Microsoft’s Windows 10 doesn’t just implement DirectX 12 or combine the GUI styles of Windows 7 and Windows 8 — it also implements a new DRM system for video and audio content. The low-level details of how that system functions are still unknown, but one thing we do know is that the PlayReady 3.0 system is based on and requires hardware DRM. Microsoft is positioning this as a necessity for 4K content, which could have significant impact on which Windows 10 PCs can play protected streams and which cannot.
Microsoft has kept some aspects of this system semi-secret — the public talk given at WinHEC about hardware DRM protection in Windows 10 cuts off just after the topic comes up — but we found the unredacted slides from the same presentation online. They don’t tell us everything, but we can draw some conclusions from what’s been published to-date.
Hardware DRM implementations in Windows 10
Microsoft PlayReady already controls content protection in Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs. It’s designed to be portable and cross-platform, which means PlayReady 3.0, like the other components of the Windows 10 ecosystem, will be available on both phones and laptops / desktops.