Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Both Toshiba and Sony, as well as other companies that back them, have a significant amount to lose is their respective formats don't come out on top in this. That's because there are billions of dollars to be made off of royalties and licensing fees paid to the owner of whichever format comes to dominate the market.
There have been plenty of roadblocks to the dominance of both formats. For example, there's the threat of a special disc manufacturing technique that could encode both formats on the same disc. If widely used, this technology could make moot the question of which player people own. Then there's the threat of devices that can play either format which, if such technology became common, would have the same effect.
Most recently, hackers claimed to have breeched the anti-copying measures of both formats. First, hackers claimed to have cracked HD-DVD's security measures, and not Blu-ray's security codes have supposedly been hacked as well. The hackers claim that this means that they can copy software and movies published in both formats at will and then distribute pirated copies over the Internet. This development has come as something of a shock to both Sony and Toshiba because it was largely assumed that the security measures of both formats were impenetrable. It also means that movie studios are going to be less interested in using either format to distribute their movies if it means that they'll essentially be handing those movies over to hackers that will offer competition by selling the pirated copies.
Blu-ray and HD-DVD, for their parts, say that even if one or two movie titles were hacked, that doesn't mean that all of the discs in either format can be hacked as well. Apparently, while there are similarities to how each title is encrypted, they all have different encryption codes. While that may be true, it can easily argued that if the code on one HD-DVD disc or one Blu-ray disc can be cracked, the codes for all of the others can be cracked as well. In fact, one hacker stated that he, along with an assistant, was able to crack the code on a Blu-ray disc in less than twenty four hours. Even if that has to be done for every title that a hacker want to distribute, that's still not a bad investment of time in order to be able to sell thousands of copies of each title that's hacked.