Intel's new CPUs have built-in DRM

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology has typically been software-based in PCs, but Intel recently revealed that it intends to build such technology right into their new processors.

DRM has become a swearword to many technophiles, especially those of the gamer variety.

The term doesn’t really describe the technology employed, but rather what the technology is expected to do – which is to manage the rights to the use of digital content.

Most individuals that have come across such technologies would associate it with their use of their content or device being limited in some way.

With services such as Ovi Music and iTunes, a typical example is not being able to listen to music on anything but an authorised device or PC. Nokia announced last year that normal music downloads on its Ovi service are DRM-free, but music downloaded using their “Ovi Music Unlimited” offering still use DRM.

According to an article from Reuters, Intel is planning on building DRM technology into their new processors to allow studios like Warner Bros. to stream video to consumers without having to worry about potential piracy.

Intel has leaked numerous details about its new generation of microarchitecture, codenamed Sandy Bridge, prior to the big announcements expected at the Consumer Electronics Show that kicked off in Las Vegas this week.

Among the big news is that Intel will now be embedding Intel HD graphics chips into their mainstream CPUs. It seems that the future is fusion after all.

The embedded video controller combined with the built-in DRM will apparently allow “premium content” from Hollywood studios to be streamed to PCs with Sandy Bridge chips. Reuters said that this was revealed in an interview last week with Mooly Eden, Intel’s Vice President and general manager of the PC client group.

It isn’t clear whether such premium content would need to be purchased from the relevant studio, or to whom the content will be available.

If the current state of affairs is anything to go by however, it’s unlikely that South Africans would be granted access to such content. That’s without considering the minor matter of the bandwidth costs involved in streaming 1080p movies and series locally.

This move from Intel seems to be quite a gamble, with Intel betting that the negative sentiment surrounding chip-level DRM will be outweighed by people’s desire for 1080p streaming video from studios like Warner Bros.

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Intel's new CPUs have built-in DRM