As previously reported, changes are coming to online music - and this one just managed to beat 2008: Amazon's MP3 store now carries music from Warner - previously known for their unlimited DRM lovin'. That just leaves Sony...
Movie rentals are getting more and more likely for iTunes as Apple appears to have made a deal with Fox.
Another one bites the dust: Wal-Mart's online video download service has been canned after less than a year of operations. Does it surprise anyone to learn the service featured high prices and DRM but little else?
And with that said, let's turn our attention to 2008: Will Warner's recent move to unprotected MP3s encourage Sony, the last remaining major, to follow suit in 2008, thus once and for all ridding us of the annoyance called DRM? Will we finally be able to resurrect old MP3 players and put them to good use and kiss PlayFair, PlayForSure and all the other crap good-bye? And will Hollywood learn anything from the music industry and finally become serious in online movie purchases by realizing that online content should both cost less than the physical medium, and still be more convenient (so allow people to burn the content to a DVD, as well as being able to play them on any of their computers regardless of OS, and via their home entertainment network, regardless of the manufacturer of said equipment)?
Will high definition content become more than a tiny blimp on the radar or will Sony's unwillingness to settle for a format others have developed keep customers on the sidelines (with $799 for a dual format player, we're a long way off from a price most consumers would feel comfortable with, and PC drives are a far cry from the price of a pure DVD burner as well)? And fully understanding that I will catch flack for saying this - here's my suggestion to everybody considering high def media in 2008: Do NOT buy Blu-ray. Forget about the 20GB smokescreen (if you think size is all that matters head over to my forums and discuss with the experts that more space doesn't necessarily translate into better quality (or read a codec comparison of mine) and how quality depends on a lot more than raw bitrate and how codecs max out at a certain bitrate) and focus on your rights: especially in this early phase, being able to get content from other countries can come in quite handy - and even more when studios decide to align them into one of two camps. There are plenty of so-called exclusive titles that are available in the other format if you just know where to look - and unlike Blu-ray, HD DVD is guaranteed to be region free (and unlike we had it back with DVDs, regionfree Blu-ray standalone players are nowhere to be found). And besides keeping region codes, Blu-ray enters a whole new era of copy protection: Unless SlySoft gives us another reason to drink champagne tonight, the rumored BD+ crack has yet to surface - so, at this point it is uncertain whether you'll ever be able to back up those recent Fox titles (and there's no stopping Sony, Disney and Warner adding BD+ to their titles as well). Even SlySoft - the only ones who can get the last 3 months worth of high definition content decrypted, strongly encourage you to go for HD DVD instead - if anyone has an idea about breaking copy protection it should be them.
While an older PowerDVD release and some standalone players can play an AACS less BD+ titles, creating such a backup will set you back more than buying the original disc, plus both Cyberlink (PowerDVD) and Sony (Playstation3) seem to have already plugged the BD+ workaround and it would be unreasonable not to expect that future firmware upgrades wouldn't take care of that for other manufacturers - plus there is no way to turn any BD+ titles into any other formats (the Return of the Silver Surfer Blu-ray rip comes from the German Blu-ray disc which has no BD+ - it may not even have AACS (at least my HD DVD copy from the same distributor has no AACS)).
Buying into any format that could reliably prevent you from ever making a backup copy goes against everything this site has ever stood for - so if you care at all for what you can do with movies you pay good money for, you should stay away from Blu-ray just as any music buyer should stay away from DRM infected online music. And just so that it is said again: Blu-ray champion Sony has single-handedly killed RipIt4Me, is behind ArCCoS, has infected millions of PCs with a rootkit and has been peddling proprietary formats over standards for decades (MiniDisc, ATRAC, MemoryStick and UMD are just a few examples leading up to Blu-ray).
Anyway, I hope this didn't turn your champagne sour and Happy New Year