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13 new technologies coming to your PC

Analysis: the future of the PC revealed

Ultra-small PCs that fit on a single chip. Batteries that recharge without cables. TVs that respond to your every gesture. These and other developing technologies will fundamentally change the way you think about and use your computer. PC Advisor looks at the technology of tomorrow.

Curtains for DRM

Petrified of piracy, Hollywood has long relied on technical means to keep copies of its output from making the rounds on peer-to-peer networks. It hasn't worked: tools to bypass digital rights management (DRM) on just about any kind of media are readily available, and feature films often hit BitTorrent before they appear in cinemas.

Unfortunately for law-abiding citizens, DRM is less a deterrent to piracy than a nuisance that gets in the way of enjoying legally obtained content on more than one device.

What is it?

It's not what it is, it's what it isn't. Axing DRM means no more schemes to prevent you from moving music or video from one form of media to another.

Imagine a day when you'll be able to take a DVD, pop it in a PC and end up with a compressed video file that will play on any device you wish.

Better yet, you won't need that DVD at all: you'll be able to pay a few pounds for an unprotected, downloadable version of the movie that you can re-download later.

When is it coming?

Technologically speaking, nothing is stopping companies from scrapping DRM tomorrow. But legally and politically, resistance persists. Music has largely made the transition already. Amazon and iTunes both sell DRM-free MP3s.

Video is taking baby steps in the same direction. One recent example: RealNetworks' RealDVD software (which is now embroiled in litigation) lets you rip DVDs to your PC with a single click, but they're still protected by a DRM system. Meanwhile, studios are experimenting with bundling legally rippable copies of their films with DVDs.

But ending DRM as we know it is still years off. Keep your fingers crossed – for 2020.

NEXT PAGE: The Google PC

  1. Analysis: the future of the PC revealed
  2. A groundbreaking new circuit
  3. 32-core computing
  4. 64bit computing with more RAM
  5. Windows 7 – inevitably
  6. SuperSpeed USB
  7. Goodbye graphics cards
  8. Recharge without wires
  9. Gesture recognition
  10. Curtains for DRM
  11. The Google PC
  12. Your fingers do even more walking
  13. Mobile-phone ticketing
  14. Location, location, location

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