Want to use your web browser to stream video from services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and BBC iPlayer? You’ll need to put up with the DRM (Digital Rights Management) features used by those services — content owners want to make sure you don’t save or redistribute videos, watch them in countries where they don’t have redistribution rights, or otherwise do things on your own terms.
Once upon a time, the standard way to add DRM to a web browser was to install a third-party plugin such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. These days there’s a push toward building support right into the browser as a simpler, more secure solution. And while Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others have no problems with that, Mozilla’s been a bit of a holdout, since DRM is by its very nature closed source.
Rather than lose potential users who might flee to other browsers though, Mozilla has made a decision to enable support for DRM in upcoming versions of Firefox… but the company clearly isn’t happy about it. Mozilla’s Andreas Gal titles his blog post justifying the decision “Reconciling Mozilla’s Mission and W3C EME.”
Long story short, Mozilla’s approach is a little more open than anybody else’s. The non-profit is providing a sandbox for the DRM content to play in, which should help protect users from having code that they can’t inspect affect their computers in unexpected ways. And users can disable the DRM-specific features in Firefox.
But that’s not enough for some folks. It’ll likely be a few months before the new DRM system ends up in stable builds of Firefox.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Mozilla adds support for DRM-protected video streams to Firefox, but some are unimpressed
Author, blogger, and anti-DRM activist Cory Doctoro, for instance, would like to see more evidence that Mozilla had no choice but to make this move, and would like to see the group establish a formal policy. [The Guardian]
- Using Intel’s Bay Trail NUC as a media center with XBMCbuntu or OpenElec Linux distros
Intel’s tiny desktop computers could be used as digital signage or kiosk systems, low-power desktops… or living room PCs. One of the easiest ways to turn an NUC into a media center is to install a Linux distro with an emphasis on multimedia… but there are some pitfalls to that approach. Here’s an overview. [UMPC Portal]
- Leaked press renders give us the first good look at the upcoming LG G3
LG will unveil it’s next-gen flagship phone on May 27th… but the grapevine has been busy providing specs, pictures, and nearly everything else you’d like to know ahead of schedule. The phone’s expected to have a 5.5 inch WQHD display, a Snapdragon 805 CPU, and 3GB of RAM, among other features. [Phone Arena]
- Google Chromecast launches in Korea
This is the first time Google’s media streamer will be available in an Asian country. [Google Asia Pacific Blog]
- Linux Mint will now be tied to Ubuntu LTS releases
That means the next 3 versions of this popular Linux distribution will be based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. [Web Upd8]
- Rikomagic plans to launch a smartwatch
Honestly, at this point it’d be more surprising if a tech company announced they weren’t making a smartwatch. Anyway, this one’s designed to pair with a smartphone and display notifications and make calls. It can also display weather details and calendar appointments and act as a stopwatch and pedometer. [ArcTablet]
- Straight Talk’s $45 “unlimited” plans now include 3GB of high-speed data
For a while Straight Talk wouldn’t actually say how much bandwidth you had to blow through before you’d be throttled down to 2G speeds. Then the wireless carrier (which offers cheap plans for AT&T and T-Mobile compatible devices) said the limit was 2.5GB per month. Now everyone gets 500MB more for no additional fee. [Droid Life]