Blu-ray and HD DVD copy protection cracked

“A computer hacker claims to have broken the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) encryption specification used to control unauthorised copying on HD DVD and Blu-ray video players,” Robert McMillan reports for Macworld UK.

“The hacker, who goes by the name of Muslix64, said he wrote the software earlier this month after hardware compatibility problems made it impossible for him to play HD DVDs on an Xbox that was connected to his PC,” McMillan reports.

MacDailyNews Take: What a trifecta! Muslix64’s got the lesser of the next-gen DVD players in the lesser of the video game consoles connected to the lesser personal computer platform. No wonder Muslix64’s a hacker; he has to be in order to get anything to work. Now, if this wakes up content providers and causes them to ease up on the idiotically-restrictive DRM, more power to Muslix64! The music, movie, TV, and other entertainment industries should stop treating law-abiding customers as potential thieves and instead – gasp – treat them as good customers.

McMillan continues, “Muslix64 has posted a video purporting to show the software decrypting a copy of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film Full Metal Jacket. This development is a black eye for the new optical disc formats, which are both jockeying to be successor to the DVD. The Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator, the group that sets the AACS specification, could not be reached for comment.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced on March 10, 2005 that Apple was “pleased to join the Blu-ray Disc Association board as part of our efforts to drive consumer adoption of HD.”

According to The Blu-ray Disc Association’s website, HD DVD’s pre-recorded capacities are 15 GB for a single layer disc, or 30 GB for a double layer disc. Blu-ray Disc provides 67% more capacity per layer at 25 GB for a single layer and 50GB for a double layer disc. It’s par for the course that Apple backs the superior format while Microsoft supports the inferior one.

It does, however, bear noting that Apple is playing both sides of the fence in a wait and see mode. According to a press release from April 17, 2005, “Apple is committed to both emerging high definition DVD standards—Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. Apple is an active member of the DVD Forum which developed the HD DVD standard, and last month joined the Board of Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association.”

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RUMOR: Apple asks studios to include iPod video content on Blu-ray discs – April 25, 2006
Sony postpones PlayStation 3 release until November due to Blu-ray delay – March 15, 2006
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Forrester Research: Apple-backed Blu-ray will win over Microsoft-backed HD DVD – October 20, 2005
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24 Comments

  1. I disagree rarely with MDN but this one I have to call out on.

    I think the XBOX 360 is the best thing Microsoft has going for them, even though it’s costing them money… the online piece is extremely thought out, and the HD DVD player is pretty nice for only $199 — now, I already have 360 so it doesn’t feel like I’ve spent $600 for both… to me, it’s $199.

    Feature specific I feel that HD DVD has more to offer… Apple announced that they are in the Blu-ray camp, but they are also taking a “wait and see” approach to which format will be on top.

    Just because Microsoft makes the XBOX and backs the HD DVD format doesn’t mean it instantly sucks.

    I personally love both my Wii and my 360 — I hate Windows, and Microsoft as a whole can suck it. But the 360 is something that they actually did right.

  2. Frogstik:

    The reason the online component of Microsoft’s Xbox program is so much more competent then everyone else’s is because Sega designed it.

    Also the original Xbox team were all outsiders that Microsoft originally contracted. So the main head of that beast had little to do with developing it.

  3. Well then that was a very smart thing to do. I’ve read that MonkeyBoy and the rest keeps their hands out of the day-to-day ops of the xbox team…

    Sega designed the online piece? that’s new to me… i’d love to read the article about that… if you can, hook me up with that.

    I use to be a hardcore dreamcast fan…

  4. Quite frankly the restrictions on DVD as well as the new formats HD DVD and BlueRay cost them sales, of customers like me who might buy more content if we weren’t locked out of “fair use” rights, like making backups, and copying it to players like iPod and computers and such.

    The fact that my investment in movies is tied to an easily damagable plastic disc, instead of being able to have it on some sort of movie storage device or server or my computer where I can watch it any time I want, without having to cart around all the discs, bothers me. I’m not a criminal just for wanting to watch my own content in a way that’s more convenient to me.

  5. Depending on how the DRM police feel about this….Muslix may have hindered the proliferation of HD-DVD and BLU-Ray peripherals for a bit.

    Then again….the makers of this stuff probably figured somebody would “crack” these new media formats and have accounted for it.

    Just my $0.02

  6. The point system is retarded, but I think the reason the do that is because they can give away points in contests and such — not that they’ve ever done it.

    It’s hard to describe the online piece, you just try it and it just feels good.

  7. “What’s great about the online part of XBox 360? All I know is it uses a retarded points system. What’s good about it?”

    Downloading demos, movie trailers, expansion packs

    Creating a friends list, and knowing when
    your friends are online and what they are playing.

    Video Chat

    Rainbow Six Multiplayer, with friends.

    I also, hate microsoft, but they got the 360 right.

  8. I can’t seem to find the articles. But I could swear reading about this when Xbox Live was first introduced.

    I’ve never used Xbox Live, but from what I hear it works well, never heard a complaint except for the points BS. Still to this day all I hear about Playstations online system is that it’s crap. All of this from 3rd parties.

  9. I don’t think either of the formats has the slightest chance unless there is consolidation, not only are consumers not prepared to gamble as to which will be popular, but neither are the stockists of players and DVD’s. What on earth are they hoping to achieve?

  10. Yeah it seems that Microsoft can develop good products if Microsoft stays out of it.

    ex. I hear the Zune is actually okay, designed by Toshiba. I hear the software for it sucks, designed by Microsoft.

    PS:

    Somehow we got way off topic. But slightly back on topic. Will the current Blu Ray and HD DVD drives connect and work with the Mac Pros???

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