Thursday, May 5, 2011

WinDVD and ATI Firepro Multi-Monitor Support (or lack thereof)

Today I decided I'd like to watch a bit of film on my brand-spankin' new workstation.  I haven't even so much as popped a DVD in the drive yet.

I try it and Windows Media Player has no sound.  Probably doesn't understand AC3.  I could have tried to hack in the codec, but I'm rather partial to WinDVD anyway.

After buying (gasp!) and installing WinDVD Pro 2010, I fire it up.  Looks good!  Lots of nice logos.

Until I get about three seconds into my movie, only to see "Your display environment does not support protected content playback."  WTF!?!

So it turns out that the "new" players simply do not like multimonitor setups.  Apparently, without HDMI to "properly" protect the digital signal, it can't "guarantee" that my triple monitor setup isn't some kind of surrogate for a devious copy-protection bypass mechanism.

So I've gone and sprung for a beautiful triple monitor setup, with requisite massive (and expensive) triple monitor stand, and a high-horsepower professional-grade ATI FirePro V8800 capable of leaping tall SolidWorks buildings in a single bound, SSD, the works - and the g*dd*mn thing can't play simple DVDs?!?!

ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Who in God's name decided that this was going to be the case, and WHEN???

It's not like there is even any option here.  The FirePro ONLY comes with 4 DisplayPort outputs on it - that's it, that's all.  No direct HDMI connection is possible!  In fact, there are few options besides the DP-to-VGA and DP-to-DVI converters I already have in place!

And honestly - who the hell is going to try to rip the movie directly from the video stream anyway?  With all the copy-protection-bypass software out there - easily capable of breaking the codes on 99% of commercial DVD and Blu-Ray movies, why bother?

(Oddly enough, this seems like it's supposed to be a BD-only problem.  But it does affect WinDVD Pro 2010 playing good ol' regular DVDs.  If it was only Blu, I wouldn't care - I have no BD discs or players, as I still view them as a solution looking for a problem.)

So thank you very much, whoever was on the Sony committee that decided that the latest in PC technology was going to be crippled so I can't play any of my own legally purchased DVDs on my own legal PC running legal software.  I hope you all rot in a special circle of hell, screw you very much, and thanks for ruining my evening.

Ironically enough, I am now going to have to crack my own DVDs just to be able to watch them.  Which I can easily do without touching the video output stream.  Thanks for forcing me to do what you didn't want me to do in the first place.

If this wasn't proof positive that DRM has gone way too far, I don't know what is.

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