Vista Doesn't Add DRM To Unprotected Content

Out there, in the blogging world, a lot of facts can get mixed up with rumours and lies. George Ou has attempted to put an end to the whole Vista and DRM confusion. I said he "has attempted" simply because there will always be Microsoft haters who will continue to spew false information regardless of how hard the facts slap them in the face: "A lot of people have been screaming that Vista will deprive you of your rights with the inclusion of DRM technology. Bruce Schneier even referred to this DRM issue as a "security" issue for Vista even though he's merely referring to existence of DRM capability. We're hearing widespread rumors that DRM slows down game play. I even hear people blaming DRM for the lack of driver support in Vista."

Most people will read the above and shake their heads at people's ignorance. Others will mull the idea over in their head, trying to figure out how much of it is true. Many have already accepted it as fact. It is time to set the record straight. There is nothing in Windows Vista that will stop you from doing anything you've done on Windows XP, in terms of DRM and non-DRM audio or video. Windows Vista gives you the ability to play back DRMed content. It does not prevent you from playing back non-DRMed content. It also doesn't add DRM to your unprotected content. If you or anyone you know believe otherwise, please comment here - if you can prove it. I, for one, know for a fact you won't be able to. This news entry was written up on Windows Vista, while happily listening to music and ripping a DVD.

News source: ZDnet Blogs (via Windows-Now)

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By far the best breakdown of all this confusion is I beleive this:

DVD Rip (DivX, XivD, etc) downloaded from Bit Torrent/IRC/etc: Output at whatever resolution you want. No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP. Don’t pirate stuff!

DVD Rip (VIDEO_TS, ISO) download from Bit Torrent/IRC/etc: Output at whatever resolution you want. No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP. Don’t pirate stuff!

WMV HD Downloads (MariposaHD, etc): Output at whatever resolution you want. No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP.

Apple/Quicktime HD Downloads: Output at whatever resolution you want. No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP.

Videocasts/blogcasts/Internet TV/IPTV: Output at whatever resolution you want. No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP.

DVR-MS (SD) Recordings: Output at whatever resolution you want. You can still edit recordings, convert recordings, etc unless they are CGMS-A protected. Works the same as Windows XP.

DVR-MS (HD) Recordings: Output at whatever resolution you want. You can still edit recordings, convert recordings, etc. Works the same as Windows XP.

MPEG-2/DivX/etc Recordings from 3rd Party PVRs: Output at whatever resolution you want. You can still edit recordings, convert recordings, etc. Works the same as Windows XP.

CableCARD: Content recorded from CableCARDs will follow the same sort of output regulations as HD DVD and Blu-ray. Not available in Windows XP.

DVD: Output at whatever resolution you want. If using Component, output is limited because of Macrovision. Use AnyDVD or like to output at whatever you want. Works the same as Windows XP.

HD DVD: If is ICT* set; output at 540p if you are not using HDCP. If using a digital connection (DVI, HDMI) with HDCP, output will be whatever you want always (ICT set or not). If ICT is not set, you can output at 1080p with VGA and 1080i with Component. Works the same as Windows XP.** CE (consumer electronics) HD DVD players (regular set-top boxes) must follow the same rules, not specific to Microsoft or Windows.

Blu-ray Disc (BD): If is ICT* set; output at 540p if you are not using HDCP. If using a digital connection (DVI, HDMI) with HDCP, output will be whatever you want always (ICT set or not). If ICT is not set, you can output at 1080p with VGA and 1080i with Component. Works the same as Windows XP.** CE (consumer electronics) BD players (regular set-top boxes) must follow the same rules, not specific to Microsoft or Windows.

Additions:

DVD Ripping: No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP
Tools like BackupHDDVD/BackupBluray: No restrictions. Works the same as Windows XP***
*AACS requires titles with ICT set be marked, so check the package before you purchase the movie. Currently, no titles have ICT set.
** The content protection framework in Vista will also allow for a more traditional DirectShow filter model of playback. Right now, playback is limited to within PowerDVD or WinDVD.
***Though, I have not tested them under Vista, there is nothing to stop or prevent them from specifically working.

This is from Chris Lanier's blog.

Conclusion - this "Vista DRM" stuff is pure and simple FUD.

Excellent response. Pity the FUD factory ignores this and chooses to spew out piles of crap regarding this. That's the type of thing you paste in every time some moron says "Vista has DRM and is evil" (Or something along those lines).

At last. These are the facts, the news, the articles which belong here.

There are too many users who think that Vista will block their divx and mp3. Thanks for posting this here.

It feels a bit sad it has to go this far to get the message through though. :(

This is what I've talked of on the Neowin boards for the past few months, and it keeps popping up... This about DRM impacting everyday use, so "I'd get Vista if it didn't have DRM!1"... Just makes me wonder how lacking some media support would help these users? Sure, I dislike DRM too, but I can also understand if giving the *option* to use it for those who don't mind is a logical thing to do.

Oh, and it's not just about this, many also think DRM somehow analyse everything video/audio and crippling performance, even when not playing DRM protected content, like games, ripped HD-DVDs, DVDs, or whatever. That's just as wrong...

And stuff like this is just plain sad:

[Update 4:25 PM - The researcher who Bruce Schneier cites who in turn is widely cited in the media as an expert on why Vista DRM is so evil actually admits to never actually even touching Windows Vista. That's the level of "research" he did.]

I just put all my girlfriends and her mothers music and some DVD's on a Vista Home Premium based system at their home and they use a Windows XP Media Center system on the TV in the living room and they can watch/listen to everything I put on the Vista system perfectly fine. According to what those idiots said this would be impossible if Vista added DRM to every song or video. Wouldn't that be impossible to do anyway? Not every song or video would be played of the hard drive. I actually keep everything on CD-R myself.

Also the only reason SOME games run slow is because there's not any true FINAL drivers released for Vista by Nvidia or ATI yet. SOME games are going to be slow on Vista right now, that's common sense and that actually can't be blamed on Microsoft. All companies have had plenty of time to get decent drivers out and some simply waited til the last minute.

look in taskmgr for mfpmp.exe when you play non-DRM content. you're right you can play back non-DRM content but there's a little process that's wasting your CPU and memory as you do.

That will only run if you play mpeg/wmv (and possibly wma) content in Windows Media Player. Use another piece of software for playback and it won't run.

noespam said,
look in taskmgr for mfpmp.exe when you play non-DRM content. you're right you can play back non-DRM content but there's a little process that's wasting your CPU and memory as you do.

The MFPMP.exe wastes CPU because it's there where the media decoding is done when you use mediaplayer: they moved the decoding section to a standalone process to optimize the playback for multi-core CPUs like they did when moving the audio/video stack as standalone processes (user-mode drivers). If you have a multiple core CPU the video/audio drivers and video decoding overhead will be offloaded to the CPU with most free resources.

This is also done only with WMP, if you use other players they use they use the directshow filters directly as before.

Mythox said,

The MFPMP.exe wastes CPU because it's there where the media decoding is done when you use mediaplayer: they moved the decoding section to a standalone process to optimize the playback for multi-core CPUs like they did when moving the audio/video stack as standalone processes (user-mode drivers). If you have a multiple core CPU the video/audio drivers and video decoding overhead will be offloaded to the CPU with most free resources.

This is also done only with WMP, if you use other players they use they use the directshow filters directly as before.

My co-worker was screaming "When I play MP3s under Vista, this process eats (either 15 or 30, don't remember) percent of my CPU!" He uses a Pentium-M 2.16GHz.

In comparison: Foobar2000 in Win2000 uses <1% of an Athlon X2 2.4GHz (a CPU in a roughly comparable performance class) to play a MP3.

Something's a bit amiss.

Hak Foo said,
My co-worker was screaming "When I play MP3s under Vista, this process eats (either 15 or 30, don't remember) percent of my CPU!" He uses a Pentium-M 2.16GHz.

In comparison: Foobar2000 in Win2000 uses <1% of an Athlon X2 2.4GHz (a CPU in a roughly comparable performance class) to play a MP3.

Something's a bit amiss.

This is not normal, are you sure that he didn't turn on things like WoW, volume normalization or the equalizer? They use plenty of CPU.

By the way Pentium-Ms have power saving, and they lower the CPU speed if the CPU usage is not high, so for example while you play a mp3 and you're doing anything else CPU-intensive your CPU is automatically downclocked and because of that the CPU usage percentage in the task manager could not be accurate. He should try with speedstep turned off.

Mythox said,

This is not normal, are you sure that he didn't turn on things like WoW, volume normalization or the equalizer? They use plenty of CPU.

By the way Pentium-Ms have power saving, and they lower the CPU speed if the CPU usage is not high, so for example while you play a mp3 and you're doing anything else CPU-intensive your CPU is automatically downclocked and because of that the CPU usage percentage in the task manager could not be accurate. He should try with speedstep turned off.

:shrug:

For comparison, the X2 had Cool & Quiet turned on, which pretty much drops the multiplier to 5.0x (from 12.0x) giving 1000MHz all the time unless I force it by running something intensive.

Exactly. That's exactly why I just took Vista off my machine and put XP back on. My computer far exceeds the minimums recommended for Vista (it had an experience rating of 3.5), but it felt dog slow. With XP back on it, it flies.

he's right, this only happens with windows media player (vista's official player)

the point is, it's still WASTING resources when i'm playing non-DRM stuff. as a comparison

Media Player (2-5% CPU) + mfpmp (1-3% CPU) playing the same mp3 as media player classic, MPC (1-2% CPU)

mind you these aren't accurate tests, just some quick sampling in task manager. should i jump with joy knowing even with optimizations of the playback across cores WMP still uses much more resources than MPC? i haven't seen a video stutter in MPC, i have in WMP 11 on this machine. i guess that's more proof of Vista's efficiency kicking in.

my experience index? 4.7

the point is, it's still WASTING resources when i'm playing non-DRM stuff. as a comparison

Sure, but then it's probably not about DRM, but a crappier player. MPC often seemed to use lower resources to me than WMP so that wasn't really news for me.

Jugalator said,

Sure, but then it's probably not about DRM, but a crappier player. MPC often seemed to use lower resources to me than WMP so that wasn't really news for me.

mfpmp is directly related to DRM so why is it being used on my non-DRM stuff? you're right MPC has always been smaller/faster than media player even in XP so it's old news. i just wanted to dispel this MS propaganda that DRM stuff doesn't affect honest people who have legitimate media content. all of this DRM, licensing crap built into Vista is there because MS thinks we're all pirates instead of honest users period.

noespam said,

mfpmp is directly related to DRM so why is it being used on my non-DRM stuff? you're right MPC has always been smaller/faster than media player even in XP so it's old news. i just wanted to dispel this MS propaganda that DRM stuff doesn't affect honest people who have legitimate media content. all of this DRM, licensing crap built into Vista is there because MS thinks we're all pirates instead of honest users period.

mfpmp is doing the actual video decoding. Not wmplayer. Wmplayer is just sitting there, gobbling up resources by itself.

That really doesn't prove any points at all about DRM. DRM is present in wm10... Did anyone complain then? Microsoft has to support DRM since the consumers REQUIRE DRM in order to play-back content they buy in the market place. If Microsoft didn't support DRM, everyone would complain that they're not supporting it and they can't watch their content. It goes around both ways, sure Microsoft makes money off of it's DRM protection but the movie studios and music studios WANT it. If Microsoft didn't have it's own DRM solution, we'd probably be using some botched up one that would have to be licensed to be used in any media player. Be glad Microsoft isn't limiting Windows by not supporting what's out there in the community marketplace.

Bottom line: DRM is only used on DRM content, it doesn't affect your playback on regular files. That's just poor coding and/or bloat. Windows Media Classic is just that, slimmed down! It was basic and didn't have any extra features and bottom line was - it was optimized.

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