DRM decreases battery life in portable devices.

One more reason to be opposed to DRM technology in your electronic toys: It’s a drain on battery life:

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.

We found similar discrepancies with other PlaysForSure players. The Archos Gmini 402 Camcorder maxed out at 11 hours, but with DRM tracks, it played for less than 9 hours. The iRiver U10, with an astounding life of about 32 hours, came in at about 27 hours playing subscription tracks. Even the iPod, playing back only FairPlay AAC tracks, underperformed MP3s by about 8 percent. What I’m saying is that while battery life may not be a critical issue today, as it was when one of the original hard drive players—the Creative Nomad Jukebox—lasted a pathetic 4 hours running on four AA nickel-metal-hydride rechargeables (and much worse on alkalines), the industry needs to include battery specs for DRM audio tracks or the tracks we’re buying or subscribing. Yet, here’s another reason why we should still be ripping our music in MP3: better battery life, the most obvious reason being universal device compatibility.

I can hear folks demanding DRM in their products already: Loss of Fair Use rights and shortened battery life! Yes, please give me some of that right this instant! And while you’re at it, could you shove a red hot poker up my ass?

Yes, Daryl, I’m specifically mocking you.

Link via Boing Boing.

2 thoughts on “DRM decreases battery life in portable devices.

  1. The linked study is completely bogus.  They compare MP3 (128 kbit/s) to AAC (160) and WMA (192).  Surprise surprise, the lowest bitrates and lowest sound quality give you the longest battery life.  Stop the presses.

    Beyond that, the battery tests in question were done with the screen backlight off, volume turned down, and no user interaction with buttons and dials.  This is done to make differences in CPU usage as pronounced as possible.

    With “real-world usage” and comparing 128 kbit-to-128 kbit, the difference in battery life is going to be maybe 5%.  Big deal.

    No one is demanding that you buy DRM products, Les.  I know that I will be, because it allows me to take advantage of the lower prices which content providers are able to offer on un-copyable media.

    I imagine that most software and movie houses will eventually follow suit, because they’re tired of spending $10 million to produce a commercial software product or $50 million for a major movie, only to see freeloaders downloading it on BitTorrent a few weeks later.

  2. No one is demanding that you buy DRM products, Les.  I know that I will be, because it allows me to take advantage of the lower prices which content providers are able to offer on un-copyable media.

    You let me know when that uncopyable media shows up for a lower price. I’ll believe both when I see it.

    I imagine that most software and movie houses will eventually follow suit, because they’re tired of spending $10 million to produce a commercial software product or $50 million for a major movie, only to see freeloaders downloading it on BitTorrent a few weeks later.

    Again, I’ll believe that DRM is a wonder-solution when all the bittorrent sites shut down due to lack of new content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.