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Saturday, May 14, 2011

What is Cinavia?

Up until about 2 weeks ago I had never experienced Cinavia. I made a backup of my wife's blu-ray copy of The Tourist and quickly discovered that if I played the backup on my PS3, the audio track would cut out after 20 minutes and display a nasty message about copyright protection and Cinavia. Needless to say I was interested, and not impressed at the same time. Actually, the words I used at the time were "what the f**k is this crap!"

cinavia audio mute message on ps3 movieAfter looking online at numerous forums I learned that Cinavia is an audio watermark that has been applied to both the theatre, and retail releases of certain movies. The watermark is a group of sound signals that are not detectable to the human ear, but have source information embedded in them. This source information tells the player what type of movie it is and what types of devices are allowed to watch them. For instance, my backed up copy of the tourist was compressed and converted to a smaller movie file so that I could stream it to my PS3, without the need to insert the actual blu-ray disc. During the compressing and converting, the inaudiable Cinavia watermark remained intact and once my PS3 started playing the movie file it was advised that the source was a blu-ray. The PS3 knew that the file was not a blu-ray disc so it allowed the Cinavia software to mute the audio. This will work the same with pirated movies too, as there is currently no (free) way to decode the Cinavia protection. Keep in mind that blu-rays are the obvious target, but theatre releases and DVD's are getting Cinavia now too.

Now I'm not normally big on piracy and whatnot as I like freeware and sticking it to the man (Bill Gates mostly). However this Cinavia business has pissed me off as they have prevented me from backing up my legitamitly purchased blu-ray movies. I should have the right to do whatever I want with my store bought movies (aside from distribution of course) without having to check if it has copy protection before I rip it. I suspect they will quit with the "free digital copies" now too because they don't want unprotected versions of the movie floating around.

cinavia watermark logoAt this point, after hours of reading I have only come up with three, currently working solutions to Cinavia. If you have a Cinavia protected blu-ray you will need to copy, convert and compress the movie as usual, but swap out the blu-ray audio track with the same DVD audio track. The reason this works is because a lot of the DVD counterparts have not yet received Cinavia protection and once you have a Cinavia-free audio track, the problem dissapears. A second solution is to get yourself a copy of DVDFab as they claim to be able to remove the Cinavia protection, however I have not personally tested it. The third solution is to play your movie files/discs with a Cinavia-free player. The PS3 for instance has Cinavia firmware built in (as of early 2010) but a lot of older model, non-updated blu-ray and DVD players (like the Xbox 360) will not have the Cinavia software and will ignore the Cinavia watermark. That's all I got, at least until some sly hacker can decode the signals and generate an open source crack for Cinavia. I, like you, am waiting patiently.

IaN

1 comment :

  1. there is an open source crack for a while now. www.cinexhd2.com

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