The New DRM’ed Macbook, Now with Reduced Functionality

by Devanshu Mehta

The new MacBook from Apple comes with the new digital video output connector. Great news, you say. What Apple has avoided mentioning is that these connectors allow movie studios to force the computer to authenticate any monitor or display you have connected. That is to say that if the movie studios haven’t approved your monitor, it won’t display HD content from iTunes.

Says Fred von Lohmann:

This is a remarkably short-sighted move for both Apple and Hollywood. This punishes existing iTunes customers: several have reported that iTunes purchases that played on external monitors on their old Macbooks no longer will play on their new Macbooks. In other words, thanks to the Macbook “upgrade,” Apple just “downgraded” everyone’s previous investment in iTunes content.

I’ve written about this many times before- but any DRM’ed content– like iTunes movies– is at the mercy of the vendor, a board room somewhere in California, back room deals or the crashing financial market. Basically, forces outside your control can snatch your investment from you at any time. And this is not some dystopian future- it has happened to many people already. Walmart, MSN Music, Yahoo! Music and Google Video have all decided to stop supporting the content of paying customers, rendering their videos and music in to junk bits.