Friday, July 17, 2015

FairPlay Streaming

Chris Adamson:

Because here’s the difference — and you figure there has to be a difference for it to be worth Apple’s time to develop an supplementary standard to what they already have and everyone’s using. The point of “FairPlay Streaming” seems to be to plug holes in the server-to-viewer chain where the media could be copied in some way.


The standard seems particularly interested in preventing you from AirPlay’ing content to other devices.


So the first part here is that when AirPlaying to an Apple TV, FairPlay Streaming basically turns the Apple TV into a Chromecast: it transfers responsibility for downloading and playing the stream to the AppleTV, rather than having the iOS/OSX device fetch the content and then re-stream it to the Apple TV. Good in one sense, because this effectively halves the amount of data being sent across your network.

But look at that last point: FPS content cannot be captured by the user if they’re, say, streaming it to their Mac. It’s not clear if this is also the behavior when playing an FPS stream directly in OS X or iOS. It’ll suck if it is, because this basically would mean that streams would behave the same way DVDs do when you try to get a screenshot: you get a blank rectangle.


So this seems like a feature that’s likely to do little to prevent piracy, while taking away the ability to do things we already do, like grab screenshots, livestream group viewings, or screen-record things like reaction videos. And even if it works, we’ll just seek out workarounds[…]

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