Intel and the other companies insisted that users be allowed to make that one copy, and the content providers fell into line because of the pressing need for content protection technologies, Balogh said
Content owners and device manufacturers must support DTCP technology for the whole process to work, Balogh said. Older content stored on PCs or content not recognized by DTCP technology will not be protected, and could be freely copied, even if a user's PC supports DTCP, he said.
Movies downloaded from Movielink LLC will support DTCP later this year, said Elana Altshulter, a company spokeswoman. The movie download service currently uses DRM technology from Microsoft and RealNetworks Inc. to prevent users from copying the movies they download from Movielink's Web site to DVDs or hard drives, she said.
Movielink users pay between $1.99 and $4.99 to download full-length movies to their PCs for 30 days. Once a user starts the movie, they have 24 hours to watch it, Altshulter said. Microsoft or Real's DRM ensure the files expire within the stated limits, but DTCP would allow users to stream the Movielink films to a larger digital display, for example.
Despite the fact that DTCP will allow users to stream their content around the home, many users still will not be satisfied with technologies that restrict their freedom to use and copy their CDs and DVDs. Balogh understands those concerns, but believes that minimal copy protection schemes are better than the alternatives.
"Content protection solutions or DRM should enable new, flexible media experiences that strike a balance between consumer expectations and rights holder's interests," Balogh said.
Eventually, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices plan to build hardware-based security into their products that could support advanced DRM schemes. It's unclear at this point what exactly those technologies will allow users and content providers to do, since neither company is saying much about it. But the gradual evolution of DRM technology will be watched closely by legions of passionate computer users.