The HDCP Vision
A world completely free of DRM is the wishful thinking of pirates or the quixotic dream of the naive. A world without DRM is a world without premium content. You can look at the open source movement for inspiration, but at the end of the day, Linux wouldn't be as good as it is today if it didn't have to compete against the commercial Unix or BSD offerings, nor would MacOS X or Windows Vista be as good today if Linux weren't around.
The problem with DRM is that it hasn't been done correctly to date. Every implementation of DRM has only hurt honest users. More frustrating is that HDCP should
have been the first to prove that DRM could be done in a reasonable manner.
The original idea of HDCP was to stop casual copying of high-definition uncompressed digital video. Since the decryption/encryption had to be done in real-time, the goal was to make the algorithm simple. The fact that HDCP has been demonstrated by computer science researchers to be easily compromised provided that a handful of keys are leaked isn’t an issue. However, HDCP itself remains secure because its security is tied into licensing.
You can't buy the HDCP keys unless you agree not to use it in a recording device. The keys themselves are located in hardware, making it more difficult for casual users to crack. Movie studios were saying "we won't release digital HD content unless you electronics manufacturers guarantee that you won't build digital recording devices." The crypto ROMs, etc. were just ways to make this gentlemen's agreement formal.
In exchange for this gentlemen's agreement, enforced by relatively low-cost crypto ROMs, consumers should have been able to transparently enjoy HD content. Yes, early adopters of televisions would have to buy new TVs, but with HDCP, "advance warning" was available. Figuring out how to transcode content to portable players or other formats (i.e. a desktop PC or media server) would have been something to be addressed in the future (ultimately resulting in AACS and BD+). Remember, HDCP was simply intended to limit the creation of a high-definition VCR capable of recording “protected” content.
What ended up happening was that the graphics board manufacturers betrayed our trust, HDCP handshake protocols have been poorly implemented, and HDCP ended up being far from that “seamless” integration.
"Perfect DRM" already exists today. Perfect from both the perspective of consumers and the industry.