There has been some confusion online about Intel Insider. So here are the facts:Is it DRM? There have been stories describing Intel Insider as a ‘DRM’ technology. DRM means ‘Digital Rights Management’ and is used to control the use of digital media by controlling access, and preventing the ability to copy media such as movies. This means that if you pay only a rental fee, your service provider decides when and for how long you will be able to view your movie. Or if you buy a film it will let you keep and view it forever, but not copy it and share it with your friends, or burn it onto a DVD, mass produce it and sell it on the streets. Now there are opponents and proponents of DRM, and I am not going to get into a discussion about the pros and cons of DRM in this blog. Also, DRM means a lot of different things to different people. So what is Intel Insider? What it is: Intel Insider is a feature that enables consumers to enjoy premium Hollywood feature films streamed to their PC in high quality 1080P high definition. Currently this service does not exist because the movie studios are concerned about protecting their content, and making sure that it cannot be stolen or used illegally. So Intel created Intel insider, an extra layer of content protection. Think of it as an armoured truck carrying the movie from the Internet to your display, it keeps the data safe from pirates, but still lets you enjoy your legally acquired movie in the best possible quality. This technology is built into the new Intel chips and will become even more important once wireless display technology like Intel’s WiDi become more popular, as it would prevent pirates from stealing movies remotely just by snooping the airwaves. WiDi enables you to wirelessly beam video to your big screen TV easily and in HD. Intel has a lot of these kinds of technologies that keep data safe. For example our chips include AES-NI, a technology that speeds up encryption and decryption of data and improves performance when you access secure websites like your online banking system. This keeps your credit card numbers safe. Modern PC’s with components from chip makers such as Intel, AMD and Nvidia already support another feature called ‘HDCP’ or High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection – a system that keeps the contents of media such as Blu-Ray movies secure between the Blu-Ray player or PC and your big screen TV. Intel Insider does not restrict anything you do today (or will do tomorrow) on your PC, it doesn’t touch your content, it doesn’t interfere with playback, no matter what the source, with the single exception of Intel Insider supported services. All it does it add access to these new services. This New York Times story discusses what Intel Insider and similar technologies can bring to the sofa dweller. But why stop at just movies, could this technology bring a myriad of services to the PC? UPDATE Wow, strong feelings in the comments. I made some edits to the blog to help steer comments – looking forward to the opinions – and I wanted to add a couple of points to clear up some confusion: There seem to be a some people commenting who disagree with the very premise of DRM and content protection on a philosophical level. Those those people I say that there is no way this technology is being forced upon you – if you don’t want to use the Insider feature, there is no need to, just avoid the services that use it. It does not affect your own personal content in any way. There are however consumer who will appreciate the ability to stream HD premium movies earlier than they would otherwise be able to, and at a better quality level. Those people have the choice to use Insider compatible services. I would also remind you that all the current chipmakers support HDCP, which is a content protection protocol used by Blu-Ray and is supported by Blu-Ray players, Intel, nVidia, AMD, and even the PS3. UPDATE 2 (so set some facts straight) The technology known as Intel Insider does one thing and one thing only. It protects movies delivered from service providers that are specifically using Intel Insider to protect their content. It has to be enabled on the service provider side. Consumers with Intel Insider enabled PCs will have access to content in higher resolution (1080P) and potentially earlier release. Intel Insider in no way affects any other new or existing media. It does not matter if you buy from iTunes, use home movies, or buy from a CD store, rip from vinyl, or from an 8-track, or bit-torrent. Intel Insider will not touch it. Intel Insider does not require any additional hardware such as dongles, cables, TV’s or receiver boxes. The only people that will be negatively affected are those who wish to pirate content from services that support Intel Insider. Intel Insider will not stop you from playing, manipulating or ripping optical media such as a DVD or Blu-ray disk (but those technologies have separate existing safeguards). Intel Insider does not affect P2P services.
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