Vista DRM Bites CD Audiophiles

It would appear that Vista’s DRM protection is for more than just “premium content” – even DRM protected “CD’s” apparently won’t play through S/PDIF (optical) outputs whereas they work just fine under Linux.

My test system’s high-end audio outputs are S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format) compliant. S/PDIF is probably the most common high-end audio port around for PCs today. It also has no built-in DRM (digital rights management) capability, and that turned out to be an important matter. […] When I switched back to Vista, I tried to play Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot CD. Whoops! Not a single sound emerged from my speakers. After a little investigation, I found that Vista disables media outputs that don’t incorporate DRM, when you try to play DRM protected media through them.

Quite sad really given that Vista couldn’t handle his on board RealTek ALC 882 audio chipset either!

That was a kick in the head. I have a fully legal CD in my hand. Any other version of Windows will play it, Linux will play it, Mac OS will play it, and my CD player will play it, but if you’re using S/PDIF for your computer-driven audio and Vista, you’re out of luck. If you have a card with a Toslink optical digital audio port, you will be able to play it.

Vista’s DRM really is Defective by Design.

5 thoughts on “Vista DRM Bites CD Audiophiles

  1. I think you probably misread the article. Vista doesn’t disable S/PDIF for non-DRM’d content.
    Rather, if the content requires it, it will restrict the quality. It also says “As a practical matter, these audio restrictions are not widely used today.”

  2. Hi Fred,

    I don’t think I misread the article, what I didn’t spot when writing my original article on the Microsoft documents was the paragraph that said:

    The term “premium content” is used in this paper to refer to valuable content that needs to be protected from stealing. Each content type has its own particular policy that defines what the user can and cannot do with it. The term “high-level premium content” is used to refer to the most valuable content types, such as High Definition (HD) DVD and Blu-Ray DVD.

    I had thought that their document was talking about “premium content” in general being “high definition” video and audio, but apparently I was wrong.

    So what I wasn’t expecting them to do was to disable S/PDIF for DRM’d music “CD”‘s..

  3. Microsoft wants to controll the hard ware market for drm but this would mean the open source market would suffer from lack of supported hardware as the user would be in controll

    odd if this happens my current pc’s could become countermand cause i could by pass drm or write programs to do so but all i do is play wow {world of war craft} browse the web and blog on it but it has no drm hardware or software at the very least i could record of the radio or an ipod head though a head phone jack and lets even to my Linux computers yep all due the dcma this would the first time in the history ware computer performance has gone down i mean my so so computer running xp will be faster than top of the line computer running vista

    this the great American company microshaft at work they shaft their customers a little bit more each day and the are still in business they must be in the market of shafting so want’s to shaft you today

    we MUST act QUICKLY or microsoft will get rid of all competition by forceing hardware makers to use all of thare resouces to maintain a relationship with microsoft or just go by the wayside it simple if intel and amd do not make other cpu standerds for linux cause they won’t sell enough of em or thare hapens to be no any one peice of hardware missing from open source hand like harddrives or chip sets then every vendor that did so would of done so nothing so NO COMPANY WILL TAKE THE RISK UNLESS WE SHOW THEM WE WILL BUY IT SO START BUYING IT LINUX MAC BUT NOT VISTA VISTA IS A RISK WE CAN’ TAKE

  4. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Vista is designed for the future, 3-5 years down the track, when Big Content have their DRM all ironed out and in place. M$ is so keen on supporting this because, since they already have 85% planetwide monopoly of desktops, they will be in the drivers seat as the sole conduit for all this DRMed content that won’t play on anything else but really expensive hardware.

    They are going to make just obscene amounts of money. That’s what it’s all about. And control. M$ is now standing over all the hardware makers, threatening to deny driver certification if they don’t come to the DRM party. They are even telling Intel what to do now.

    They know that most people hate Vista and have no intention of buying it, rather keeping XP, or even downgrading a new Vista-supplied PC. Well, guess what? They mean to put a stop to that! Try this: Go to Hewlett-Packard website and try to find XP drivers for any recently-made HP or Compaq laptop. Go ahead, do it right now. Try to find XP drivers for anything. They are all gone. Why do you suppose that is? Easy; M$ told them to do it.

    We have to fight this. Spread the word around. Say “no” to Vista. If we wait a couple of years it will be too late. They will have won and there won’t be any way to undo it.

  5. if this their new new tactic then we font buy a pc from hp and let them know that was bad idea and if necessary build are own from parts for a lower price and better performance this way most games can be played under wine/Linux with a little know how
    this what it might come down to but to let microshaft have there way would mean that we might not be able have are say on this site they could control all that you see and hear on a computer or even invalidate your copy of vista and hardware to force you to get a new computer just because their sales dropped microshaft is trying to take consumers rights away because we wont buy their product this is wrong if we don’t like a product we have the right to seek an alternative but microshaft wants us to have know choice so they can get paid to make a product likes and force every one to buy it at inflated prices

    this service call i do not want to here about
    consumer- the firewall is 12 feet thick and hackers are still getting in

    building department at microshaft – did you try upgrading your router sorry this the wrong department have a nice day feel free use microshaft products every ware you go

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