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DRM shortens player battery life

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    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.

    Yet another thing DRM doesn't improve.

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    Well, DRM files are encrypted, so the player must activate another processor to decrypt the files, thus using up more power... but a 4-hour loss seems excessive.

    Next thing you know the players will turn on the processor by default just to balance the battery-life out.

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    I call shenanigans.

    Seems more like an MP3 vs. WMA comparison. A more credible test would be if they compared DRM WMA vs. non-DRM WMA at the same bit-rate and found a huge disparity. This just smacks of a rigged test. Not that I'm a big fan of DRM myself, but I'd rather see some honest reasons for being anti-DRM.

    Of course, WMA is bound to be more processor intensive because it is supposed to be better quality at lower bitrates than MP3 (same with AAC and Ogg for that matter).

    I'd like to see someone perform a non-rigged test and come back with the results.

  • User profile image

    I don't find this hard to believe. DRMed WMA files take a noticeably longer time to start than mp3 files on my Creative Nomad Zen Extra. It takes longer to boot as well with the recent PlaysForSure firmware upgrade too.

    I'm more bugged by the need to plug in and phone home on a regular basis for those WMA files though, so I don't listen to them as much.

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    Though  Antitorgo makes a good point Smiley

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