The Advanced Access Content System License Administrator quietly announced this week it had responded to the attacks on the AACS copy protection on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, first reported in December 2006. AACS LA's response was an expected one: It revoked the existing license keys for the affected players, and introduced new keys. This is the process by which AACS can respond to an attack, often referred to by industry insiders as "self-healing."
This update only affects PC software players from CyberLink and Corel that are capable of playing Blu-ray and HD DVD movie content. Affected players must be updated in order to continue playing high-definition movie discs. (Corel issued its update late last week, just before the AACS announcement.)
No sooner had the virtual ink on the update announcement barely dried, though, when Doom9's forums--the site where hacker Muslix64 first posted a workaround to AACS back in December--were hopping with new ways to circumvent the newly released update for the Corel InterVideo WinDVD player.
The new workaround has been confirmed on Doom 9 with a Toshiba-built Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD Player and the newly updated InterVideo WinDVD player. AACS LA spokesperson Michael Ayers says the organization is aware of and investigating this latest breach, and it will take "appropriate action" based on their findings.
Actions open to AACS include revoking the key for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player--and, presumably, other HD DVD-ROM and Blu-ray Disc burners already on the market. The current key revocation does not impact existing hardware players, but that could certainly change.
If it comes down to AACS revoking hardware keys for PC devices, such a move would be disappointing, and could constrain adoption of the next-gen formats. Back when DVD first launched a decade ago, many computer users adopted DVD in their PC well before buying a pricey living room player.
Fast forward to the present, an era when PCs are prevalent in the home, and is more commonly used as a video player--be it on a large, flat-panel monitor or output to an HDTV. As prices for high-def player options drop, adding high-def playback to your desktop PC or notebook is an attractive alternative to buying a dedicated player for your living room.