Windows 10 may force PlayReady 3.0 DRM on users for 4K streaming

windows 10 playready 3 0 drm 4k streaming windows10sales 1
Microsoft is reportedly working on a new iteration of its hardware digital rights management (DRM) technology for playing 4K content on Windows 10.

Thus far, the availability of 4K content is limited on PCs. Window’s proposed PlayReady 3.0 DRM could support 4K content but use much more restrictive digital rights management technology to curb illegitimate streams at the same time.

If true, Windows would be able to convince studios to use PlayReady 3.0 and as a result bring 4K streaming to desktops, according to Extreme Tech.

However, just how PlayReady 3.0 will work is unclear as a number of silicon vendors slated to be involved have not discussed if their next range of products will be compatible with PlayReady 3.0.

At the recent WinHEC conference China, Microsoft’s Nishanth Lingamneni discussed hardware DRM but the video of his talk cuts off before he goes into more detail. Although, slides that are now online claim relationships are ongoing with a couple of manufacturers: “Roadmap(s) already in place with AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia.”

Just how far along these relationships with AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, and Nvidia are is unknown at this time. AMD chips, for example, do support protected streaming but makes no mention of anything specific like PlayReady 3.0.

The big issue that may emerge is how certain Windows users could end up being locked out of streaming high-quality content. Users that don’t use this latest version of PlayReady could be stuck streaming video at 1080p or worse. There is also no information on what kind of effect PlayReady 3.0 could have on laptop battery life.

The promise of 4K compatibility could be used as a selling point for Windows 10 while also trying to combat piracy.

Previously, your computer may have used software-based digital right management solutions, which were used in the last two versions of Windows, but hardware-based DRMs, on the other hand, are more intuitive in blocking people ripping content for example.

During his WinHEC talk, Lingamneni made the case for 4K content and the protection that PlayReady 3.0 would provide.

“If a movie is playing in a movie theater right now, and you would like to have access to it on your Windows PC,” said Lingamneni, “they might make it available on some Windows PCs that have the higher bar for content protection.”

PlayReady 3.0 would make the promise of being this higher bar of protection.

Interest in online video in general is greater than ever and continues to rise, according to figures from Nielsen.

There is now an overwhelming demand for greater video quality, specifically 4K content. Netflix for example was one of the first major streaming services to commit to 4K. This puts even greater pressure on bandwidth and video coding but the technology is gradually becoming more efficient.

Windows 10’s PlayReady 3.0 DRM could very well usher in a new phase in which accessing and streaming 4K video is a great deal easier and more fluid, but could have unintended consequences at the same time.

Product Review

The MacBook Air plays the oldies we love, but the band is getting old

We’ve waited for a long time for an update to the MacBook Air, and Apple finally delivered one. With a lot of features ported over from the MacBook Pro, is this new laptop what Apple fans have always wanted?
Computing

AMD Navi: Everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts in the process.
Computing

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 
Computing

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.
Computing

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.