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Microsoft Corp. previewed a technology, a new version of Windows Media code-named Corona, that can encode high-definition video at 24 frames per second, at a compression ratio superior to MPEG-2. It will enable high-quality movie streaming over the Web and will put a HD video on a DVD, it gives disk and player makers an alternative to costly blue-laser technology in HD-DVD machines. Hollywood studios want a new way to encode content and achieve more-robust copy protection for upcoming high-definition (HD) DVD systems. Corona can use MPEG-2 encoding to cram 9 Gbytes of high-definition content onto a two-layer DVD without using blue-laser technology.


Microsoft Making Splash At ... Sundance? By Tony Kontzer

http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20010117S0006

When Robert Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival 20 years ago, he certainly didn't plan for it to be a showcase for the likes of Microsoft. But guess who's crashing Sundance this week? Viewing the legendary festival as a logical place to show off its Windows Media player, Microsoft -- along with a bevy of its partners -- hopes that by screening several films directly from digital files, it will build excitement around version 8 of the media player.

Microsoft lobs proprietary codec into MPEG-centric DVD market
December 18, 2001 12:00am
http://www.eetimes.com
By Junko Yoshida and Rick Merritt
ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES -- 12-17-01, p. PG1
Copyright ©2001 CMP Media Inc.
http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20010122S0017

SUMMARY ...
Microsoft Corp. previewed a technology, a new version of Windows Media code-named Corona, that can encode high-definition video at 24 frames per second, at a compression ratio superior to MPEG-2. It will enable high-quality movie streaming over the Web and will put a HD video on a DVD, it gives disk and player makers an alternative to costly blue-laser technology in HD-DVD machines.Hollywood studios want a new way to encode content and achieve more-robust copy protection for upcoming high-definition (HD) DVD systems. Corona can use MPEG-2 encoding to cram 9 Gbytes of high-definition content onto a two-layer DVD without using blue-laser technology. Corona's Windows Media Professional codec can play a 24-bit, 5.1-channel surround-sound file over an Internet Protocol connection at a 96-kHz sampling rate. A new Fast Stream feature eliminates the buffering of streaming audio and video files on a broadband connection, giving users what Microsoft called an "instant-on" experience and enabling them to channel surf between Web streams. Using Corona studios can put all the Godfather movies or a musician's entire discography on a single CD. The disks will probably cost more. Corona offers efficient coding; security, in the form of digital rights management; and reach: 350 million Windows Media Player users.

Obstacles
Copy protection - Hollywood studios reluctant to target first-run content for delivery to PCs. Acknowledging that there is no such thing as a fool-proof encryption scheme, security experts said the industry needs technologies that not only prevent copyrighted material from theft, but also detect burglars and respond to alarms.

Licensing issues - Widespread assumption that Microsoft will be doling out Corona free of charge, some technology executives at studios suspected that 80 percent of Microsoft's underlying Windows Media video codec may be based on MPEG-4 technologies. Although Microsoft is one of the 19 essential patent holders for MPEG-4 video codec, an executive said, "Windows Media could well be violating MPEG-4 patents."

Ian Calderon, one of the founders of the Sundance Institute and the festival's director of digital initiatives, says the digital center is just one piece of a technological triad of displays, discussions, and online content promoting digital film technologies.

A CALL TO END COPYRIGHT CONFUSION
Issue: Copyright
[SOURCE: Wired, AUTHOR: Declan McCullagh and Ben Polen]
http://www.wired.com/News/politics/0,1283,49201,00.html
Jack Valenti predicts that Congress will require copy-protection controls in nearly all consumer electronic devices and PCs. The President of the Motion Picture Association of America warned technology firms to move quickly to choose standards for wrapping digital content in uncopyable layers of encryption or the federal government will do it for them. Valenti's remarks came during a one-day workshop titled "Understanding Broadband Demand: Digital Content and Rights Management," organized by the U.S. Commerce Department. Congress is currently considering legislation to embed digital rights management in any "interactive digital device," from personal computers to wristwatches. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) has circulated drafts of his bill, the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA), which is on hold until Congress is done with spending measures and work related to Sept. 11. Academics and free-speech groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation are very critical of the SSSCA.

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