shoplifters, wall street crooks, piraters, etc. are all the same. All you people do is make life harder for people who want to do the right thing. You can call yourself a crusader all you want, but I don't think you are. I think you would steal movies even if you had a decent tv that could work with drm material.
  19. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    The studios also have bogus justification for using DRM. Saying piracy is costing them millions when every year their profits grow.

    It really boils down to who's justification is more bogus. I think their thinking that I'm a pirate even when i buy a DVD is more bogus than me getting it for free and not putting up with DRM crap.

    That's just me though.
  20. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Frankly, I do both. I buy the movie, but if I want a digital copy, I am more likely to turn to a torrent site and download an XViD version than I am to insert my DVD, fire up Handbrake, and rip it into an MP4 of my own, where I may or may not have set up the right compression settings that will play back on the devices that I want it to (e.g. streaming onto my PS3 from my NAS).

    I sometimes buy movies that come with the Digital Copy and that's all fine and dandy except that the Digital Copy won't play on my PS3. So I have to resort to "illegal" DRM removal programs or, yes, just redownload the torrented version of the movie.

    In my ideal world, every DVD or Blu-Ray would come with a Digital Copy that can be played on your iPad, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox -- anywhere. I don't even care if it has DRM, as long as it's reasonably implemented and works where I need it to. As it stands, my Digital Copy movies only play on the iOS devices and the XViD files do not, and the XViD files play on, well, everything. So guess which way I'm leaning?
  21. laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    By that argument, it would be fine for me to keep stealing out of your wallet as long as your income stays ahead of my stealing your money.

    Sure people can get around DRM if they want to go that route but it's all they can do to protect their product from theft. Do you lock your doors? Any good burglar could break in so why bother? The robber is poorer than you, how dare you keep them from getting your stuff!

    The movie business is an expensive business that gives a livelihood to thousands of people. I wonder how many of those movies you've stolen are by an independent movie maker who barely made any money on it, if any. My nephew used to be a manager in a movie theater for a huge chain and the theaters are struggling to stay alive because fewer people are leaving home to watch movies. If you were in the type of business that involved working hard on something that someone can just take away from you for free, you might feel differently.
  22. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Does the iTunes store have sales on movies and TV shows?

    I was considering buying The West Wing box set around Christmas.

    Amazon's price was under $150 but iTunes was $280, which only works on Apple devices. Although I will mainly watch on my Mac, AppleTV, or iPad.

    I don't wanted to be locked in if I spend $280.

    I also don't want to buy the box set to rip and tag 154 episodes plus extras spanned across 45 DVDs.

    It's seems neither the Studios or Apple will compromise on pricing enough to entice me to buy it. Maybe if the ever release a BluRay version, it will have the "digital copy" included. Standard def most likely.

    I've seen torrents for it but I prefer not to do that type of thing, for those that do, I don't have a problem with you for circumventing the headaches.
  23. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Typically no, there aren't many discounts to be had on iTunes. :( But that isn't Apple either, the price is set by the company selling the content.

    Sounds like buying from iTunes results in you paying for someone else $130, to rip and tag 45 DVD's. For me, I can just run them through the process on this forum and have the same thing without DRM in 3 days and actually very little work on my part. I know what I'd do.
  24. Chase R macrumors 65816

    Chase R

    May 8, 2008
    Just become a pirate. It's much easier and simpler. :)
  25. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I don't think that's quite true. DRM doesn't and never will completely eliminate piracy; but it does add a certain level of inconvenience which is enough to stop a lot of 'casual' piracy. If there was no DRM, a lot of people who currently buy their media would instead pirate it as it would simply be more convenient.

    The content owners are basically playing a numbers game. They can survive if a small number of people strip the DRM and distribute the content; and a reasonably small number of people download that pirated content. If everyone downloads it, they're screwed.

Share This Page