Tuesday, November 25, 2008

MPAA wants DRM in your Cable TV - Would Hit Millions of HDTVs

Another Title for this might be MPAA wants to close the "analog hole" - something I fear not because I want to be able to copy and share movies or shows, but because of the many problems this will create for HDTV owners and the interactivity of Video boxes and HTPCs.  This is a very important issues for readers of GeekTonic.

Ars Technica has an article that should put chills down your spine - and I don't mean the good kind of chills...  The MPAA is asking for something they call "Selectable Output Control" (SOC) which is a way of ensuring your set-top cable box can't show certain content on the analog output so you won't copy it.  Currently the FCC forbids video program distributors from employing SOC, but they are reviewing the issue and considering offering an exemption from the rules allowing them to insert the analog HD-braking DRM.  The studios via the MPAA are pusing for this and tieing the broadcast of HD movies prior to DVD release to this expemption.

The Consumer Electronics Association is reporting that if the FCC allows this waiver on Selectable Output Control, we'll see 20 Million HDTV sets (I would argue that number is low) unable to function as they were supposed to.  This would also end the Hauppauge HD-PVR functionality that I use with my HTPC on a daily basis.

Lots of acronyms in this story, but if you watch CableTV or care about DRM, this is a must read:

Via: Ars Technica - Trade group: video output limits will hit millions of HDTVs