Hoping For Managed Copy with the First HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Players? Don’t Count on It!


toshiba hd xa1In order for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray to make it to market this spring, compromises had to be made where AACS protection was concerned. Well, it appears that the compromise will screw over early adopters of either format, according to Melissa Perenson at PC World. The full AACS specification, which was expected to be finalized a long time before now (Dec 2004), was not 100% complete by the time Toshiba and other manufacturer’s were readying players. So, to get the next-gen formats on the market, an interim AACS spec was released that was missing a few details; most notably missing was Managed Copy, the agreement that allows for content moving around your home network, making a physical copy for backup purposes, or even transferring a copy to a portable media player.

So what’s the big deal, right? Certainly, the first-gen players will be firmware upgradeable to support Managed Copy when it’s finalized, right? Uh…

“A player that’s licensed under the interim agreement will not be able to do managed copy,” states Richard Doherty, spokesperson for the AACS Licensing Association.

Even further, Melissa at PC World laments:

Neither Toshiba’s $499 HD-A1 nor its $799 HD-XA1 are firmware upgradeable to support managed copy–in spite of the fact that these units have front-mounted USB ports for some undefined future expansion. Ditto for Pioneer’s $1800 Elite BDP-HD1 and Samsung’s $1000 BD-1000, due out in June and May, respectively.

For more details about managed copy, media compatibility and the first-run of players coming out, visit the article in the link given.

Bottom line: If you early adopt, forget about Managed Copy. It may not matter to you, but if it does, you can now consider yourself forewarned.





Filed in: Industry Buzz


  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    Managed Copies on standalone players isn’t that great whe you think about. Reported firmware issues excluded, none of the first generation players are going to ship with a hard drive in the first place. You’re not exactly going to be making a copy to a device that doesn’t have one. :) The best players that ship without hard drives could get is external storage (and IIRC, Toshiba’s HD DVD players nor Pioneer’s first gen BD Players have USB/1394 for external storage. I’m notsure about the others). Edit: Toshiba’s has USB on the front, perfect reason why I couldn’t see USB on the back of the unit. :o

    Managed Copies come alive when you think about using a PC or a Kaleidescape-type device.

  • David Walker

    ChrisL01 said: Managed Copies on standalone players isn’t that great whe you think about. Reported firmware issues excluded, none of the first generation players are going to ship with a hard drive in the first place. You’re not exactly going to be making a copy to a device that doesn’t have one. :) The best players that ship without hard drives could get is external storage (and IIRC, Toshiba’s HD DVD players nor Pioneer’s first gen BD Players have USB/1394 for external storage. I’m notsure about the others).

    Managed Copies come alive when you think about using a PC or a Kaleidescape-type device.

    Valid point. However, with Ethernet and USB ports included on the Toshiba players, it wouldn’t have been “technically” impossible to allow the device to connect to a local PC to create a Managed Copy.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    The managed copy issue is going to be a headache for sometime and I’ve yet to see a scheme for how exactly it would work accross platforms/devices. I suspect that managed copy will take quite some time before there is compatible hardware/firmware/software to enable any decent portability of content. Even the iPod doesn’t have a good way to authorize itunes bought content on anything other than a device running itunes; and even that’s a nightmare, and there is are plenty of hacks/work-arounds for anyone with time and motivation. The AACS schemes are going to be terrible and stifle the market for years to come. Thank god for upscaling DVD players and DeCSS.

  • http://www.msmvps.com/chrisl/ ChrisL01

    David Walker said: Valid point. However, with Ethernet and USB ports included on the Toshiba players, it wouldn’t have been “technically” impossible to allow the device to connect to a local PC to create a Managed Copy.

    True, however I think we will see a lack of standalone players support copying content onto the device for a while. There will be players released with the ability, but they will not be large sellers.