AMX Caves to DVD CCA, Drops MAX Server

AMX denies that its MAX media server violates a CSS license agreement with the DVD CCA, but drops the product anyway.

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AMX is the latest casualty of the DVD CCA, which recently notified the company that its MAX product line “is non-complaint with the provisions and conditions required in the current CSS License Agreement.”

CSS (Content Scramble System) is the encryption scheme that protects copyrighted DVDs; the DVD CCA (Copy Control Association) is the organization that licenses the technology.

AMX denies the DVD CCA’s claim, but rather than fight the association, AMX has elected to kill MAX. The line includes more than a dozen Linux-based servers that could rip and store copy-protected DVDs, and distribute the content to multiple client devices.

It’s the same issue currently facing Kaleidescape, which has chosen to meet the DVD CCA in court. Then again, DVD servers are Kaleidescape’s bread and butter, whereas the MAX Media Server is just one small product in the vast AMX repertoire—and not an overwhelmingly popular one at that.

AMX began marketing MAX in 2003, when it acquired Media Access Solutions (MAS), the two-person company that developed the media server technology.

When Kaleidescape was sued in 2005, industry watchers wondered why the DVD CCA would go after the little guy rather than AMX, with its deeper pockets. Most believed that Kaleidescape, with its strong media-server brand, would send a stronger message to the industry.

In any case, not long after AMX launched the MAX brand, the company aimed the product at commercial facilities, primarily for digital signage applications in which the customers owned the content. For that reason, AMX CEO Rashid Skaf told CE Pro back then that he was not concerned about the DVD CCA.

The MAX servers, which have gained little traction in the home, have gone the way of recently departed servers from SunfireEscientColorado vNetImergeXperinet.

If AMX got a notice from the DVD CCA, did other manufacturers of DVD server products?

Notice Regarding MAX Discontinuation

RICHARDSON, Texas – July 1, 2010 – AMX Sales, World Partners and Manufacturing Representatives,

On April 12th AMX received notification from the DVD Copy Control Association that they believe our MAX product line is non-complaint with the provisions and conditions required in the current CSS License Agreement. AMX disagrees with the assertions made by the DVD CCA.

In an effort to avoid any negative impact to our customers, AMX will no longer offer any products in the MAX Content Server line.

Product Discontinuance Notices will be issued today for the affected products and they will immediately be removed from the AMX product portfolio. AMX will honor normal warranty services for existing systems.

Thank you,
Robert Noble
Chief Technology Officer
AMX

From the CE Pro Archives: CEDIA Daily, Sept. 2003

AMX Acquires MAS

In an effort to rapidly add content management to its suite of control systems, AMX acquired Media Access Solutions, the up-and-coming developer of several multimedia servers. Founded in 2000 in Ridgefield, N.J., MAS provides solutions for storing, organizing and accessing CDs and DVDs. For the past year, AMX—along with Crestron and Destiny Networks—has worked with MAS to create drivers for integration. In the end, AMX decided to buy the two-man shop.

“It’s part of our effort to create integrated content services, with applications, photo albums, music and other content,” says Rashid Skaf, executive vice president of Richardson, Tex.-based AMX. “What we bought [in MAS] is the basic foundation.”

As for MAS, co-founders Roni Evron and Ben Rosner are delighted to be part of the AMX team. “Dealers always loved our service and attention—we’d stay up till 2:00 in the morning to give them what they needed—but it was burning us out,” says Rosner.

AMX has begun to build on the MAS platform with a line of integrated content servers called MAX. (Get it? MAS plus AMX?) MAS will continue to support Crestron, Destiny and other companies wishing to interface with its multimedia servers.

At CEDIA, MAS products are on display at the MAS booth (822), AMX (108) and Crestron (222).

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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