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DRM is a Battery Killer

Let’s just add this to the list as one more reason to dislike DRM. Cnet has found that listening to PlayForSure DRM runs the batteries down 25% faster than if you listen to music with no software rights management on it.

Those who belong to subscription services such as Napster or Rhapsody have it worse. Music rented from these services arrive in the WMA DRM 10 format, and it takes extra processing power to ensure that the licenses making the tracks work are still valid and match up to the device itself. Heavy DRM not only slows down an MP3 player but also sucks the very life out of them. Take, for instance, the critically acclaimed Creative Zen Vision:M, with a rated battery life of up to 14 hours for audio and 4 hours for video. CNET tested it at nearly 16 hours, with MP3s–impressive indeed. Upon playing back only WMA subscription tracks, the Vision:M scored at just more than 12 hours. That’s a loss of almost 4 hours, and you haven’t even turned the backlight on yet.  

Not sure what the final straw is going to be for DRM. Most people don’t really understand the full ramifications of DRM, but if it affects the user’s experience, that is when critical mass may push for reduction or removal of all of this. It can’t happen soon enough. So, I guess the solution is to rip songs off your own CD’s that don’t have such software on them. Maybe the explosion of unprotected music out there in order to save battery life will prod the RIAA in the right direction.


Posted by Jeff


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