Hackers claim to have made headway in cracking the HD DVD encryption code. Given what Microsoft plans for Vista with regard to DRM restrictions on "high value" content — nothing less than nerfing end-users' hardware non-stop — consumers need to have some arrows in their quiver versus the content mafia.
Talking with some tech savvy friends over the holidays led to the conclusion that Mp3 audio essentially lucked into "escaping" into the wild before anyone could build a fence around it. By the time anyone thought seriously about roping Mp3s in, the standard was too large and embedded — there was actually money to be made by keeping it wild.
The content dons are not going to make the same mistake twice. They are going to try to build in DRM even if it means degrading the performance of hardware for non-infringing uses — just to be safe.