DVD and Analog copy protection on Vista

I brought along my tiny Sony VGN-T160P on my trip with me to Charlotte as I didn’t want to lug around my Thinkpad T60p which is my normal workhorse.  On the Sony I have Vista installed along with IE8 Beta, Firefox 3 RC1 and the full Office 2007 suite.   Although Vista doesn’t scream on it, it’s completely usable for what I need it for and since it also has a built-in DVD drive it seemed to make it a great travel companion for this trip.

My plane takes off from Seatac and I fire up the notebook to do a  bit of work.  Powerpoint, Excel and Word perform flawlessly, so no surprises there.

After I finish my work, I pop in a DVD I brought with me to watch on the remainder of the flight.  The previews play as well as the top-level menu on the DVD. However, as soon as I start to play the main movie, Windows Media Player stops and throws up this error dialog that says:

“Windows Media Player cannot play this DVD because it is not possible to turn on analog copy protection on the output display.  Try installing an updated driver for your video card.”

Canot play this DVD because it is not possible to turn on analog copy protection on the output display.  Try installing an Updated driver for your video card

“copy protection on my analog display”? WTF?!  So looks like there is some copy protection vista requires to be built into the video driver in order for me to even play DVDs.  This is was a surprise to say the least since I have the latest drivers installed.  There doesn’t seem to be any workaround to this that I can find. Ugh.

So I was movie-less the rest of the flight and luckily had my Zune so I could rock out to the latest Ladytron and M83 albums on my Zune.

I got to my hotel room later in the day and did some digging and found that the error message is due to my graphics card (Intel 82852) and corresponding driver don’t comply with the HDCP standard.  I tried finding updated drivers for Vista on the Intel site with no luck.

I would’ve expected this type of DRM/copy protection to only apply with external display outputs and not my laptop’s LCD.  Anyone have a workaround?

Update (5/30/2008): I found a work around!