Thoughts?Vista's content protection mechanism only allows protected content to be sent over interfaces that also have content-protection facilities built in. Currently the most common high-end audio output interface is S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format). Most newer audio cards, for example, feature TOSlink digital optical output for high-quality sound reproduction, and even the latest crop of motherboards with integrated audio provide at least coax (and often optical) digital output. Since S/PDIF doesn't provide any content protection, Vista requires that it be disabled when playing protected content [Note E]. In other words if you've sunk a pile of money into a high-end audio setup fed from an S/PDIF digital output, you won't be able to use it with protected content.
Say you've just bought Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon", released as a Super Audio CD (SACD) in its 30th anniversary edition in 2003, and you want to play it under Vista. Since the S/PDIF link to your amplifier/speakers is regarded as insecure for playing the SA content, Vista disables it, and you end up hearing a performance by Marcel Marceau instead of Pink Floyd.
Similarly, component (YPbPr) video will be disabled by Vista's content
protection, so the same applies to a high-end video setup fed from component video. What if you're lucky enough to have bought a video card that supports HDMI digital video with HDCP content-protection? There's a good chance that you'll have to go out and buy another video card that really *does* support HDCP, because until quite recently no video card on the market actually supported it even if the vendor's advertising claimed that it did. As the site that first broke the story put it in their article "The Great HDCP Fiasco" http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/ati ... p_support/) puts
"None of the AGP or PCI-E graphics cards that you can buy today support HDCP [...] If you've just spent $1000 on a pair of Radeon X1900 XT graphics cards expecting to be able to playback HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movies at 1920x1080 resolution in the future, you've just wasted your money [...] If you just spent $1500 on a pair of 7800GTX 512MB GPUs expecting to be able to play 1920x1080 HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movies in the future, you've just wasted your money".
(The two devices mentioned above are the premium supposedly-HDCP-enabled cards made by the two major graphics chipset manufacturers ATI and nVidia). ATI was later subject to a class-action lawsuit by its customers over this deception. As late as August of 2006, when Sony announced its Blu-Ray drive for PCs, it had to face the embarrassing fact that its Blu-Ray drive couldn't actually play Blu-Ray disks in HD format ("First Blu-ray disc drive won't play Blu-ray movies", http://www.cnet.com.au/desktops/dvdburn ... 720,00.htm):
"Since there are currently no PCs for sale offering graphics chips that support HDCP, this isn't yet possible".
In order to appropriately protect content, Vista will probably have to disable any special device features that it can't directly control. For example many sound cards built on C-Media chipsets (which in practice is the vast majority of them) support Steinberg's ASIO (Audio Stream I/O), a digital audio interface that completely bypasses the Windows audio mixer and other audio- related driver software to provide more flexibility and much lower latency than the Windows ones. ASIO support is standard for newer C-Media hardware, see for example http://www.cmedia.com.tw/?q=en/PCI/CMI8788. Since ASIO bypasses Windows' audio handling, it would probably have to be disabled, which is problematic because audiophiles and professional musicians require ASIO support specifically because of its much higher quality than the standard Windows channels.
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http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/p ... a_cost.txt