Microsoft has just introduced some new Zune portable media players.
But perhaps more interesting is that Microsoft has also redesigned Zune Marketplace, including new free content.
The press release reads:
Consumers will also be able to choose from a selection of more than 1 million digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3s, which can be played with Zune or any other digital media player.
Looks like Zune gets a second change. Wireless sync options, a touch-sensitive button, funky family colors and DRM free music… Still not sure that Zune tattoo was such a good idea though…
Link via Boing Boing
Mashable takes a look at BBC’s iPlayer (formerly known as iMP -Integrated Media Player or Interactive Media Player- and MyBBCPlayer), the new Windows-only P2P TV service.
It seems many Brits aren’t too happy the requirements to watch TV shows on iPlayer: Windows XP, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and approve more than one security update (or rather DRM) before you can even get started.
BBC iPlayer – view the last 7 days of BBC Television
Pete Cashmore writes:
The download is fairly small (around 4 megs), but you’ll have to spend at least 5-10 minutes clicking through these various “security checks”. After the license acquisition fails (and it will), you can then optionally set up a PIN to stop your kids getting to the content rated “Guidance”. Watch out: it will also try to suck up resources by launching at Windows startup if you don’t uncheck a box in the settings. Also remember to run the ActiveX control or nothing will happen: this is non-obvious. The last step is to register a BBC.co.uk account if you don’t already have one. Total time spent on installation: 20 mins.
Read more on Mashable.
BuzzBums reports on the Norwegian Consumer Council which has deemed iTunes’ DRM (called Fairplay) illegal in Norway, with France and Germany possibly following suit.
“I understand that a company feels the need to protect its products from piracy,” said Thon (Bjørn Erik Thon, Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman) in 2006. “However, this should not negatively affect customers who through lawful means have obtained downloaded files. Today, iTunes´ use of DRM-technology renders the customers without rights in dealing with a company which on a whim can dictate what kind of access customers will have to products they have already paid for.”
Companies need to protect their cash cows, and iTunes music downloads certainly are a big money maker, but why does DRM have to be so user-unfriendly. I just recently had my first experience with iPod and iTunes and I really disliked the lack of freedom to easily move music files around. (I quickly abandoned iTunes and swapped it for Winamp which made things a little better)
I should be able to use any device to play the music I buy. It’s like that insane copy protection on CDs which prevents you from playing it on your PC (which is where I happen to spend most my workdays). And no, I don’t mean you need to be able to play your old VHS tapes on a DVD player, but it should all be a little less troublesome with these digital files, right?
Anyway, Norway is giving Apple until October 1st to alter Fairplay and the allowed use of iTunes Store files, or pay fines and close iTunes in Norway. Let’s see what happens, and whether other countries follow or not.