Goodby analogue hole, hello digital hole

Leichter, Jerry leichter_jerrold at
Mon Sep 24 15:49:30 EDT 2007

The movie studios live in fear of people stealing their product as it
all goes digital.  There's, of course, always the "analogue hole", the
point where the data goes to the display.  The industry defined an
all-digital, all-licensed-hardware path through HDMI which blocks this
path.  As we know, Vista goes out of its way to keep all that stuff
"safe from tampering".

But in this business, there's always someone who's defining different
hardware that cuts the other way.  At least one "someone" is the
DisplayLink alliance.  This is a group of vendors who are supporting a
protocol for connecting video displays to computers over various kinds
of generic connections.  At the moment, USB, Ethernet, and wireless are
on the list.  Products are beginning to appear - LG, for example,
recently announced the LG L206WU, a 1680x1050 display that connects over
USB.  A "virtual graphics card" drives the thing.  You can support up to
6 USB displays, in addition to your existing displays.  The limiting
factor seems to be the CPU.  Intel is involved with DisplayLink, and is
demoing "3D and HD Video on USB and Wireless USB displays" based on some
integrated support in the the Intel graphics hardware at an upcoming
conference.  Vista's Aero is supported.  The press release talks about
watching movies.  There's a reference in one article about the LG that
says watching Blu-Ray disks probably won't work well because so much of
the CPU is used up decoding the disk.  Obviously, if this is indeed the
limitation, it's a temporary one.

No mention anywhere of HDMI or any kind of deal with the movie
industry.  If DisplayLink takes off - and with Intel on the producing
side and at least LG, Toshiba, Kensington already announcing products
it's got a good chance - HDMI is going to have a tough time gaining
a place at the table; and the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD producers are quickly
going to find themselves having to choose whether they are going to
walk away from the vast majority of the market.

 							-- Jerry

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