No copy-protection on Sony’s PS3 DVR, PlayTV
First, to everyone’s surprise, Sony introduces DivX support to the PlayStation 3, and now we learn that PlayTV, the company’s yet-to-be-released digital TV tuner and recorder, won’t be employing copy-protection. As a result, television programs can be transfered off of the PS3 onto any device that supports MPEG2, including a PC where they could be re-encoded and shared on the Internet.
Leaving television recordings DRM-fee isn’t a standout feature of PlayTV, since most PC-based DVR software does the same. But, in Sony’s case, this is from a company that owns a major Hollywood studio – Sony Pictures – and introduced the now defunct but copy-protected format ATRAC, along with the notorious root kit which installed itself onto consumers’ PCs unwittingly. And, as a good friend of mine likes to point out, Sony Pictures DVD releases tend to be the hardest to rip to an iPod as they commonly feature additional encryption and “bad” sectors.
However, the more I think about it, the recent update to the PS3 that added DivX support, while welcomed, is a much bigger deal and marks a real sea change for Sony. DivX is the most common format used for DVD rips that are shared illegally on BitTorrent networks and other filesharing systems, and while many device makers add DivX support in order to sell more units (imagine a digital audio player that didn’t playback MP3s), they don’t normally own a major Hollywood studio. And before readers point out that there exists plenty of legitimate DivX content (although less as of this week), true as that maybe, just feast your eyes on any of the main torrent trackers and you’ll get the point.