Wednesday, March 08, 2006

DRM the End of DIY...

The title link goes to a store at Wired News discussing the death of a do-it-yourself computer project that may no longer be. Personal video recorders (PVR's) hit the main stream with the release of TiVo a few years ago. Now, with cable and satellite providers rushing to secure a new market, many home computer builders and hobbyists are beginning to build their own set-top PVR's for the thrill, challenge, or in defiance of major media. Regardless of their motivations, it appears that the empire of digital rights management will put this hobby to its death. With the advent of new encryption technology and a renewed sense of purpose, many media corporations create software hurdles that would render these otherwise innocuous home built computers useless. This brings me back to my theory that the media industry is missing out on an emerging trend in mass media consumption. People want all kinds media in a nice and neat little package. Most people are not tech savvy enough, or willing to waste the time to learn, to build their own home media systems. This should, theoretically, allow companies to expand concepts like TiVo into a new market of conglomerated home theater experience. Many computer manufacturers already produce home theater personal computers, ideally to tag this new niche market. Why would the big media types want to put such a limit on their media that would effectively obliterate such a profitable new business? I could understand wanting to prevent distribution of media, and making sure you get your buck, but there are better ways of accomplishing this task without destroying an emerging computer market. What's worse, it only seems like its the few media giants like the MPAA and RIAA that want to prevent this sort of thing. Sounds stupid, doesn't it?

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