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back to article Netflix plotting move to HTML5 video - but only if DRM works

Streaming video leader Netflix says it's eager to move away from using Microsoft's moribund Silverlight technology to support its service on desktop PCs, but it will be a while yet before today's HTML5 browsers support the features it needs to make that happen. In a blog post on Monday, reps for Netflix – which by some estimates …

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DRM cant work

unless you own my computer lock stock and barrel.

And stop me watching and listening to it too. Because if you don’t I can record it, and if I can those nasty pirates will be able to too.

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Re: DRM cant work

Heck just run something like, EZVid and suddenly you have magically pirated the film / TV show you wanted to watch.

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@Tom7

Believe it or not; there are some people who actually truly believe that if you use a browser plugin or video player such as VLC to record a video stream then it's illegal. On a not-to-be-mentioned official support forum I once saw a post get removed because I hinted at this possibility (but in all honesty; the whole subject was also bordering offtopic-ness).

The point being though; if some people have apparently already degenerated to this level "It's illegal to..." then I can easily see this work. Behind a nice smoke screen of course.

For the record; we're talking about a video link which anyone can access, without the need to register, to agree to something or anything of the sort. You click the link and watch the video. Problem being is that $company behind said video's sells the right to store them offline.

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Re: @Tom7

plus it isnt like a lot of kids arent used to using programs such as FRAPS to record in games.

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Re: DRM cant work

Netflix IMHO have got it right. I don't bother trying to circumnavigate the DRM because I don't need to. The monthly price is low and I can watch on pretty much any device in the home. I don't feel I'm 'buying' content, so don't feel aggrieved that it's DRM-enabled.

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@Tom 7

Tom you are very narrow minded if you think DRM "can't work" if some people can get around it. The aim is not to make it impossible for you to rip it - as you say this is not feasible - but to make it hard enough that 90% of people don't know how to do it, or are put off doing it by the need to install and configure a bunch of extra software.

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Re: DRM Doesn't work

As has been demonstrated by big content providers time and time again.

I'm still sore about the BBC's DRM on their iplayer content. No time shifted viewing of the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures for me! :(

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Re: @Tom 7

> make it hard enough that 90% of people don't know how to do it, or are put off doing it by the need to install and configure a bunch of extra software.

But that is precisely why it's pointless. Most people who want to record it just want to be able to watch it again later, or on a mobile device, they aren't pirates. They've paid for their download and they aren't going to cost Netflix anything if they keep a copy.

Meanwhile the real pirates, the ones who intend to duplicate it onto DVDs and tapes to sell for a couple of $$ on a market stall, will always find a way around the DRM. Even if 99% of people find it too hard, the pirates are in the 1% who will put the effort and money into doing it. DRM that isn't 100% unbreakable is of zero use, and no DRM is 100% unbreakable.

It would be more useful to watermark it and tie that watermark to the subscriber. That way they would be able to find (and ban/prosecute) anyone who was distributing copies.

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Re: Tom Melly

Any relation to Roger Melly?

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Re: @Tom 7

And even that isn't guaranteed, given the propensity of shill accounts and the continual development of stego/watermark manglers.

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Re: DRM Doesn't work

What DRM ? get_iplayer works fine. On a Raspberry Pi I might add.

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Re: DRM cant work

It can make something more trouble then it's worth.

Take the "digital copy" bits of paper that you find inside the case of some DVD/Blu Ray releases. I drop them in the trash along with the shrink wrap. The Ultraviolet thing? Please tell me they are just having a laugh...

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Re: @Tom 7

Or then you do as Steve Jobs did, make it easy to be leagal. And you find most to go the legal road.

It started with iTunes and DRM, but Apple with Steve Jobs got those requirements removed. Just as they wanted from the beginning. Instead of that record labels got to have variable pricing and not only the 99c for each song option.

This happened when Apple wanted to up the quality of their offerings from 128 to 256kbps enkoding. New contract.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM Doesn't work

"I'm still sore about the BBC's DRM on their iplayer content. No time shifted viewing of the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures for me! :("

If you're not talking about live streams, but recorded iPlayer content, it's trivial to snarf it down locally as reasonably friendly h.264, with a little initiative.

(anon. for Reasons[tm])

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Re: DRM can´t work,

They don´t need DRM to work perfectly. It is fine if it is hard for 95% of people to copy movies. The geeks will always find a way around anything - just for the hell of it if for no other reason. The rest of the world will find it hard and confusing. The industry will continue to fight against file sharing but never expect anything more than temporary advantages.

Most people I know have computers, smart phones, tablets, Kindles etc but they really don´t have a clue how to use them properly. I know of two sisters aged 12 and 14 who regularly buy the same music from iTunes. My sister and her husband sometimes buy the same Kindle books from Amazon. They would have no idea how to use emule or piratebay even if the thought occurred to them.

The people that I know who do file share have massive collections of movies, music etc - far more than they can ever use and a hundred times more that they would have bought if they could not copy. This is mostly how the industry claims the billions of lost revenue.

So relax, Netflix know what they are doing and how their business model works. That is more than I can say for Hollywood and the music industry.

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Re: DRM can´t work,

Lets look at this example... "I know of two sisters aged 12 and 14 who regularly buy the same music from iTunes."

There is NO DRM on iTunes music. Yet they still bought it anyway. Just copying the file was too much trouble.

The real question is if they removed DRM how many people who buy now would start making copies. How many who copy now to avoid DRM would buy a DRM free file.

I have not seen anything to indicate that removing DRM and offering people an easy way to buy would result in a loss. Looking at the removal or DRM on music downloads I don't see where it crashed the system.

The only place DRM is reasonable is for rental files (it still will not stop people making copies).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM cant work

Unless you have a camera watching you to ensure you aren't recording it....

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220120278904%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20120278904&RS=DN/20120278904

(This is Kinect by the way, for anyone confused by patent-speak). Kinect can monitor if you are entitled to watch a movie...

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the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

That would be nice. No more VPN needed to get a decent range of content.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

Sadly it won't work like that (for the foreseeable future) because of the way "big content" sees the markets and how to maximise profits by trying to control where and when you can fart.

It is the same as the whole DRM issue: it pisses off paying customers while those pirating the material have no restrictions on how they can enjoy it. Really, every attempt to lock stuff down have failed over and over again, pirates still get the material and share it. So stop buggering willing customers around with all sorts of requirements on "security" when the alternative is DRM-free "free" content.

Really, they need to get a grip on this and look at what the customer wants: pay a modest fee and play it on any platform that has a web browser, worldwide.

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

To be fair to Netflix, they're trying- when they made House of Cards, it was released everywhere at the same time. I suspect that the need for DRM comes more from whoever has the right to license the content in a particular territory, not on Netflix's need to compete with a genie that's already out of the bottle. Streaming providers have probably got to go to at least a token bit of effort to demonstrate to the licensor that their website does more than seed the perfect torrent.

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

As Rikkeh saya, Netflix aren't able to dictate which countries see which content. They are beholden to the content owners who demand it is licensed separately in different regions.

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

Because the content owners are stuck in 1960.

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

So why not just get an overreaching global license directly from the content creators, going over the heads of the individual regional licensees, unless you're saying each licensee's contract includes an exclusivity clause?

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

Netflix (unlike hulu) is independent which bodes well for the future. They are trying to do a walmart, get big by playing the game, then when they are big enough start to dictate terms. Walmart can dictate terms for cd's because if your cd isn't on walmarts shelves you aren't going to do as well. Hopefully netflix is working through the politics, theres no huge technical reason they can't server all content globally, with or without drm and allow local cacheing. The reason is clearly in dealing with the rights holders. Once netflix is global and is as entrenched as say amazon or walmart, then they can start to push for more control.

I would love to see cacheing, drm I can live with but I understand and support those that want it gone. Now if they can buy hulu, get rid of the damn ads and get all channels onboard it would be awesome, pork would probably also be circling an azure moon but a boy can dream.

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Re: the one thing that we are doing right now, which is to go global.

If you get it easier, faster and with higher quality the legal way, few would bother with pirated material at all. Even if it comes with DRM.

They key is in how easy do I get it, pay a few cents and get top quality with no hassle or waiting. Then people will pay.

But if they get it easier and with better quality with very little waiting from a bay of pirated material, they go that road.

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WTF?

Tom Tom?

Why is everyone on this thread called Tom?

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So why not just get an overreaching global license directly from the content creators

I'm sure that's want they want, and are trying to do -but the content creators won't play ball. Some content comes to the UK at the same (or very close to) time as in the US, others is years behind.

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Re: Tom Tom?

It's worse than you imagine. Some of us might be secretly called Tom, too.

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Re: Tom Tom?

because we are still waiting for other names to be released in our region!

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Re: Tom Tom?

No that's a GPS receiver.

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Re: Tom Tom?

I'm Tom and so's my wife

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We want to BUT....

Really what they just said is we want to offer you non Silverlight content.....but we aren’t going to just now. Until they offer something that I can use on my Linux machine. They wont get any business from me. 2021 is a while away. They have plenty time to sit on their backsides before they do anything with HTML5..

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Re: We want to BUT....

I've been involved with developing set top boxes and software and hardware is obliged to implement DRM by the content producers. Put simply, no DRM, no content. So we had to licence the DRM, and on top of that our set top box had to meet certain security requirements such as denying users root access, closing ssh and other ports, implementing port knocking, implementing read only partitions in firmware, multi stage boots, signed bootloaders, using hardware based paths for DVB-CSA functionality and so on. It's a lot of work.

So unless Linux gets a proper layer of DRM, you I doubt will ever see Netflix or any similar service.

I expect it would require browsers to open up the video tag to 3rd party plugins (which arguably should have happened a long time ago) and for you to install a plugin to handle the content. I expect the plugin would be closed source and produced either by Netflix themselves or one of their partners.

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Re: We want to BUT....

"So unless Linux gets a proper layer of DRM, you I doubt will ever see Netflix or any similar service"

I think you mean one you have to pay for. There's always the post DVD option.

BTW there's no native BB7, BB10 or playbook app for netflix or lovefilm. First one that does is getting a subscription (I know good ereader have ported the android app to the Z10 and the Q10 but I don't have one of those)..

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Re: We want to BUT....

Is it not possible for Chrome and FF to build DRM capabilities into their Linux browsers? Or does something about DRM make it incompatible with GPL/GNU/etc?

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Re: We want to BUT....

I think the short answer is "makes it incompatible". To comply with the GPLv3, the decrypt keys would need to be provided with the source...unless there was some way to securely download them...but then that mechanism would need to be public, so.... Once the keys are known...all bets are off.

However, to be provided in a GNU/Linux distro the plugin/whatever does not have to be GPL compliant. It can just be a binary blob. Nothing to stop someone like Canonical writing said blob and supplying it; "Ubuntu, now with Netflix!" Of course, each distro would need to write their own blob(s) or Netflix would need to provide it (and it sounds like they want to get out of that).

Note: I am not a GPL or crypto expert - if someone else has more knowledge (and can cite sources), please do so.

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Re: We want to BUT....

Last I looked Lovefilm didn't stream to Android - only the Kindle Fire variants. Has that changed? Netflix is fine on Android.

I find it irritating that my main use of mobile video content capability is on a plane and so far that's down to Google's off line rental service or shall we say exactly what they wanted to avoid.

Use both on the PS3 - okay but none have quite cracked the UI (so far netflix is better but lovefilm seems easier for deeper search/browse) and Lovefilm seems to need more bandwidth and/or stutters a lot on the server side.

I suspect Linux support not for PC but for low cost media boxes will be a driver as I'm not convinced everyone will get 'smart' TVs and apple TV and full function blu ray and games consoles. The low subscription cost needs to be alongside mass market and that's more easily achieved by supporting low cost hardware.

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Re: We want to BUT....

Your Modesty does All Proud, The BigYin. Such is Highly Qualified Expertise.

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Re: We want to BUT....

Adding a non-free program blob is considered tainting the disto, so you can't install it unless a conscious direct choice is made to install it (like the checkbox you make for the non-free codecs or the configuration option to install non-free video drivers).

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Re: We want to BUT....

Isn't it enough if the browser has that DRM layer?

True you'll find away to record it, but so what.

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Re: We want to BUT....

Its not a linux problem - its a hardware problem. Your hardware will have to have DRM for it to 'work'.

I've seem DRM stuff in Windows7 being copied from a VM - or at least that's I think what I was told was going on - I had no means of checking and I doubt the OS had either without UEFI.

So it wont really work on probably 95% of internet enabled devices by 2019.

The content producers are going to have to find their own way of keeping their content secure rather than blocking up the internet highway with their ideas.

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Re: We want to BUT....

@Charles 9 - Cobblers. Ubuntu (to pick just one of the many non-free distros) contains blobs OOTB.

The "non-free" codecs thing is down to how they are licensed. Not their freedom (or lack thereof). It can depend on the nature of the distro and where they are based. Mint, for example, installs them by default.

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AIRPort Taxi to TelePort Centraal Station and Virtual Space Hubs?

"But we've got to get through this phase so that we can get to that." ... Netflix

The HyperRadioProActive Posit is that the phase is past history and current presents await new streaming steamy content showing success at work, rest and play in Space Places and Live Operational Virtual Environments :-)

Your Move, Netflix .... and if there be questions, are the answers always Yes to speed along QuITe Quiet Technology .... SMARTR ProgramMING AIMissionary Drive with SPecial ADvisors doing their Virtual Thing in Present Realities which be Subverted TeleVisual Treats corrupted to deliver Nightmares and Mayhem rather than Heavenly Order in Hellish Conditions.

Although Max Keiser, Netflix, is strong in that Highly Qualified Expert Field and therefore if not partner then competitor in novel content supply for Earthly Realisation ....aka Future Creation?

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FAIL

DRM mince

If Netflix truly is as big as it says it is now - the time has come for it to stand up to the content providers like Apple did - and insist on no DRM from now on.

Streaming is all well and good but unless content can be watched offline (and on what I want to, when I want to, for as long as I want to) it's FA use to me, and probably many others:

1. even when at home on broadband there may be other things I or my family want to do with the bandwidth at that point - I don't want it clogged up with a streaming movie.

2. the bandwidth might be crap at the time I want to watch - we are going to get into a sort of electricity model of massive bandwidth being required 6pm-10pm through the county if we don't kill streaming models now.

3. A lot of the time I'm not at home. I'm on a train, on holiday, in a hotel - places where I can't stream.

It's like the apple podcast app - "you don't need to worry your little head whether its on your phone or in the cloud" - yes I fucking do - because unlike you, Mr Apple engineer, I have holidays abroad (thats outside the USA for americans wanting a definition) where roaming costs a fortune... and you know on trains, in the country, etc where starbucks wifi is not available....

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Re: DRM mince

Did you not read the article? Netflix simply do not want to sell downloadable content. You might not like streaming-only services so you can go to another provider, but Netflix's success is proving you are in something of a minority and either the cost/profit predictions of offering this are not worth it, or they feel it would dilute their brand. It's their choice and you are perfectly free to go elsewhere.

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Re: DRM mince

I don't think that's the case. The "we only do streaming" is probably an easier sell to the backwards content owners.

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Re: DRM mince

Spotify have no problem with being a streaming service that allow you to pre-cache the stream.

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Re: DRM mince

> I don't think that's the case. The "we only do streaming" is probably an easier sell to the backwards content owners.

You might be right, but with mobile devices increasingly being always connected, the downloaders will be more and more a very small minority. From a business perspective, the minority are not significant enough for Netflix to take a stand for.

Seriously though, the fact that Netflix is *so* cheap, it's a wonder why anyone is that bothered about downloading anyway if you are in a position to stream, which makes the DRM argument pretty moot.

Most of what I watch on the box is from Netflix these days. Apart from one or two things that the kids and my wife watch, it's hardly worthwhile having cable (in Canada where I am) since about 95% of it is utter shite and interrupted by ads every few minutes. Better to pay a little and get the ad-free stuff.

Like was mentioned above, Netflix will become as dominant as Amazon then they will be able to dictate terms to the studios. The big issues as pointed out in the article for Netflix is getting the latest content and getting the biggest spread of device coverage.

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Re: anti-piracy ads

I've never understood the rationale behind putting anti-piracy ads on legitimate content.

If someone has bought legitimate licensed content, then that is precisely the audience that doesn't need to be inconvenienced with two minutes of nonsense like "You wouldn't download a car would you?".

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