The media industry doesn't like you

For a long time now the media industry has been at odds with consumers. Almost as long as we've been able to record and copy media, there have been ways to protect content which put us at a disadvantage.

VHS protection

It all began in the early 80s with the introduction of a form of protection called Macrovision. Macrovision was a type of anti-piracy measure that was introduced to VHS, after the industry lost various court battles to prevent the release of devices able to copy VHS tapes and record TV signals, which screwed up the picture on copies. But it didn't only affect copies – genuine consumers would sometimes have picture problems during normal playback. Pirates could easily work around the protection by adding bypass chips to their hardware. This meant that only people paying money for the content would be affected by the issues.

This form of copy protection was also implemented on DVD and Blu-ray. DVDs were incredibly annoying because of the large number of unskippable logos and adverts that you were forced to watch before playback began. It took only a few years for each format's encryption to be broken – leaving copies on every high-street corner and bittorrent server. Once again, the only people being inconvenienced by their films were those paying for them.

The government did of course try to block all of the bittorrent sites that shared copyrighted material but as short sighted as they are, to this day, all of them are still available via proxies.


Copy protection evolved from media onto devices themselves. HDCP is a form of encryption that prevents video streams from playing on devices that do not support it.

If you bought a 4K TV a few years ago or a 4K PC monitor recently you may be surprised to hear that you cannot watch 4K content from television providers or most online services such as Netflix. This isn't a limitation of your display hardware, no no no. It's because your device, and my 4K monitor, do not support HDCP 2.2. This form of encrypted anti-piracy protection is explicitly excluding me from watching content that I should be able to watch. 4K 60fps YouTube works perfectly. As do 4K streams that have been ripped from various sources. Once again, only the consumers paying for media are affected by the measures meant to prevent piracy.

We won't go into other forms of copy protection for now – don't get me started on Sony's rootkit audio CDs. I think it's suffice to say that DRM doesn't do anything besides cost money in implementation, frustration in usage, and has no effect on people that were looking to copy something anyway.

HD Ready Hard Drives

Moving on from copy protection, the industry wants to con you into buying things that you didn't realise weren't correct. For example – your HD Ready TV can't display an HD signal. It can downgrade it to 720p, a form of pauper's HD, but it can't play the full 1080p HD that you perhaps thought it could. This is a way to sell you cheap electronics for a similar price to the real thing and I find it very disingenuous.

Buying a shiny new 4TB hard disk? Fooled you! Only the storage media industry label things in multiples of 1,000 – literally everyone else does it by 1,024 which is a denary representation of the binary 2 to the power of 8. This means 4TB, or 4 trillion bytes, is actually only 3.64TB. I don't know about you, but losing 362GB from some labelling disparity is very, very annoying.

10,000 steps a day

There's no doubting that walking 10,000 steps a day is probably very good for you. But did you know that there is no scientific basis for this number? It was just pulled out of the air – nobody can tell you if 5,000 is good enough, or if 20,000 is better. 8 glasses of water a day? Made up. 5 fruit and veg a day? Made up. But you keep buying those pedometers, bottled water, and juicing machines.

Oh – detoxing? Made up.