updated 05:25 am EST, Tue January 11, 2011
HD over HDMI only, analog dead by 2013
As of January 1 2011, all Blu-ray players that reach the market will be Image Constraint Token enabled as per the industry AACS Adopter Agreement [pdf]. What this means is that new Blu-ray players will only be able to output high definition content over HDMI. Film studios will be able to embed an Image Constraint Token on their Blu-ray discs restricting the Blu-ray player from outputting the image in HD over an analog output, such as component. Instead, images will be sent over component will be constrained to a maximum resolution of 540p.
The move is part of a strategy that is designed to move consumers to digital-only connectivity so that by 2013 all analog outputs on Blu-ray players will be phased out. Studios have not been permitted to embed this technology into Blu-ray discs prior to December 31 2010, so discs purchased prior to this date will not have their image constrained. However, users will now need to look for the Image Constraint Token on the packaging of Blu-ray discs released after January 1 2011, if they still rely on component out for their Blu-ray player. [via Engadget]