Computer-based home entertainment products present some real problems for media producers and consumers.
Digital copyright protection
Some copyright owners (mainly large corporations) have complained that digitisation has made their product easy to copy and distribute. Some have begun to use various technical means to try and limit what they see as theft.
Unfortunately, the new technical limitations have reduced the usefulness of some of their products and even rendered them unusable in some situations.
For example, some copy protected music CDs:
- Will play in a DVD player, but not in a media centre PC’s DVD drive.
- Cannot be copied and stored on the hard disc, to enable you to play different CDs in separate rooms.
- Fail to work in some car CD players.
Invasive software – the Sony example
Sony was widely condemned for introducing software on some of its CDs sold around 2005 that can compromise the security of the computer you play it on if you’re connected to the internet.
The hidden software installs itself without the user’s knowledge or consent, highlighting just how vulnerable consumers are in this digital marketplace.
Self destruct mechanisms
Downloading video from the internet on a pay-per-view basis may be a good idea in principle. Currently, however, a system such as BigPond Movies requires you to download extra software to make sure the movie file will self destruct after a set time.
This set-up process can be time consuming, as well as being more complicated and not significantly cheaper than taking a trip up to the local video store.
Obviously once you’re over the set-up hurdle the process is simpler and quicker, but the cost seems hard to justify.