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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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.