The Inquirer-Home

Intel's Sandy Bridge sucks up to Hollywood with DRM

Locked-down PCs to watch flicks
Mon Jan 03 2011, 11:01

CHIPMAKER Intel has cut a deal with Hollywood in its Sandy Bridge chips to put digital restrictions management (DRM) in them.

Intel's sellout to the big media companies makes it 'safer' for Hollywood studios to offer premium movies to consumers on locked-down personal computers. No doubt the media content cartels and Intel are dreaming monopolistic visions of extracting big rents to stream everything online.

According to Reuters, Time Warner's digital distribution unit and other studios plan to offer high-definition movies to consumers who have PCs with Intel Sandy Bridge chips inside, simultaneous with releasing them on DVD.

Apparently the media cartels are dead keen to get their content on PCs that are locked-down even to the level of the chip.

Mooly Eden, Intel's VP and general manager of the PC client group said that Intel's embedded DRM allows content to be streamed to computers with Sandy Bridge chips and that Chipzilla is making deals with all the studios and content distributors to make it available.

So while punters will get saddled with DRM on their computers, Intel thinks that it can suck them in and buy them off with improved multimedia processing.

Intel's Sandy Bridge chip designs combine central processing and graphics functions on the same piece of silicon, making them faster, more energy efficient, and likely more profitable.

But Chipzilla is taking a big gamble. As with Intel's earlier, aborted scheme to put a serial number in every CPU chip, it is possible that consumers will refuse to buy the chips because of the DRM lock-down.

It is questionable whether Hollywood making available paid-for content through its toll-booth outlets will be seen as an advantage or a drawback, and will on balance attract the PC punters. µ



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