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View Poll Results: If you had the freedom of choice, which way would you go?
MTP 32 13.28%
UMS/MSC 159 65.98%
I don't care, just as long as it works. 50 20.75%
Voters: 241. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-13-2006, 09:01 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default MTP vs. MSC (UMS) <-- the great debate

Hi folks:

I wanted to take a moment to address what is becoming a popular discussion in several areas here - mass storage (UMS) versus media transfer protocol (MTP) support in devices. I should point out that I work at Microsoft in the Digital Media Division of Windows Client, and wrote many of the PlaysForSure requirements for portable devices. I was also a member of the MS team that cooperated with iriver on the development of the Clix.

Firstly, let me correct a couple of popular misconceptions about MTP:

1) Yes, you can drag and drop files to and from MTP devices connected to a PC just like you can with UMS. On Windows XP you need to have WMP10/11 installed in order to have the MTP driver on your system. Windows Vista will ship with native MTP support, obviously. With WMP11, I can drag albums to and from devices, I can copy non-media content to my device (data taxi) and I can double-click and execute content from a portable device.

2) If you want, you can rearrange the folders on your device using the Windows Shell Extension (Windows Explorer). Try it - I just did on a Clix, by creating a "Country Music" folder and then dragged all my country content to that folder. I disconnected and then browsed and played my content back on the device just like before. Regardless, this is a device implementation issue - not MTP - but there is nothing about the protocol that disallows this.

3) UMS is less intuitive than MTP because the average person in the street doesn't connect their music player to their computer and expect to see it pop up as "E:\". Most of us in this forum are pretty experienced in this stuff, and have lived through the UMS days - new users however, shouldn't have to. They should plug their device in and see an icon representing that device.

4) MTP is being standardized in the USB-IF in exactly the same fashion that Mass Storage Class was standardized. Actually, I'm the chair of that effort - so if you have any questions, please let me know. The point is - anyone can implement MTP; it is file system, operating system and DRM mechanism agnostic.

5) MTP enables Windows Media DRM. Now, I understand that DRM is a sensitive issue, and that some folks want to avoid DRM like the plague. No worries - heck I rip my own personal CDs in unprotected format for my own personal use, but having an MTP DAP doesn't impact my desire to use either DRM'd, clear, or mixed content. If I had a UMS device then I'd never be able to purchase content online from the major stores like Urge, Napster, Rhapsody, etc...

6) PlaysForSure does not require devices to support only MTP - UMS can be implemented too, but under certain conditions that prevent newbies from transferring content via MTP, switching to UMS and then calling tech support because they can't find/play their content

7) Device vendors are trying to build products which will generate the fewest support calls. Retailers are trying to sell products which generate the fewest returns. Overwhelmingly high return numbers on UMS devices (which were returned and swapped for iPods in a very large percentage of cases) meant that vendors switched to MTP support and retailers started to strongly support PlaysForSure. Don't forget that in all cases, Microsoft is a partner in this technology with device vendors and retailers, along with consumers.

I hope that clarifies things somewhat. Happy to answer questions or respond to comments to the extent that I'm (obviously) able to.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2006, 11:59 AM
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DLF DLF is offline
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Default Thanks, DaveMac-MS, for the post. And the clix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
Hi folks:

I wanted to take a moment to address what is becoming a popular discussion in several areas here - mass storage (UMS) versus media transfer protocol (MTP) support in devices. I should point out that I work at Microsoft in the Digital Media Division of Windows Client, and wrote many of the PlaysForSure requirements for portable devices. I was also a member of the MS team that cooperated with iriver on the development of the Clix.
I've already offered my thanks to Sean Alexander for turning me on to the clix at just the right time, so now I offer them to you as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
Firstly, let me correct a couple of popular misconceptions about MTP:

1) Yes, you can drag and drop files to and from MTP devices connected to a PC just like you can with UMS. On Windows XP you need to have WMP10/11 installed in order to have the MTP driver on your system. Windows Vista will ship with native MTP support, obviously. With WMP11, I can drag albums to and from devices, I can copy non-media content to my device (data taxi) and I can double-click and execute content from a portable device.
When I double-click content on my clix from within WMP11, I get nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
2) If you want, you can rearrange the folders on your device using the Windows Shell Extension (Windows Explorer). Try it - I just did on a Clix, by creating a "Country Music" folder and then dragged all my country content to that folder. I disconnected and then browsed and played my content back on the device just like before. Regardless, this is a device implementation issue - not MTP - but there is nothing about the protocol that disallows this.
Yes, this works. But the key word is "browsed," as the files come over but are not properly indexed on the player, nor does the album art come with them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
3) UMS is less intuitive than MTP because the average person in the street doesn't connect their music player to their computer and expect to see it pop up as "E:\". Most of us in this forum are pretty experienced in this stuff, and have lived through the UMS days - new users however, shouldn't have to. They should plug their device in and see an icon representing that device.
I agree completely. But is there no way to do this with UMS? It MUST look like a removable drive? It seems like making the icon different could be done....

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
4) MTP is being standardized in the USB-IF in exactly the same fashion that Mass Storage Class was standardized. Actually, I'm the chair of that effort - so if you have any questions, please let me know. The point is - anyone can implement MTP; it is file system, operating system and DRM mechanism agnostic.
If my understanding is correct (and I'm not guaranteeing that it is), then MSC is Windows implementation of UMS. The latter is the cross-platform standard. Will MTP be MS Windows-only, or will something like it work on Linux/Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
5) MTP enables Windows Media DRM. Now, I understand that DRM is a sensitive issue, and that some folks want to avoid DRM like the plague. No worries - heck I rip my own personal CDs in unprotected format for my own personal use, but having an MTP DAP doesn't impact my desire to use either DRM'd, clear, or mixed content. If I had a UMS device then I'd never be able to purchase content online from the major stores like Urge, Napster, Rhapsody, etc...
If you had a device that worked exclusively in UMS mode, that's true. I think most of us favor consumers being given a choice of MTP or UMS modes. The latter might not even be known to the newbies, only the power users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
6) PlaysForSure does not require devices to support only MTP - UMS can be implemented too, but under certain conditions that prevent newbies from transferring content via MTP, switching to UMS and then calling tech support because they can't find/play their content
Good. See comment on #5, above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
7) Device vendors are trying to build products which will generate the fewest support calls. Retailers are trying to sell products which generate the fewest returns. Overwhelmingly high return numbers on UMS devices (which were returned and swapped for iPods in a very large percentage of cases) meant that vendors switched to MTP support and retailers started to strongly support PlaysForSure. Don't forget that in all cases, Microsoft is a partner in this technology with device vendors and retailers, along with consumers.
I don't know about all that. It seems following that logic would mean that Windows and Office should have far fewer features than they do, in order to reduce the number of support calls and the complexity of their use for PC newbies. And it would mean that single-purpose devices (e.g., only for web-surfing/Email) would have far fewer returns than full-featured PCs do. But neither of these things are correct, so by implication I'm not sure I can agree with your premises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
I hope that clarifies things somewhat. Happy to answer questions or respond to comments to the extent that I'm (obviously) able to.

Cheers, Dave.
Cheers, from another Dave.
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2006, 01:54 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default Reply to DLF... and you're welcome! :)

Hi DLF - let me respond to your comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
I've already offered my thanks to Sean Alexander for turning me on to the clix at just the right time, so now I offer them to you as well.
No worries Dave - spread the word, the Clix is a great device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
When I double-click content on my clix from within WMP11, I get nothing.
Sorry, I meant in Windows Explorer. We call that the Shell Extension. A new feature of the MTP support we built into WMP11 is that when you "Start Key + E" or otherwise open My Computer and then navigate to the device, if you have executables or files associated with applications (a Word doc for example), then you can double click on them to launch. But, I should point out that this isn't a "new feature" of MTP - rather an implementation feature in WMP11 that wasn't introduced until now.

Maybe I should clarify that Windows XP didn't ship with MTP drivers. MTP works on XP because it is a component of WMP10 and/or 11. It works downlevel through an installable update. Vista will ship with native MTP support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
Yes, this works. But the key word is "browsed," as the files come over but are not properly indexed on the player, nor does the album art come with them.
Can you be a little more specific on what you mean by the files are not indexed correctly? I copied over a bunch of content by drag'n'drop and they seem to index just fine on the device.

As for album art, well without MTP album art would be a much bigger problem. In fact, I'm not aware of any UMS device that supports album art - if anyone knows of any, I'd love to check it out. With MTP, album art is part of the album object on the device - which is populated either by an embedded jpg, separate album art file or a download from a media server. Without MTP, and it's concept of objects, this functionality doesn't work - of course, not to say that it couldn't be done with UMS - but do you really want a low powered device like a DAP doing the grunt work of parsing and extracting album art from media files on the fly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
I agree completely. But is there no way to do this with UMS? It MUST look like a removable drive? It seems like making the icon different could be done....
Well, the icon is just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, you could make the icon appear like the Clix icon does today, but it still appears as a disk drive which is confusing to new users, plus you don't get all the other benefits associated with MTP such as album art, DRM, device control, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
If my understanding is correct (and I'm not guaranteeing that it is), then MSC is Windows implementation of UMS. The latter is the cross-platform standard. Will MTP be MS Windows-only, or will something like it work on Linux/Mac?
Actually no - MSC (Mass Storage Class) is the official USB-IF name for what is commonly referred to here as UMS. Microsoft's implementation is that of the MSC USB-IF specification, which is the same specification I believe other operating system vendors have based their MSC implementations on too. So, UMS=MSC. I really don't know who invented the term "UMS" or where it came from, but in proper USB-IF parlance, the correct term is MSC.

MTP has never been Windows only, and this will only be underscored when it becomes a USB-IF standard. Almost no devices that implement MTP use Windows operating systems (ie: the Clix, Zen Vision:M, Z5, etc...) and I know of several implementations of MTP on other operating systems - such as one on PalmOS for their Treo SmartPhones.

MTP as a specification is file system, operating system and DRM system agnostic - and should an implementation of it be desired on Mac/Linux, there is no reason why that couldn't be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLF
I don't know about all that. It seems following that logic would mean that Windows and Office should have far fewer features than they do, in order to reduce the number of support calls and the complexity of their use for PC newbies. And it would mean that single-purpose devices (e.g., only for web-surfing/Email) would have far fewer returns than full-featured PCs do. But neither of these things are correct, so by implication I'm not sure I can agree with your premises.
Yup, I understand your thinking - but complex operating systems and business productivity software are very different from consumer electronics devices. I'm not saying that consumer electronics devices should have fewer features (quite the opposite - MTP enables far more features than MSC), but just that any new features introduced by vendors must take into consideration the support cost.

Without inappropriately sharing numbers, MSC devices have typically generated significant support calls and retail store returns. The introduction of MTP and other PlaysForSure requirements has dramatically reduced the support and retail return rates of these devices and thus the "exchange rate" for iPods. Without this being the case, PlaysForSure and MTP wouldn't have the strong support of retail that is presently the case.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2006, 05:55 PM
SilverBlade SilverBlade is offline
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I for one would only buy a UMS device. I don't purchase any of my music online (I rip from CD's, less hassle that way). Also, MTP-only players won't be detected in non-PC systems. Like USB shelf stereos and USB car stereos (which I'm planning on purchasing, and purchased an mp3 player to eventually connect to a USB car stereo).
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2006, 06:28 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default USB in shelf hi-fi systems and cars

That's a fair argument - if you only plan to rip CDs and don't ever plan to use subscription or download services. However, an MTP device doesn't force you into making that decision at the time of purchase.

Additionally, not many people have PCs with multiple OSes in their house, and of those that do - even fewer wish to keep separate libraries on each PC and load their single device individually from each one.

The first MTP/USB enabled shelf hi-fi has already shipped, and there are several models of car stereo that support MTP. Sure, they all support MSC as well - but, insert a 4Gb MSC thumbdrive with no metadata database (which MTP supports) and see how poor an experience content browsing is. Oh, and for folks who prefer to pay $14.95/mo for all the music they can possibly consume, that content will only be playable in the car/home over USB with products that support MTP.

So - everyone has their own scenarios that they care about, and I agree with you that there'll be some folks who can get by with MSC only devices. But for the vast majority who don't know about DRM, don't care or don't want to have to make a decision at purchase time about what their music consumption patterns will be like a year from now - I still believe that MSC-only devices won't cut it.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #6  
Old 06-22-2006, 07:06 AM
Rheve Rheve is offline
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Hi,

Two quick comments:
- as of today their is NO way to use and MTP device with a Mac or Unix system.
- your argument
Quote:
3) UMS is less intuitive than MTP because the average person in the street doesn't connect their music player to their computer and expect to see it pop up as "E:\". Most of us in this forum are pretty experienced in this stuff, and have lived through the UMS days - new users however, shouldn't have to. They should plug their device in and see an icon representing that device.
This is a false argument and you know it. It is extremelly easy to have a specific application starting when plugging in an UMS drive. I use an autorun.inf file that allow me to have a specific icon and a specific name for my U10. So this is not a UMS issue, it is an implementation issue.
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2006, 07:12 AM
Rheve Rheve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
MTP as a specification is file system, operating system and DRM system agnostic - and should an implementation of it be desired on Mac/Linux, there is no reason why that couldn't be done.
Just a quick question to an MTP expert: what certificate would be used in Linux? All MTP devices must have a certificate. How can you get a certificate for an operating system that is open source, meaning that anybody could have modify it?

I agree that technically speaking adding MTP support (or any other DRM system by the way) is feasible on Linux. But I have a lot of doubts you could do that in an "open source" environment.

Best regards,
Rheve

P.S. Sorry for my previous comment, I didn't noticed the issue of Linux/Mac was already raised.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2006, 01:09 PM
Yogi76 Yogi76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS

As for album art, well without MTP album art would be a much bigger problem. In fact, I'm not aware of any UMS device that supports album art - if anyone knows of any, I'd love to check it out. With MTP, album art is part of the album object on the device - which is populated either by an embedded jpg, separate album art file or a download from a media server. Without MTP, and it's concept of objects, this functionality doesn't work - of course, not to say that it couldn't be done with UMS - but do you really want a low powered device like a DAP doing the grunt work of parsing and extracting album art from media files on the fly?
I've been searching everywhere for some information on how album art is converted during an MTP sync. I recently purchased a Toshiba Gigabeat S60 Portable media center and all the albums that I have used Windows Media Player's "Find Album Info" feature have album art that syncs fine. However, albums that I have manually added album art using WMP11's drag and drop method do not sync the album art over the MTP transfer. Using Windows Explorer, I have noticed that for the albums that have album art that does transfer, the AlbumArt_{... files have a filename with a long string of hex characters. However, the filenames of the AlbumArt_{... files for albums I used WMP11 drag and drop to paste album art contain only a sting of zeroes. The only way I can get album art to show on the Gigabeat is to add the .jpg file to the ID3 tag of the song. This is a pain nevermind the fact that this would add some heft to my music library. Will a future version of WMP11 code the AlbumArt_{... files correctly so that they transfer to the .alb files on the Gigabeat?
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2006, 01:41 PM
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dfkt dfkt is offline
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A very personal view:

I would never buy a device that forces me to use anything as horrible as Windows Media Player to load a perfectly normal external harddrive/flash-memory with audio. I know, I know - I could use Explorer - but I can't - since my main machine runs Windows 2000. It can't run WMP10/11 anyways. And Foobar/Winamp/MPC/VLC are lightyears ahead of WMP.

I've been using Windows Explorer/Nautilus/Konqueror/CLI to transfer files all my (computer-)life, and it's always been the easiest and fastest way.

I want to move audio from/to my iAudio/Samsung? I use Explorer.
I want to move stuff from/to an external HDD? I use Explorer. No difference.
I want to move photos from my digicam to my computer? I use Explorer - PTP is the ancestor of MTP, but it just works - on Win2K, Ubuntu, Gentoo, whatever.

Album art is no reason for me to buy into a locked, user-unfriendly system.
I'll rather wait until someone builds a DAP that just displays any JPEG/PNG/GIF that's in the same folder as the music (like the great Tag & Cover plugin for Winamp). And, btw, the open-source, UMS Rockbox operating system displays album-art without problems.

And ID3 navigation might be nice for some people with an unorganised audio collection, but I prefer folders (remember, Explorer?) by far. It's faster and more intuitive to me. ID3 tagging seems rather unreliable, I've seen the messed up collections of friends, where albums have been seperated, each track in a new folder. That doesn't happen with folders - the same way on my DAP, as I have them on my computer.

And, no, I will never buy music online. It just leads to frustration when one upgrades to another device, one that doesn't understand the DRM-crap that worked on the former device. And the CDs I ripped myself sound better anyways.

I won't support an industry that only produces annoyances and hindrances for the customer, then saying, "It's for the best of the customers."

Finally, what could be more idiot-proof than Explorer? Saying MTP is better for the 'unexperienced' user just means luring the unsuspecting newbie indirectly into the DRM trap.

Maybe this all will change in the future, when MTP might become a 'real' standard that's supported by any Windows/*nix/BSD/Mac operating system out of the box (I know, I know, libmtp...). And I wouldn't count on too many hardware manufacturers giving their customers the choice of switching between UMS/MTP, or even file-browsing/ID3-browsing. Look at the terrible Zen Vision:M - oh, yeah, you can have an MTP partition and an UMS partition - but you can't play music from the UMS partition.

Building devices for the lowest common denominator (ie. the dumbest user) means leaving experienced users behind. Even if MTP isn't meant to be completely evil, it can be used for great evil...
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2006, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt

And, no, I will never buy music online. It just leads to frustration when one upgrades to another device, one that doesn't understand the DRM-crap that worked on the former device. And the CDs I ripped myself sound better anyways.
You can get DRM-free music online. Check out Emusic. It's usually referred to as having "independent artists" but it actually has "independent labels" who sometimes have very well-known musicians. (John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck pop into my head.)

The screen you get at www.emusic.com makes it look like you have to sign up to see what they have, but you don't. Scroll down to the "About" link.
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2006, 07:19 PM
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Thanks MusicOnly, I know about Emusic, the infamous AllOfMP3, and the others. I see my CDs as a backup source - I can rip the music the way I want, and if my preferences change, I just re-rip my music again. I can scan the covers in the resolution that I choose, if I don't like it, I re-scan again.

Having a real, solid disc I bought fair and square, not only some bits and bytes transferred over the net, give me some security, some feeling that I really paid for something that's worth paying for.

At the moment, I feel EAC and LAME can't be beat (for my preferences) - not with all the Fraunhofers, Q-Designs, Xings (heh...) or even aoTuVs that are around.
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2006, 08:30 AM
slightlyseven slightlyseven is offline
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I totally understand the need created by the iPod for a standardization so that other players with smaller market share can build players that have a chance to compete. Users need consistent expectations for how these can work, and MSC is basic and easy. MTP offers some additional benefits, and I think that's great... but why kill some of the great benefits of MSC when it's not required?

Here's my example, that is totally killing any chance of MTP with me: Direct Playback.

My new Toshiba Gigabeat S60 cannot do this. It just can't. Not in WMP11, not in Winamp. This is basic stuff, that MSC can do and even the proprietary iPod. This would've been a deal-breaker for me. I cannot listen to my music, that I have on my player, connect to my PC, from my PC.

I only recently found out about the ability to execute a file from Windows Explorer, which is a poor substitute. This appears to copy the file first to my local temp file and then play from there. Not very intuitive... and that was the idea with MTP, right!?

I think the argument isn't that the benefits of MTP are bad. I like the option of DRMed music, even if I don't use it. If you don't, no loss. But it's the apparent "crippling" of the device features for no reason, such as direct playback, which serve to infuriate a few and do nothing for anyone else.
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2006, 07:47 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default MTP and false arguments

Hi Rheve:

Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. I've been traveling - in Europe now actually, and only now catching up to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheve
This is a false argument and you know it. It is extremelly easy to have a specific application starting when plugging in an UMS drive. I use an autorun.inf file that allow me to have a specific icon and a specific name for my U10. So this is not a UMS issue, it is an implementation issue.
Once again Rheve I really need to underscore the biggest challenge device vendors have - and that is successfully selling a DAP to a novice user with no returns, and no support calls. I can't stress enough that you, me, and most people on this forum are relative experts. And contrary to a previous comment, it is ABSOLUTELY the novices that vendors are seeking to attract - all those out there that haven't already sided with a player/DRM format/codec/online store/device. There's way more of them than us don't forget.

Sure, you can make changes to your OS with inf files to make a device look less like a disk drive, and more like a... well, device. But that is complex, non-trivial for the average consumer and a big workaround when devices in MTP mode will automatically be treated the right way.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2006, 07:53 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default MTP vs. DRM

Hi Rheve:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheve
Just a quick question to an MTP expert: what certificate would be used in Linux? All MTP devices must have a certificate. How can you get a certificate for an operating system that is open source, meaning that anybody could have modify it?
Actually, you're confusing MTP with DRM. MTP is entirely independent of any DRM, including Windows Media DRM. However, in Microsoft's Windows Media Player ecosystem, we require MTP to enable our DRM for transfers, streams, and other protected transactions.

So, MTP can be used with any number of DRM systems, or none at all. MTP could thus be ported to any number of operating systems - as it has to at least a couple non-Microsoft ones that I know of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rheve
I agree that technically speaking adding MTP support (or any other DRM system by the way) is feasible on Linux. But I have a lot of doubts you could do that in an "open source" environment.
Well, you've kind of answered your own question - and you're right. By it's very nature, it would be counter-productive to "open up" our DRM mechanism for open source implementation. It wouldn't remain a "protected" rights management solution for much longer at that point...

Cheers, Dave.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:13 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default DFKT's personal views... :)

Hi DFKT:

Thanks for your comments - and let me just say that I'm not here to magically convert everyone over to loving WMP11 or MTP - just to make sure we're debating with facts. You clearly have some passion around other products - rock on! But, let me make a couple of comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
I want to move photos from my digicam to my computer? I use Explorer - PTP is the ancestor of MTP, but it just works - on Win2K, Ubuntu, Gentoo, whatever.
Ahh... now be careful - MTP = PTP in SO many ways. PTP "just works" because it has been around for many years longer than MTP and so was native to the OS in versions later than WinME. If MTP had been native in WinME and all OS's since, you'd be having the same great experience you have with PTP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
Album art is no reason for me to buy into a locked, user-unfriendly system. I'll rather wait until someone builds a DAP that just displays any JPEG/PNG/GIF that's in the same folder as the music (like the great Tag & Cover plugin for Winamp). And, btw, the open-source, UMS Rockbox operating system displays album-art without problems.
Again - be very careful when you compare open source software to that made by an Apple or a Microsoft. We HAVE to follow very carefully laid out rules that the content providers give us in order to have the privilege of displaying album art. I know of at least a couple of... well, lets just say smaller apps/projects get album art inappropriately. You might say, as a consumer, "well why the hell do I care where the pic comes from?", but remember that it is property of the artist/publisher as much as the musical content - and they're VERY careful about how that artwork is used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
I won't support an industry that only produces annoyances and hindrances for the customer, then saying, "It's for the best of the customers."
And this is the beauty of the choice that is out there - you don't have to subscribe to music, or purchase DRM'd music if you don't want to. And if you have issues - take them up with the content owners, not the Microsoft's, Apple's, iriver's, Creative's, etc... of the world - the content owners are the ones whose policies it appears you disagree with, not us other folks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
Maybe this all will change in the future, when MTP might become a 'real' standard that's supported by any Windows/*nix/BSD/Mac operating system out of the box (I know, I know, libmtp...). And I wouldn't count on too many hardware manufacturers giving their customers the choice of switching between UMS/MTP, or even file-browsing/ID3-browsing. Look at the terrible Zen Vision:M - oh, yeah, you can have an MTP partition and an UMS partition - but you can't play music from the UMS partition.
I've said it several times in this forum and I'll say it again. MTP is becoming a "real standard", Microsoft is submitting it to the USB-IF for certification as a device class, just like MSC, PTP, HID and all the others. But frankly, it not yet being a standard really isn't holding up anyone else from developing it on PC OS's (because it is already on PLENTY of device OS's).

And again - device makers like MTP because of the support issues it removes from devices. I can't seem to stress this enough - MTP is MUCH easier for the average purchaser of a DAP. Simple as that. Not allowing switching saves them mega-$$$ on returns, support calls, etc... from the kind of customers that will never find this forum, and will never know what MSC or UMS stands for.

My personal opinion is that Creative did a great job with the Zen Vision:M because you can use mass storage (MSC) mode for copying files - especially if you want to carry them over to a Mac or Linux box, but... you will never accidentally copy music to the MSC partition and then not find it in the device database, or have it not work because it was DRM'd content, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
Building devices for the lowest common denominator (ie. the dumbest user) means leaving experienced users behind. Even if MTP isn't meant to be completely evil, it can be used for great evil...
Well, the fact remains that in almost every facet of consumer electronics - the "lowest common denominator" is the vast majority of users. So, I suppose until the vast majority of users don't want their device to "just work" out of the box and want to have to tinker with it for a while to set up inf files to map drives to applications, to elect to never use DRM content at the time of purchase etc... the device vendors will always opt for the best user experience for the masses.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2006, 08:24 PM
DaveMac-MS DaveMac-MS is offline
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Default Direct playback from devices over MTP?

Hi SlightlySeven:

Ahh, a great question here. And fair comments too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slightlyseven
I cannot listen to my music, that I have on my player, connect to my PC, from my PC.
Well, actually you can - but the file is copied to a temp location on your PC and then rendered in Media Player from there. And if it is DRM'd content, it will fail because you don't have licenses on your host pointing to that temp file.

Yup, it's broken - you're right. The point to remember is that with DRM'd content, this never worked, and I believe that this "streaming" doesn't work with iPod's on the Mac either. I'm traveling right now, and don't have my Mac handy to check - but that's my guess.

What you're really talking about is wanting to stream content from your device to a host without the file being copied and with the DRM licenses remaining on your device. This is being implemented today - and all future PlaysForSure devices will support this, but it is a double-edged sword - devices will need to support this technology (named "Play From Device" or just PFD) as well as hosts.

So, devices are coming (today the iriver H10's, a few of the RCA devices, a couple Philips devices, and others soon to be announced all support PFD) but what about hosts? Well, the Xbox 360 supports PFD as do a couple of aftermarket car stereos. The first OEM car to support it will ship soon, and there has already been announced one home stereo hi-fi system with USB and PFD host support included.

But... what you're asking is for the PC to be the host - to stream content from your device back to your PC. This isn't a highly requested feature since usually the device has been populated from that PC, so the content is already there. However, I fully appreciate that you might want to take your device to work, plug it in and stream content from the device through your PC 5.1 speakers - and not the PC that populated this device.

This is a great feature suggestion and I've passed it on to the relevant teams in WMP and Windows.

Cheers, Dave.
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2006, 09:17 PM
slightlyseven slightlyseven is offline
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Hi Dave. I appreciate the thoughtful and thorough responses and the open dialogue here. You also touched on my followup question -- why my Xbox360 is fully capable of playing the music on my Toshiba Gigabeat S60 but not a Windows XP PC. I did some research into the MS specs for PlaysForSure and hit the PlaysFromDevice spec. The interesting thing was that Microsoft seems to recognize this as critical functionality, as they state "Playback through a USB host device of content stored on a portable device is becoming a critical competitive feature for the portable device ecosystem." Unfortanately, it's an optional feature. Why this didn't make the cut for a second generation Portable Media Center running Microsoft's software I don't know.

In a scenario of a properly implemented play from device, would the MTP player be sufficient as a control device to authorize playback of DRMed content, as it would require the player to play?

I can't wait until I can plug in my portable media player into a car stereo head unit (via usb, not some proprietary cable/dock workup) and be able to control and play music from the device. That's better functionality than any of the aftermarket integrated solutions for the iPod. I think that's the kind of functionality I expect from a new generation of media players... I look forward to seeing that play out.
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  #18  
Old 07-07-2006, 06:41 AM
Rheve Rheve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMac-MS
Hi Rheve:
Actually, you're confusing MTP with DRM.
You're absolutly right. My mystake. However, I don't know of any implementation of MTP on Linux system. Or am I wrong (again ).

And can we imagine a product that uses MTP but is not "Play for Sure" certified, that is without DRM support?

Regards,
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  #19  
Old 07-07-2006, 07:45 AM
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dfkt dfkt is offline
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DaveMac-MS, thanks for taking the time to answer to my rant.

Glad you've seen it's all 'personal' statements. I'll probably have no beef with MTP once it's as 'invisible' as, say, PTP. This probably won't happen as long as I'm running Win2K - but in 2, 3 years all might change a lot.

If MTP is able to act as a normal external storage and I can drag'n'drop any files, like in UMS mode - documents, images, any audio files, doesn't matter if OGG, FLAC or MPC - and don't have to install anything on any machine, then I'm a happy camper. Oh, and for audio don't forget folder-structures instead of ID3-databasing... (The Zen Vision:M comes to mind again, where you have to create an UMS partition next to the MTP partition to drag'n'drop stuff - that can't be the most elegant solution - especially not for the 'uninitiated' user that wants his stuff to "just work".)

I see the paradox in my statement, too: MTP is designed to be 'invisible' to the customer, that's the whole point - I get it. But it's not so invisible to me at the moment, and it doesn't make my life easier.

Let's hope all changes for the better.

---

BTW: I wouldn't mind some changes/updates to the UMS standard as well. For example reading out SMART data or temperature values from external HDDs would be nice, like it's possible via IDE/SCSI.
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  #20  
Old 07-07-2006, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Well, the fact remains that in almost every facet of consumer electronics - the "lowest common denominator" is the vast majority of users. So, I suppose until the vast majority of users don't want their device to "just work" out of the box and want to have to tinker with it for a while to set up inf files to map drives to applications, to elect to never use DRM content at the time of purchase etc... the device vendors will always opt for the best user experience for the masses.

Cheers, Dave.
I liken this to comparing a Toyota Camry with a 3-series BMW: 99% of people can't discern, understand or appreciate why the latter is better, so why try to sell them on the higher-end, "niche" product if they simply don't care?
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