Things to check before switching to Vista Part 4

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 11, 2006
Updated • May 22, 2013
Windows, Windows Vista

Welcome to the fourth and final part of my "Things to check before switching to Vista" series. Today we are going to take a look at DRM. DRM which stands for Digital Rights Management controls access and usage of media files. In case you are wondering, Vista is not the first operating system to use DRM. Many portable media players and gaming systems use DRM as well to protect the media from being copied or transferred.

Vista uses two technologies to enforce digital rights management protections: Puma and PVP. Puma, which is an abbreviation of Protected User Mode Audio, and PVP, Protected Video Path, have the power to control playback of media files on your computer. If for instance the media file or the hardware in your computer does not meet the requirements playback will stop or not start at all.

This will be especially frustrating for users who want to view HD content on their computer but can't get it to work because their monitor does not support HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection). If you are lucky the content will play but in reduced resolution, if you are unlucky it won't play at all.

To sum it up. Vista is the first step of the (media) industry to take control over your computer to decide what you can and what you can't play. This is all software based at the moment but the capabilities to integrate hardware based solutions are there.

Hackers will most likely be able to defeat the protections once Vista comes out but this takes time. Your alternative ? Keep XP or make the move to Linux. Linux has the big advantage that the media companies do not have control over it, they can't apply pressure to force their opinions on the developers. That is one of the main reasons why I will make the switch.


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  1. AlreadyGone said on January 9, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Ig Ubuntu isn’t ready enough for you, go Mac adn OS X UNIX. I left Windows when OS X UNIX first came out–leaving only my game PC (besides my Debian server). Now even the game PC is gone. I have no regrets. I am looking forward to Leopard and upgrade my dual G5 to a quad core Xeon. Yum.

  2. adrift said on December 12, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    I love Ubuntu, but it’s still not a practical alternative for your casual computer user. heck, my parents struggle with some of the simplest features on windows, i can only imagine the look of bewilderment on their faces if they were forced to occasionally use a terminal (i’m thinking synaptic would even be too complicated for them). And I know they’d be annoyed to death to have to punch in a password every time they need to run a system app. Until a Linux version is created that’s as comfortable to use as Windows (generally is), looks like the majority of PC users will be stuck with it.

  3. OldNuc said on December 11, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    XP has serious problems and Microsoft support will decrease after the public release of Vista. Vista is unacceptable both on a performance and cost basis.

    Vista will drive many people into the arms of the Penguin, most likely Ubuntu. I will be making the switch as soon as the new hardware, recently ordered, arives.

  4. JenSTAR said on December 11, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    uBuntu the way of life….go for it..

  5. yogi said on December 11, 2006 at 11:53 am

    i’m with you – vista will force me into the hands of linux. probably ubuntu.

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