Did Hacker Break Next-Gen DVD Codes?

The battle of the two new DVD formats, that so far has led to consumer confusion and relatively few sales so far, is now dealing with a different kind of techno-headache this week: Although the evidence is not conclusive, an anonymous computer programmer may have broken the codes both for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc that are used to protect digital content.

HD DVD, however, appears to be more vulnerable to possible intrusion in the long-run, according to published reports. Several Web sites, including Red Orbit, say that an alleged hacker (known as "Muslix64") is claiming to have cracked the codes and has promised to provide more compelling evidence of his feat this week.

Both DVD groups have approached content protection in different ways, although both HD DVD and Blu-ray use the AACS (Advanced Access Copy System) encryption method. But the Blu-ray system reportedly adds a software-based component that permits modification of the copy protection system on new discs, should the original protection scheme be successfully hacked.