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[FYI] DeCSSing for better video quality...


Licence to thrill

A revolutionary home-cinema system has movie
moguls sweating 

FROM this week, well-heeled gadget fans will be able to buy a
home-cinema system that lets them watch the astonishingly
high-quality pictures that till now have stayed locked inside
DVD movie discs. But Hollywood studio bosses are worried.
They see the new system as a pirate's charter, and have been
fighting to keep the pristine digital signal out of consumers'
hands for fear that people will make broadcast-quality copies. 

DVDs store video as digital code, compressed to the MPEG-2
standard used for digital TV. The data rate varies continually
between 3 and 10 megabits per second, depending on whether
the system is coding moving detail or static scenery. 

Flat-panel plasma screens and digital video projectors work
best if they are fed a pure digital signal. Most have an input
socket called a serial digital interface (SDI). This is an
interface used by broadcasters to carry video at data rates up
to the 270 megabits per second needed for uncompressed
studio-quality pictures. To prevent digital copying, DVD
players and digital TV receivers only have low-quality analogue
video outputs, which has made it impossible to connect them
to the high-resolution screen's SDI input. 

But now David Garrett, who was formerly an engineer with
Britain's Ministry of Defence, has developed a custom
microchip which takes MPEG-2 data from a DVD or digital TV
receiver and converts its into a high-quality
10-megabits-per-second video signal. Garrett's company,
Function Communications of Chelsea, fits these chips and SDI
sockets to off-the-shelf DVD players or digital TV receivers, so
that they can connect to the SDI input on a plasma screen. 


Kristian Köhntopp, NetUSE Kommunikationstechnologie GmbH
Siemenswall, D-24107 Kiel, Germany, +49 431 386 436 00
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