Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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Content protection errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

Content protection errors in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005

I have heard of several folks running into issues playing protected content (such as purchased songs/movies, or HBO television shows) after installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  As I described here, Update Rollup 2 installs an updated Digital Rights Management (DRM) redistributable package.  We are still investigating reports of content protection problems in order to identify root causes and provide fixes.  In the meantime, I wanted to offer some suggestions.

First, I highly encourage you to backup your licenses for protected content prior to installing Update Rollup 2.  You can do the following to backup licenses:

  1. Open Windows Media Player
  2. On the Tools menu, select Manage Licenses
  3. (optional) To change the backup location, click Change and then select a location where you want to store backup copies of your licenses
  4. Click Back Up Now

Note - there are some license issuers that will not allow you to store backup copies of their license files, so this backup process may not back up all licenses on your system.

Second, if you have already installed Update Rollup 2 without backing up licenses, and you are now unable to play protected content there is a knowledge base article that describes how to reset the DRM system on your computer.  There is one step that should be added to that article that is not there currently - before deleting the Windows Media DRM folder, you need to close any programs that might be holding files in that folder in use.  Specifically, make sure to close Media Player and Media Center, and run the command net stop ehRecvr to stop the Media Center Recording service immediately prior to trying to delete that folder.

Resetting DRM restores the ability to play protected content in most cases.  However, if you use these steps to reset the DRM system and do not have backup copies of your licenses, you will lose the ability to play any previously acquired protected content.  If you have content that you do not want to lose, I would encourage you to wait until we can identify and post a fix.  If you are not concerned about any previous content, I encourage you to try out the steps in the KB article - they are semi-complicated, but I have used them in the past and had some success.

There is a new hotfix available as of 4/14/2006 that is designed to fix protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005.  Please try out this hotfix if you have DRM/protected content playback issues in Update Rollup 2.

<update date="11/4/2005"> Added an additional step for the knowledge base article - stopping any processes that may have DRM files in use </update>

<update date="4/15/2006"> Added a link to a new DRM hotfix that is now available in case people find and read some of my older blog posts in an attempt to fix this type of issue </update>


  • Please guys fix this problem. I did a fresh install last night and went 2 WU and install everything. Now i get Restricted content from My premium channels.

    I only have a few protected files in WMP, with where stored on a second hard drive on my system.

    This needs to be fix now.
  • Wow...what an amazing waste of effort and resources seems to go towards protecting the Hollywood money machine. At all levels too, like this issue where both distribution-method/device-design companies such as Microsoft have to devote time and resources to troubleshoot MCE systems that not only don't add to the desired customer demands, but actually would be considered customers detractions. The waste continues with the the extra costs incurred by not only developers, but also by the end user. Costs incrurred backing up encrypted content or their encryption licenses. Time incurred maintaing a backup system and method to insure the ability to access their content. the grief, frustration, and disbelief that DRM methods even exist and can be so intrusive on a person's life. A mere four years ago, you could record the first season of the Soprano's with your VCR and not have to think twice about the show erasing itself 24 hours it recorded even though you wont be back from Easter weekend until Monday to watch it, or have it refuse to record at all because it thinks it can play on demand for you even though you want to watch it on the TV in your kitchen while wrting out some bills or have it tell you its not going to play on your parents machine when you get there, it will only play on yours and you forgot to bring your entire A/V setup with you.
  • I have lost access to HBO and Starz but not Showtime since upgrading to Rollup 2. I tried the KB you sited but no change. For what it's worth, I was also having trouble with Yahoo Music Unlimited previously (subscription files were incorrectly showing no syncronization allowed) and that KB resolved the issue.

    It's crap like this that makes me look seriously at MythTV again.
  • I bought a mce pc because I thought I could record a movie and transfer it to my psp to watch on the bus. Was I in for a surprise. I can't watch the movie off of my computer. I pay for the cable channels but I can't watch the movie where I want. Not only that but the mce recording isn't even that great a quality so I have no idea why it's being protected. I could hook up my vcr and get the same quality. Yet that wasn't protected. Are these people insane? Why is my life being made more difficult?
  • I bought the Microsoft MCE Keyboard because my other Microsoft Keyboard stopped working. The Keyboard requires the Rollup 1 pack to work, when I went to Windows Update it offered Rollup 2 so I took it. Then all my media stopped working, tv shows recorded on the 3 networks stopped working for example. I use System Restore to go back to a time previous to Update 2 and now my content works, but my keyboard doesnt....

    I guess the next step is to try Rollup 1 and wait for Rollup 3 <grin>.
  • i can't believe that first off, a google search revealed such little information about 'windows media restricted content hbo' and then i get this little blog of information. i was previously using an older computer with an ati aiw video card, and used their software which was pretty good. this new computer has an ati pcix card and came preinstalled with the windows media center software. i thought how it was a cool app, but have quickly become sick of it. then hbo stops working. then ati multimedia apps won't recognize my tv input anymore, and i figure this all has to do w/something from windows update.

    like soemoen else said, its my video card, and my cable box, i dont want this software doing all this crap to it. if only linux had better video card support.
  • I had the same issues with trying to watch HBO/PRISM. I fixed this by reinstalling the cyberlink decoder software(after reinstalling cyberlink I was able to watch HBO/PRISM) I tried the drm steps above but that didn't work and I was not about to reinstall my OS. Please let me know what type of decoder software you are using so we could see if we have this in common with our system. My guess is you have to install the decoder software last something in the os must be updating/overwriting this component. I am running a dell inspiron 6000 w/ windows media center 2005 rollup 2 and all the latest microsoft patches.
  • Since Rollup 2 I haven't been able to watch my recorded HBO series without getting the blue Protected Content screen. Fortunately, for now it only appears to happen with HBO programming. I love HBO but it's not worth the subscription price if I can't watch the shows when I actually have time to sit and watch. If this is going to become an issue with other programming, I would definitely have to reconsider using MCE... VCR's cost hardly anything these days.
  • Sorry man, this didn't work. I want my HBO back.

    I'm dumping MCE and switching to MediaPortal. Better program and my box will be back on my AD.
  • from what i've read (googled) it sounds like wmce went from an automatic decoder (like automatically disabled the ability to record hbo and watch it another television) to a 'wait-and-see' decoder.

    in other words, they put the responsibility on the networks to place some code in their broadcasts to label it as restrictive (i guess...). and if this is true, then some of the problem could be how hbo and wmce interpret this behavior, which is why this above fix of deleting and reinstalling codecs doesn't work. couldn't they just release some hbo codecs.
  • I upgraded to Rollup 2 and had the same problem... after 30 seconds or so, when viewing HBO or other premium channels on MCE, I would get content restricted blue screen.

    However, I ran the Windows Updates again and noticed there were POST ROLLUP 2 fixes, and applied them and the problem was solved.

    So if you're still getting this problem, you may want to run Windows Update again and see if it fixes the problem for you as well.
  • Is this going to get fixed? I am really frustrated, I have tried everything here and still get the error.
  • Hi LCC - we are still working on a fix for this content protection issue and hope to have it ready very soon. I'm sorry for the hassles here...

  • Are you kidding me? You posted this IN OCTOBER. It's christmas! I'm PAYING for HBO and I can't watch it? How do you think you're going to sell this product to the mass audience with things like this happening?

    I can deal with the notion that this kind of bug could happen in an update. MS and other business have gotten us used to the notion that updates that contain bug fixes and feature enhancements usually just contain more bugs.

    But the fact that you haven't released a fix for it yet is whacked. There should have been a fix within a few days. I hadn't gone looking for answers on this for several weeks, telling myself that if I lowered my expectations thinking you'd fix it by the end of the year that maybe I wouldn't be disappointed.

    Big surprise. Guess what, my new years resolution is to install all the alternatives to MCE and see which ones let me watch HBO.

    It's bullshit like this that makes me want to give bit-torrent a shot. Why bother getting my TV legally when it doesn't even work because Microsoft can't get it's act together.

  • I hate to have to agree with a rant, and I may have made Aaron's statement in a more tactful manner, but you've got to admit he's right on target.
    When can we expect a fix?
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