Archive for October, 2017

Weekly News Roundup (October 8, 2017)

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Sometimes you get a weird collection of news stories, everything ranging from DRM delusions of grandeur to the latest news about advances in video tech (even though many people are still happily buying DVDs and watching Netflix in SD). Sometimes, like this week, you get a theme: rip, rip hooray.

You’ll get what I mean in a moment.

Copyright

The ripping scene has been pretty quiet ever since AACS 2.0 showed up via 4K Ultra HD (and some streaming services). This was a tough copy protection scheme that, unlike previous efforts (CSS, AACS 1.0), wasn’t trivial to break. This meant that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, were for a while, safe from ripping. This seems to no longer be the case.

DeUHD

It may not look much, but it may just get the job done if you need to rip Ultra HD Blu-ray discs

Enter DeUHD, the first tool that makes ripping 4K Ultra Blu-ray discs as easy as clicking on a button. Sure, it’s pricey at the moment (an eye watering €199 for a lifetime license), requires specific hardware to work (and it doesn’t always work), but it’s the best we’ve got, and maybe a sign of things to come.

Just goes to show that, no matter how tough the DRM is, it’s only a matter of time before it’s broken. For now, UHD’s sheer size and the lack of proper burning options makes UHD Blu-ray ripping (and downloading) sometime strictly for video tech geeks like myself and gives the format natural protection against being pirated a lot, but being able to down-convert from such a high quality source may mean a slight but noticeable improvement in the quality of rips you’ll start to see (UHD-BDRips?).

Like AACS 2.0, Denuvo, while strictly speaking not a DRM (but really is a DRM), has been a star advertisement for the necessity of DRM (or DRM-like services). But not anymore, maybe.

News that Denuvo protected game ‘Total War: Warhammer 2’ was cracked in matter of hours should give pause all game publishers who had thought that zero day releases were a thing of the past. The time it takes to break Denuvo protected games has been shortening all the time for those that have been following the WNR, from months down to days, and now, down to hours.

So basically it’s the same thing I said two paragraphs ago, so I won’t repeat it again just to make the word count go higher.

Gaming

PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro

It’s taken a while, but the first pirated PS4 game has been shared – you most likely won’t be able to play it though

I guess when things happen they always happen in three’s, and so when the first pirated PS4 game was uploaded online, it wasn’t a total surprise seeing how this week was panning out. But unlike the other two efforts, this was is not for the faint of heart.

In order to play the pirated PS4 games, not only will you need a jailbroken PS4, which means one running a very old firmware version, you’ll also need to know your way around ELF loaders, Netcat and FTP Payload. In other words, it’s not something that will worry Sony at the moment, since it’s purely academic that pirated PS4 game exists – no one will be that desperate to play free PS4 games that they go to all this trouble just to do so.

Still, it’s the first small step towards something bigger perhaps, especially with rumours that a much more recent version of the PS4 firmware may have been compromised.

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So this week’s theme based WNR comes to a close here. I doubt next week will be as coherent, and probably not as busy either. We’ll find out then!

Weekly News Roundup (October 1, 2017)

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Well well well, we’re into the final couple of months of 2017. Time flies when you’re having fun and all that.

A pretty quiet week this one, so this WNR shouldn’t take too long to read.

Copyright

Hollywood: Stop DRM in HTML5

The EFF resigns from the W3C due to DRM concerns

The inevitable has happened and the W3C has formally ratified Encrypted Media Extensions (EMEs) as an official, but voluntary part of the HTML specs. For those not keeping score, EMEs are really just a fancy word for DRM, the type of DRM used by Netflix and Amazon and others to protect their streaming content in browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.

Adding DRM to the HTML standards was always going to be controversial (as our previous coverage on this has demonstrated), and there was always going to be blowback when (and not if) the W3C formally adopted EMEs. The specific blowback this time being the EFF resigning from the W3C to protest not only the decision to include the “terrible idea” of DRM in HTML, but also for not adding in legal exemptions (to deal with anti-circumvention laws) to allow security research.

It’s easy to see why the W3C caved to the demands of the entertainment industry. The World Wide Web, that is the web as we access regularly via our web browsers (and usually rendered via HTML), has been declining in relevance due to the increasing popularity of apps. Most people do not use a browser to watch Netflix, but instead do it via an app. By not having DRM support built into the HTML framework, there is even less incentive for the entertainment industry to continue to allow their content to be streamed via browsers, which is often less secure (in terms of content protection) than their app counterparts (in no small part due to the security by obscurity principle).

But by not allowing a legal exemption for the hacking and cracking of EMEs by security researchers though (and again, probably at the behest of Hollywood interests), EMEs could, as the EFF argues, become a point of attack for hackers with malicious intent and, ironically, make it less secure when it comes to protecting content. The Chrome EME bug didn’t as much go undiscovered for years, as being discovered but not shared due to the fear of legal repercussions by security researchers. The same could happen again, and it would be a further blow to the relevancy of browsers if that happens.

The frustrating thing is that it’s the DRM requirements that’s been making browsers less and less relevant when it comes to streaming video – when playing Netflix 4K content requires a PC that even the most hardcore PC gamers don’t have access to, you know something is not right.

High Definition

iPad Pro

The 2017 iPad Pro will also get to play Netflix in HDR, along with this year’s iPhone 8 and X

Apple’s support for 4K on the updated Apple TV puck won’t go as far as to allow offline viewing. While you can download HD and even HDR versions of movies, you can’t do the same for 4K content. Part of the reason for this is the sheer size of 4K movies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if DRM plays a role in this too.

The Apple TV 4K, unfortunately, also won’t support YouTube 4K, a victim of the incredibly tedious video codec wars. The Apple TV supports H.265, but YouTube uses the open source VP9 codec for its 4K content.

Still staying with news about the recent Apple product refreshes, Netflix HDR support will be coming to the iPad Pro, and all of the new iPhones (8, 8 Plus and X).

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That’s it for this week. See you in seven!