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Vista and Content Protection

Posted: February 3, 2007

Microsoft has recently released Vista, it's latest version of the Windows operating system and it may turn out to create several headaches for professional media producers.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection is a dense yet fascinating technical paper by Peter Gutman of Auckland University that looks at the impact of the layers of content protection mechanisms built into Vista.

Content protection refers to the software makers attempt to protect what Microsoft calls "commercial content generally, independent of resolution" which could mean just about any kind of commercial audio and video material.

Highlighting just one issue raised in the article: Vista may disable the functionality of ASIO audio drivers, which are essential to the professional audio user. This is becuase ASIO drivers remove control of audio devices from Windows, in order to improve performance. Vista may not be happy with this... as any driver that is not controlled by Windows will not be able to "secure" commercial content.

As always with any major upgrade be very careful before making the leap to Vista. Here at Blue Cow HQ we probably won't touch Vista (unless we really have to) until the first Service Pack is released.