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DRM Mozilla Media Operating Systems Upgrades Wireless Networking Build Hardware

Kickstarted Firefox OS HDMI Dongle Delayed, DRM Support Being Added 106

An anonymous reader writes: You may recall last September when Mozilla and a new company named Matchstick announced a Kickstarter project for a new device that would compete with Google's Chromecast. It was an HDMI dongle for streaming media that runs on Firefox OS. They easily quadrupled their $100,000 funding goal, and estimated a ship date of February, 2015. Well, they emailed backers today to say that the Matchstick's release is being pushed back to August. They list a few reasons for the delay. For one, they want to upgrade some of the hardware: they're swapping the dual-core CPU for a quad-core model, and they're working on the Wi-Fi antenna to boost reception. But on the software side, the biggest change they mention is that they're adding support for DRM. This is a bit of a surprise, since all they said on the Kickstarter about DRM was that they hoped it would be handled "either via the playback app itself or the OS." Apparently this wasn't possible, so they're implementing Microsoft PlayReady tech on the Matchstick.
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Kickstarted Firefox OS HDMI Dongle Delayed, DRM Support Being Added

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2015 @07:13PM (#49002485)

    I am so disappointed in the open source community. It's like they don't care about the very foundation this community was built on. They don't care about users freedom what-so-ever. All they care about is market share. If I wanted to use Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X or Google Chrome I'd have just bought that instead. I've got a system already running DRM-free, but unfortunately with adobe flash. I'm trying to move AWAY from that crap not towards it.

    • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @07:31PM (#49002595)
      Pfft can't do anything via HDMI without HDCP to keep movie studios happy.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Pfft can't do anything via HDMI without HDCP to keep movie studios happy.

        Yeah... just hoping this is the last round, DVDs were a huge upgrade over VHS but they hated that CSS was broken, BluRay was their chance for a do-over but AACS, BD+, Cinavia and HDCP 1.x all failed them in the end. This time they've added all the bells and whistles, the resolution is on par with DCI 4K - natively 4096x2160, but they never use all the pixels as they crop for 1.85:1 or 2.39:1 so at most they'll use 8.6k pixels versus 8.3k for UHD, wider gamut than cinemas (DCI P3 is 72% of Rec.2020), 10 bit

        • afaik, cinavia has not been broken yet and the anydvd/slysoft guys say its not going to be an easy fight on this one. they actually have no good ideas on how to break this one, sad to say.

          • Uh, what about this: https://torrentfreak.com/dvd-r... [torrentfreak.com]

            Cinavia's not really important anyway because it only blocks you if you use a Blu-Ray player for playback. All you have to do is play the the files on a computer with a FLOSS video player like mplayer or vlc and the Cinavia will be ignored.

      • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:59PM (#49003039) Journal

        "Pfft can't do anything via HDMI without HDCP to keep movie studios happy."

        not true at all. my alienware laptop will only accept inbound HDCP codes from modern updating gaming consoles, as such trying to display a desktop on the laptops display doesn't work because HDCP is not fully implemented in windows linux etc. yes if you use powerdvd to play a bluray it will use HDCP but in truth the windows and linux devices don't use HDCP by default unless software with the current HDCP key is used. to protect that key it is not included with windows. and powerdvd uses encryption to protect its key. make a roll your own home theater pc based on an open source distribution and all your 'ripped' or 'downloaded' content will play to any hdmi device and it will play just fine

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > Pfft can't do anything via HDMI without HDCP to keep movie studios happy.

        Sure you can. This is how you can connect Macs and PCs running Linux to a TV with an HDMI port. I am not quite sure who they were supposed to be pandering to with this move. Hooking up an HDMI connection should be a simple thing that requires permission from no one. Shouldn't matter if it's wired or wireless.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Yes, but they still need a key. When a manufacturer of GPUs or bluray players or whatever implements HDMI they have to pay the licence fee and embed a key. Without the key it won't work. If one day Hollywood decides that your TV allows ripping HDMI content (say due to a security flaw) new bluray discs will refuse to display on it.

          This has already happened to software bluray players, which had to be updated with new keys. There are cards available that can rip HDMI streams using chips intended for TVs, and s

          • you are almost right; but its hdcp not hdmi. hdmi does not include drm; hdmi is just dvi interleaved with audio (and now, ethernet) in a new cable connector. its hdcp that you are referring to, and hdcp is not required to connect video to a pc - its only certain content (which I'm sure you realize) that insists on an end-to-end secure path.

            for regular desktops and such, hdcp never enters into it.

      • simple solution: 'pirate' all your content and it will play drm-free, be commercial-free and also be nicely compressed so it won't eat your nas, alive.

        if I could buy a cheaper tv without hdcp, I'd be totally happy with that. the only BD drive I have came with a laptop I bought years ago, I never once init'd it or used it and I doubt I ever will (unless bd-blanks come down in price and become a viable backup option, which I kind of doubt, anyway).

        since when does the reader of a forum like this care about mo

    • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

      No DRM means no Netflix app, no Hulu app, no Amazon app, etc, etc, etc.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Funny, I can access all of those things without any sort of hardware DRM, which is what the topic of discussion is.
        • On your TV via HDMI? Fat chance.

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:36PM (#49003199) Homepage

            Clearly the ignorant gits that want to perpetuate corporate friendly (and Microsoft friendly) urban legends have never actually tried any of this stuff before. A PC, a real PC, will just treat the HDMI port as yet another output. A TV is also nothing special. It will just treat your PC as just another set top box.

            Encryption is NOT required. It's an available OPTION if you happen to be foolish enough to have something like a Sony BluRay player (which ironically happens to run Linux).

            There is really nothing distinctive about a "television" any more.

        • Funny, I can access all of those things without any sort of hardware DRM, which is what the topic of discussion is.

          You can't access the full quality Netflix stream on any open platform.
          Consoles, Rokus, "Smart" TVs, etc. get full quality streams. PCs don't. (You can't even fucking get surround sound.)

          So I don't use Netflix.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        I can do all of that on Linux without a "protected path" of any kind. The same is true for MacOS.

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      Idealism hits up hard against pragmatism. Software is one thing, but when you are selling a physical device with a real cost to manufacture, it has to actually do stuff for people to buy it.

      I'm all for fighting DRM, but building what would be a mostly useless device and having it sit unsold serves no purpose.

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        I'm all for fighting DRM, but building what would be a mostly useless device and having it sit unsold serves no purpose.

        You so like totally don't work for the government / state / municipals / .. whatever is the flavor which work for you :)

    • So go ahead and move away - nobody is forcing you to install adobe flash or any other proprietary platform on your system.

      Oh, I'm sorry, did you want the community to dedicate massive resources to attempt to illegally reverse engineer DRM systems to create a fully open and compatible alternative to an intentionally obfuscated and ever-moving target? Ask the WINE and ReactOS folks how effective that is, even without the law getting in your way.

      Or did you want the many people outside the open source communit

    • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday February 06, 2015 @11:28PM (#49003629) Homepage

      I am so disappointed in the open source community. It's like they don't care about the very foundation this community was built on.

      The open source movement was started to never raise a user's software freedom as an issue. Read the FSF's essays (older essay [gnu.org], newer essay [gnu.org]) on how open source differs from free software and you'll get a very clear explanation of how open source's goal to speak to business means accepting proprietary software and whatever other anti-user stuff [gnu.org] businesses want to implement with proprietary software (DRM, spyware, back doors, patent traps [digitalcitizen.info], etc.). Mozilla's partnering with Adobe, the Linux kernel accepting and distributing proprietary software as part of the project (code which GNU Linux-libre [fsfla.org] removes), and Mono developers celebrating Microsoft's releasing .NET software under the MIT X11 license without acknowledging the danger of Microsoft's patent promise are just a few examples of how the philosophical differences between the older ethically-minded free software movement and the younger developmental methodology-focused open source movement play out on the ground.

    • They don't care about users freedom what-so-ever. All they care about is market share.

      The product that can't stream protected media has no market --- which means that it can't and won't be used to introduce DRM-free streaming media to users.

      Many premium content providers such as Netflix require DRM support. Matchstick has undertaken the mission to develop DRM as an independent project with the open source community...We plan to use the Microsoft PlayReady technology and are excited to bring premium content to Matchstick. We'll keep you updated as we work to contribute newly developed source codes for DRM back to the open community. It's our goal to make sure open source technology doesn't mean 2nd tier content and experiences!

      February Update --- Product Delay, Hardware, DRM, Content, and more! [kickstarter.com]

      There is a lot to be said for a standardized DRM platform based on open-source code. Time is short, It is becoming almost impossible to buy an HDTV without integrated WiFI and its own suite of apps.

      VIZIO E241i-B1 24" 1080p 60Hz Razor LED Smart HDTV [walmart.com] $178.

      • I just bought a new hdtv; upgrading a nearly 10 yr old set that was still from the dvi era.

        wanted to go to costco for safety (so many tv's are poorly made; having a good warranty and return policy is mandatory) but the only tv's bigger than 39" were ALL so-called 'smart'.

        fortunately, the vizio I came home with does not insist I enable smartness mode. for one thing, the updates (that you can't refuse if you enable IP) have caused more problems than they fixed. and 2nd, once you enable IP, all your privacy

    • You must talking about some different type of OS than what I have encountered. In my experience OS simply stands for developers who have an ideological reason not to care about their users or community.
  • and they just got a little later.

    What do we have out there besides the Chrome dongle? Amazon fire TV box or dongle, Playstation, Xbox, smart televisions, and the beat goes on.

    How much market share is left?

    • well i for one dont want a "smart tv" My blueray player has "smart" capabilities in it, yet 1/2 of the apps are broken, and there is no support whatsoever from panasonic. it hasnt had an update since i got it 3 years ago (new). I would much rather buy a 30 dollar dongle that gives me the functionality, that i can move to difference displays as wanted/needed instead of spending 200 bucks extra on the TV for features that from past experiences will not work within a few years.

      There is a market for this kind
      • Ive got a chromecast

        Horrible. Horrible waste of an HDMI port.

        Kinda ok to plug into an old TV and stream downloaded low quality vids from your phone and not much else.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Also:

      "This looks like a better solution than the ChromeCast"

      "I have no wait another 6 month?!"

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Mozilla is always playing catch-up these days.

      Firefox? Well, Mozilla has spent the last few years doing everything they can to imitate Chrome. They've gone so far as to basically clone Chrome's UI. They're even trying to copy Chrome's process model, but Firefox's Electrolysis project is not going very well. They've been working on it for years, and even now it's still very buggy and broken.

      Firefox for Android? Well, this is basically Mozilla's half-assed imitation of Chrome for Android. Pretty much nobody a

      • Firefox for Android? Well, this is basically Mozilla's half-assed imitation of Chrome for Android. Pretty much nobody actually uses it.

        I use it. I don't think Chrome for Android even works on Android 2.3 anymore. Firefox for Android is a pretty solid browser.

  • are the Status Quo.
  • There have been stories before about kickstarter projects going off into the weeds because they were oversubscribed by so much that the projects didn't know how to handle all the extra $$$.

    Is this a similar case? (EG going from dual to quad core because now they have the $$ to do it)

    Or is it just a bad project design? (EG going from dual to quad core because their original design was shit and they couldn't make their original promises with a dual core system)

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      I would assume more the DRM and Wi-Fi-antenna is part of "stuff we couldn't figure out in time"/"didn't work as intended."

    • It's just that everything coming out of Mozilla has a habit of succumbing to feature creep and bloat and blue-sky thinking.

      They never heard of the RCA engineering principle - once it works, start taking out parts until it stops working.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        Sounds like an awful way to design. You get design by minimalism, and of course where software "stops working" is divined by some high priests or whatever. That's how you get shit like, one button mouse, inability to block ads, no close button on your window, inability to customize UI, loss of familiar UI elements. All it takes is redefining "works" to exclude some set of users or potential users. "Our users shouldn't be X" -> GNOME happens. That sort of thing.

        • It's actually quite good because it forces you to stick to the original spec. If you read the 1400 comments on Kickstarter, a LOT of people are really angry because they've changed the specs just as they were supposed to start shipping product.

          People have figured out that they knew long before they announced the change that they were not going to ship in time but kept lying about it right up until the end.

          Also, since they're now including DRM. that's become another flash point. The commenters lay it all o

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      There have been stories before about kickstarter projects going off into the weeds because they were oversubscribed by so much that the projects didn't know how to handle all the extra $$$.

      Is this a similar case? (EG going from dual to quad core because now they have the $$ to do it)

      So you're complaining that they're improving the product over what was initially announced? As long as they deliver the device as originally spec'd in the Kickstarter they are meeting their obligations. They delay might have been inevitable regardless of how much money they received. They could have just pocketed the extra money from all the extra pledges (if they get a higher margin from production economies of scale, etc), but they're going to use the money to upgrade the processor (giving a more responsi

      • They are not improving shit. I wanted the original product. I was FINE with that, that's why I signed up. And I'd like it when promised. Since they are announcing it now, it's obvious that they could not manufacture it correctly on time, and they knew this months ago, given the lead time needed to make something like this. So they are trying to placate people with "we added more cores" and "now it'll run Netflix" and crap like that. And in August, they'll come back with "We think we can put 6 cores in by De
      • So you're complaining that they're improving the product over what was initially announced? As long as they deliver the device as originally spec'd in the Kickstarter they are meeting their obligations.

        Absolutely! Why? Because they've FAILED to deliver!

        I don't know if the spec creep necessarily "caused" the failure, but it sure as Hell didn't help!

        If they wanted to give people more for donating more, they should have delivered as promised first, then worked on some kind of bonus (maybe a discount on 2.0 or

    • (EG going from dual to quad core because their original design was shit and they couldn't make their original promises with a dual core system)

      If I had to guess, and I do because I'm too lazy to look, the new CPU was necessary for the DRM. Either the DRM comes with the CPU, or they needed more CPU to implement it since it wasn't built in.

      Either way, the DRM will make the device more useful to more users, so I guess it makes sense. And either way, it's one less reason to buy what they're selling. Might as well just buy a google tv device. I hear razer is claiming to be bringing out the moonshot of google tvs, but I've heard this kind of crap before

  • Will Microsoft PlayReady enable things like Netflix?
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:16PM (#49002837)
    Plug it into my TV, then let me stream music/video from my laptop. My laptop is harder to lose than a small remote (hello Roku, lost your @!#$$ remote over the holidays), usually within arms reach, can access my 3 TB NAS, and is easy to get content onto. My TV is plugged into my stereo, and the stereo remote is not only nice and big, but gets used several times a day. Currently the only way to play my music on my stereo is to burn a CD.

    / not picking on you Roku // I seem to have issues with small, seldom used remotes
    • Welcome to 2006: http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com]

      Welcome to 2012: http://www.amazon.com/Actionte... [amazon.com]

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Better yet, why not make a dongle that can pull content directly from the NAS via SAMBA, supports every codec known to man (including the obscure ones) by using something like FFMPEG (with hardware accelerated decoding for the codecs where the hardware can do it) and can be controlled via a normal remote or via an app (one that exists on all the necessary platforms).

      As for DRM (which is necessary if you want Netflix etc) just get Adobe to port the same DRM blob being used for Firefox on Windows to the new d

      • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:10PM (#49003083)

        A bit larger than a dongle but does what you want: Raspberry Pi + any XBMC-based distro
        Has HDMI CEC si you can use those "useless" media buttons on your TV's remote to control XMBC, no extra remote needed = you can hide the RPi in the back of the TV.

      • For some stupid reason all the set top boxes shun smb/cifs/nfs support in favor of nfc or dnla or some other bullshit "works sometimes" completely unfucking necessary *why the fuck did anyone think we need this* abstraction.

      • Another "feature" brought to you by the poisonous gift of software patents.

        Dongle vendors don't want the potential of getting Microsoft knocking on their door asking for royalties by including (or even just turning on) the CIFS client in the Linux kernel they all ship.

        Thanks Microsoft ! Great job on promoting SMB technology !

        Fuckers (not the Microsoft engineers, with whom I have a *great* relationship - I mean Microsoft legal).

    • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:31PM (#49003179)

      It's called a PC. Hook it up to the TV (or receiver if applicable) and the network. Play anything video you want. Play any audio you want. Access the full internet. Play games. Do all the fucking things. Laugh at DRM. Torrent to your heart's content.

      There is no substitute.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        ...and engage in all manner of hoop jumping to get HD content.

        It's reasonable to not care about that (I generally do not), but some do.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          (click click click) pirate file... wait 12 minutes. play file.

          yeah, thats a lot of hoops.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Hoop jumping? I'm not jumping shit for my HD content. Plenty of streaming services that have been around and doing HD streaming LONG before youtube even had 720p.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        It's called a PC. Hook it up to the TV

        Am I missing something here? How do you do that without having a big ugly PC sitting next to the TV?

        • by Megane ( 129182 )
          By getting a big pretty PC? There are PC cases intended for living room use, with big slow fans and rubber shock mounts for hard drives. If you get an old-school horizontal case, they fit nicely on a shelf. I actually have two, one to play games that need Winderz, and the other running MythTV on Linux.
        • Ignore how it looks.
          Put it behind the TV.
          Get a good looking case.
          Get one of them thar mini PCs.
          Get one of them thar mini PCs AND put it behind the TV.
          Not exactly a difficult "problem" to solve.

  • I'm a backer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Very disappointed by this. Wanted this because it was an open hardware / open software solution. If I'd wanted some Netflix/DRM ready stick I'd have just bought a Chromecast. Very unhappy with Matchstick.

    • I'd bet it has nothing to do with DRM. These guys are interesting in starting a big company. They realised that the stick was going to fail on the market because of its specs and price point. So they took the money and are using it to make a completely different product.
    • Oh look.... they were on Twitter not even two weeks ago claiming they were producing and on schedule. And now its a 6 month delay. I would pretty much say this is 99%+ a scam now.
  • Looks like they were using the kick starter dollars to try and fund a competitive USB stick computer. Half way through they realised they were about to get 1-up'd spec wise basically making the stick uncompetitive and DOA at their targeted retail price. This happens a lot of with kick-starters. When it does you are expected to follow through, get the backers the item, and then close down, never getting a good product to a wide market. However in this case they taken the money and used it to invest in a co
  • Anti-DRM folks will be rightly pissed but I for one welcome having the ability to use it in our current climate of control. No reason to ship a product that can't use current video markets just to make an anti-DRM point. If they want to be a part of the conversation they need to stay in business.
  • Dear concerned netizens,

    I believe the correct message to send would be for backers to retreat en masse and generally boycott this project. They could always come back when a more sane plan is announced.

    While this is a sad development in itself, we can also take it as a great opportunity to create awareness around the many dangers of DRM: A general boycott now would, IMHO, get press attention and make a clear statement to media companies that buyers are sick and tired of being treated like farm animals. /. c

    • I'm not a backer, I've never heard of this project before. But if I was a backer, I'd ask for my money back. Is that possible? That's a serious question, I really don't know if that's possible with kickstarter campaigns (in a case like this, it seems that you should be able to get your money back if they change the project you signed up for.
    • A general boycott now would, IMHO, get press attention and make a clear statement to media companies that buyers are sick and tired of being treated like farm animals. /. can make it happen!

      No it can't.

      This 24" Vizio HDTV [walmart.com] from Walmart has integrated WiFi, a full suite of apps including Netflix and costs $178.

      We have reached the point where it has become almost impossible to buy any random piece of home video hardware or accessory that does not include integrated WiFi and a basic suite of Internet apps, with protected streaming media services like Netflix at the top of the list,

  • This is bad. Research has shown that extra crypto operations needed for DRM will add to energy consumption and contribute to global warming [networkworld.com]. This is an immoral product!

  • HDMI is a licensing scheme. HDCP is the evil twin that you must bring along..... At the outset of HD TV, the industry was afraid that some flavor of DVI would be the open source plug, so invented HDMI. I've read the licensing docs (at least the ones you can find on the web) and an HDMI dongle that does not protect the MAFIAA will find itself sued out of existence.
  • selamlar
  • I have Chromecast and would have considered a Firefox dongle. But not now thanks for the warning" MS DRM included." Those rights management dingles are part of Bill's vision that 'rights management was the way of the future' I remember that right after win98 went to WinXP and all my 'free cracked programs' no longer worked. My $200 musical keyboard from Soundblaster quit working (because it would record to MP3 format) samples that were protected??? WTF One of the best software supported keyboards offered

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