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People are a tizzy about some ‘magical’ technology NBC got Microsoft to put into its Zune to prevent ‘unauthorized’ episodes from playing. Of course, a he-said, she-said spat ensued, and they’re probably both lying. Anyway, this magic isn’t, it’s just watermarking. It’s well-defined how to make this unnoticeable and non-trival to remove. NBC just adds watermarking to the shows before they air, the Zune detects the watermark, and refuses to play the file unless there’s also an authorization key.

The trick with this approach is that it’s 100% DRM; hardware player support is required, and any other player will not have a problem. Also of note, this does nothing to stop copying, it’s just a revenue-enforcement model and is anti Fair-Use.

Nah, neither GE nor Microsoft would do something like that… good on Apple for refusing to play Evil Ball.