As I rummage through various forums I have noticed increased discussions about Cinavia. For those who don’t know Cinavia is a digital rights management system (i.e. DRM) meant to limit unauthorized use of certain movies in Blu-ray players. There are two parts to Cinavia. The first part is a watermark that is embedded in the audio track of the movie. The second part is hardware related, as the hardware must be able to detect the watermark. In the case where a movie with the Cinavia watermark is detected by a Blu-ray player and it is determined that the movie is unauthorized (i.e. example being a copied Blu-ray disc) a message will appear stating that the media is not authorized for playback. The audio will then either be muted or playback will stop altogether. This would apply to any media that contains the watermark regardless of container/format, and to date there is no way to remove the watermark (nor is it clear if it is even possible to remove the watermark without damaging the audio track). Cinavia was implemented in June 2009 and is now a requirement of all Commercial Blu-ray Players.
So How Does This Affect Me?
This is where it gets a little confusing. Ultimately if you attempt to play back “unauthorized” media containing Cinavia on a device that supports Cinavia (see bottom of post for players/movies currently confirmed to support Cinavia) your media will not play back. Playstation 3 was the first player to implement Cinavia, with more players slowly following. The big question though is will current players in the market such as the Boxee Box, PCH A-200/C-200, and Dune be subject to Cinavia. Well, I don’t have a 100% answer to this question. Cinavia is only required for players that can act as a commercial Blu-ray player and thus require a BDA license. This means that players such as Boxee Box or the PCH A-200 should not be subject to Cinavia as they do not support an internal/external Blu-ray ROM drive, thus there is no need for a BDA license. What is left are hybrid players such as the Dune BD Prime, Dune Smart Series, and PCH C-200. Since these players support an internal/external Blu-ray ROM drive they are subject to a BDA license. Now whether or not Cinavia will be implemented on these players is unclear as I have not seen any official statements from the companies. There has been some discussion on the nmt forums that Cinavia would only apply to new players that would require a new BDA license (the thought being the C-200 already has a BDA license and thus would be exempt). Once again though there has been no official statement confirming this one way or the other. Ultimately it may be up to the SoC manufacturers such as Sigma to implement. Obviously for anyone owning a current hybrid player this is something to keep a close eye on as Cinavia implemented on these players would be devastating. My guess this is the last you will see of these hybrid players and the only type of player that will allow you to play back your unprotected content and still have access to a Blu-ray ROM drive will be an HTPC. For now Cinavia should have zero impact on media players that don’t support the use of an internal/external drive.
One interesting thing I just read is that DVDFab has already come up with a work around for Cinavia on the PS3. As per an email I received from them:
DVDFab firstly supports Cinavia protection in the world in January, 2011. DVDFab Blu-ray Copy (188.8.131.52 Beta) can copy any Blu-ray disc with Cinavia watermark, and create a protected disc (BDMV-REC) to disable Cinania for playback on PS3. Keep in mind that you can only accomplish this in either “Full Disc” or “Main Movie” mode using Blu-ray Copy, check “Create Protected Disc (BDMV-REC) to disable Cinavia” option, and choose output as BD 50 / BD 25.
As per the DVDFab website, here is a list of players/media that currently support Cinavia:
Blu-ray/media players that use Cinavia:
* Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) firmware 3.10 or higher
* Pioneer BDP-V6000
* Marantz UD5005
* LG BDP550 (fw: 8.31.283.C)
* Denon DBP-1611UD
Cinavia protected Blu-ray discs:
* The Losers (Warner Brothers, Jul 20, 2010) (English track only)
* The Karate Kid (Sony, Oct 5, 2010) (most of the tracks)
* The Other Guys (Sony, Dec 14, 2010) (English track only)
* Resident Evil: Afterlife 2D (Sony, Dec 28, 2010) (English track only)
* Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (Sony, Dec 28, 2010) (English track only)
* Salt (Sony, Dec 21, 2010) (English track only)
* The Social Network (Sony, Jan 11, 2011) (English track only)
* Takers (Sony, Jan 18, 2011) (English track only)
Cinavia protected DVD discs:
Takers (Sony, Jan 18, 2011) (English track only)