The Computer Blog

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quicktime 7.5.7 for MacBook Family Only; HDCP Squashes a Sale

If you’re an iTunes Store customer and you own one of the latest MacBook family machines, then make sure you either run Software Update or go to Apple.com and download the QuickTime 7.5.7 update. It corrects the iTunes Store bug that flags non-HD content as HD, preventing you from playing it back with a non-HDCP compliant display. It does seem to work; I can now play “Terminator 2” on my new MacBook Pro using my 20 inch Apple Cinema Display.

Make sure you understand, though, that it only fixes one “bug”. It does not impact true HDCP restrictions, which means you’ll still have to use a HDCP compliant player (and this includes the MacBook family of machines) and an HDCP-compliant display (currently the internal display of the MacBook or MacBook Pro or the new 24 inch LED Cinema Display).

During Black Friday, the Fry’s Electronics Store here put the LG GGW-H20L Blue Ray/HD ROM –DVD burner on sale for an amazing $89! I seriously thought about buying one, despite Apple’s lack of support for Blue Ray, and placing it in my Mac Pro. On the OS X side, I could at least use it for data storage and, using Boot Camp, I might be able to use it to watch high-definition movies (which I would have to buy) using Windows XP. But the burner’s box noted that the player must be part of an HDCP complaint set-up, which left me with a fair degree of certainty I’d get the dreaded “display not authorized” message with my system. Not only did that scotch $150 worth of sales, but it also made me realize there probably is no HD future for my Mac Pro. While I have no doubt that Apple will make Blue Ray a feature of future Macs, I also believe the cost for me to make my current (and up-to-date) Mac Pro HD capable is going to be more than I can stomach. From a consumer standpoint, HD content restrictions mean I have to commit not only our Macs but our entertainment systems to HD or avoid it entirely.

Somewhere in the next one to three years, prices to perform such a switch will fall to an acceptable level, and I’ll entertain it. But for now, the HD picture for us Mac owners is a fractured and expensive one; and the sour taste it’s leaving those of us who invested in Apple video editing and DVD manufacturing software is getting more bitter all the time.

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