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Does HDCP Herald The End Of Time-Shifting? 247

Posted by Cliff
from the copy-protection-moves-to-hardware...again dept.
Kagato writes: "HDTV is starting to roll in many markets now, and the question on many peoples' minds is how do I record all this high quality content? Two years ago Panasonic made a HDTV recorder for the consumer market, but for some unknown reason the product was pulled from the market. Now JVC is bringing out its D-VHS recorder, but instead of using the conventional Y/Pr/Pb inputs they now use a DVI input. On the surface DVI (similar to firewire) is a good thing: high speed audio and video all on one cable. However, it seems the express reason for using DVI is for high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP). Hmm, sounds a lot like CSS..." One of the more disturbing aspects of HDCP is that it has a blacklist of devices that it will expressly not work with that can be updated by the manufacturer. If your VCR is on the blacklist...no video for you.

"In researching HDCP I've found that HDCP encrypts the content between the HDTV tuner and the Display and/or HDTV recorder. HDCP allows the content provider to choose if you have the right to record the programming that comes into your home. According to this article HDCP also allows supports a master lists of devices not to work with (a.k.a. Key Device Revocation). For example if the APEX of the HDTV recording world is unleashed the content provider can instruct your HDTV tuner not to send it any content. That's a least what I'm reading into it.

Are we on the verge of having our right to timeshift taken away? Will all the consumers have won with the Sony Betamax suit be lost in one swoop that is the DMCA and HDCP? Or, am I reading too much into this and the MPAA has our best interests in mind?"

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Does HDCP Herald The End Of Time-Shifting?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The last TV show I watched on a regular basis was Star Trek TNG. After that ended in May 1994, I decided to stop watching TV completely. My TV watching had been dwindling for months before that as my favorite shows slowly went away. I discovered music and later computers to occupy my time. It may also seem shocking to most people that I also haven't been to a movie theater since the summer of 1985 when I saw The Jewel of the Nile, which, like most movies, was a total waste of money to go see.

    I've come to see TV, sports and movies as low brow, garbage entertainemnt for the most part and a complete waste of your precious life. We exist in this world a mere blink of an eye and what do most people waste a very large amount of that precious time doing? We already waste a third of it asleep. Another nearly third at school or work. And the remaining third, we sit on the couch while our bodies turn to mush and our mind is irreversibly polluted with whatever trash Hollywood decides to throw at us. We're told what to think and how to act. The mindless millions are robots that can be programmed and told how to behave. If we didn't have to mow the lawn and cook and clean and do laundry, what would people do with that spare time? Watching even more TV. People blast down the interstate at 10-20 over the speed limit so they can get home faster so they can do what? Sit in front of the idiot box and waste their life doing nothing worthwhile. In a hurry to do absolutely nothing.

    People centuries ago would be appalled and disgusted that this is what the future holds.

    And centuries from now, our ancestors will look at this as a great tragedy and will shake their head in amazement that people in the 21st century in the most advanced country on earth could be so stupid. Wake up people.
  • Much research has been done into how framerates and High Definition television fool the unconscious mind . . .

    This is either really interesting, or total BS. Do you have a reference?

  • I would say it was the 'death of a thousand cuts' one. But then, I don't have any form of TV or cable in the house...
  • Ahhhh... that would be _such_ a fitting use of the technology. It would do many people good to have their corporate media forcibly turned off. Please, if this ever becomes possible, somebody do it- turn off _all_ the TVs >:)
  • Basically in Britain we have a non-commercial broadcaster known as the BBC.

    Now, the BBC is not funded by the government, but instead through a license fee. This license fee allows them to provide programming (for both Radio and TV, but you don't need a Radio license) without requiring advertising or sponsorship. And the BBC does produce some good stuff.

    The license is set by parliament (think Congress), and is currently about £102 (about $160 or so) for a year, although this can be paid in installments, and people on benefits have their TV license paid for them, as well as some other groups.

    The license has some issues which have annoyed people - you have to get a license for at least 3 months (which gets students) and you have to pay even if you don't actually watch the BBC.

    BUT, it is nice to watch programs without commercials, and the BBC is not particurly government controlled (and of course, there is always competition from ITV, a terrestrial broadcaster which is commercial). Aside from this, the BBC has produced quite a lot of quality programming, such as Red Dwarf, Blake's 7 (remember this?), Dr Who, and a raft of other shows.

    If you buy a TV you have to have a license but you only need one per property, so, for example, your house can have 5 TVs, and only one TV license. And also you can live with non-relatives, but for example, in student halls, each student must have a license because you effectively have a room (sort of like an appartment), which can suck as us poor students aren't loaded and don't get any discounts.

    That's a basically summary, and if you look at www.bbc.co.uk they probably have more information on when you need a license in the UK and how much it currently costs (mine was about £102, but it might have recently gone up).
  • The answer is that the broadcasters need to come up with compelling content.

    Or they could just wait 'til the analog signal is shut off in 5-10 years. I personally couldn't care less about HDTV. It seems to me that all the restrictions and expense are not worth the increased image quality. Not by a long shot.

  • So far, things don't seem to be looking so good for fair use. The judge in the 2600 case basically said that Congress overrode fair use with the DMCA since, according to his interpretation, it conflicts with fair use. Since the DMCA is the newer law, it takes precedence. Hopefully this will be overturned. I wouldn't count on it though.

  • well you can also just intercept the analouge signal and record that. It's not what the corps are worried about, they're worried about flawless copies of their digital masters.

    Then why don't they just have the new equipment overlay a 'bug' in the lower left (since the lower right is taken already) corner of the screen rather than absolutely prohibit copying? Or just introduce single bit errors that will multiply with generational copying?

    I suspect that this time they're more worried about not being able to make everything pay per view and not being able to force you to actually watch the commercials (or at least not fast forward through them).

  • So they DO track the reading habits of patrons. Okay, maybe not on an individual level, but they do know what they're checking out most frequently. And they're computerizing more, so they should be able to track patrons on an individual level.

    Libraries have always done that. Otherwise they wouldn't know if a book was overdue (or never returned at all). Their shelves would be empty in a matter of weeks.

  • Yeah, but they don't keep any statistics ... they just need a list of all books you have borrowed and not returned, and when you return the book, they zap it from that list ... you get the picture, right?

    Actually, until they computerized, my local library system used microfiche to record checkouts and returns. If you had a late book, they would mail you a copy of the book id (on the inside cover) w/ your card next to it and the datestamp underneath.

    Aggregate stats could always be done based on which shelves were the emptiest and what the librarian saw being checked out.

    Besides, how do you know they didn't keep statistics? Sombody already had to look to see what was overdue. They could just as easily make hash marks on a sheet of paper while they're at it.

  • True. Sorry, I phrased myself bad there. What I meant was that it's not necessary (sp?) for the library to keep a record of what sort of books you as an individual is loaning just to make sure they know who doesn't return his books ...

    Agreed. There is no reason at all to keep stats on an individual. Aggregate stats are good (so long as they are aggregate) to better serve the patrons.

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @10:04AM (#507987) Homepage

    Can anyone name an incident where copy protection really worked and there was no way to get around it. I can't even think of something that wasn't fairly easy to get around. Of course I am only 19 and don't have the history that some slashdot people do, but I can't remember anything that was really impossible to manipulate.

    So far, none. However, all of those were broken when it wasn't a felony to manufacture the needed devices. If you read the ads for the various devices you'll notice that they all claim to be useful for some other purpose. Macrovision defeating devices claim to be video stabilizers. When the content is being delivered with crystal clear digital quality, what excuse will there be for a device that tricks the VCR into letting you record something the broadcaster explicitly set the 'no copy' flag on?

    Keep in mind, under the DMCA, if the excuse doesn't hold water, it's a felony with very little wiggle room. Look at what has happened so far with DeCSS in spite of having a legal use!

  • not a Wizard. A Dremel. Wizard is the CHEAP ASS PIECE OF CRAP IMITATION.
  • I have DISH network, and so far, I'm very impressed with the signal quality. The decoder box they sold me also has a lot of TiVo like features - it's a HD recorder. Plus it has a "skip 30 seconds" button (that my TiVo did not had) - they charge an extra $10 a month to enable the "recording" service - but then they pipe high-quality digital content to my home, and give me tools to skip commercials (I now almost can't stand to watch live TV anymore - the commercials just drive me nuts. BTW - they're running 15-30% of the time length of MOST programming - you notice that when you can watch a half-hour TV episode in 20 minutes). I can also permanently archive to tape, any program, and I can use the skip button to rough-edit commercials out as I record. (a comparable experience to anyone watching while another person is operating the remote).

    I love this service, it's far superior to anything any cable company ever offered. And I'm quite certain that DISH Network loves providing this service to me for my money. (I don't view PPV content).

    So when ALL HDTV's come out with this copy protection, I'm quite sure DISH network will be happy to sell me an HDTV set that works fine with their box. THey have an incentive to provide systems that work for people who will pay. - and when their PPV content and charges get too obnoxious, of course they'll feel it in their bottom line.
  • It's what Rand-ites call the "invisible hand".

    And what I call the "invisible hand-job".
  • I think what most people are complaining about is pretty much the same as what they're complaining about with the whole Napster thing.

    PPV charges are often obscenely high. Viewing a movie at a theater is similarly pretty high, but at a second run theater, approaches the realm of reasonable. Is it really worth 8 bucks? How about the $40 or more people pay to watch a big fight or other sporting event on TV - without having the luxury of actually BEING there!

    Right now, I think most people equate the annoyance of having to watch 25 minutes of commercials for every 35 minutes of Friends as roughly equal to twenty-five cents. But the big bad networks disagree. So they're going to lock down the content, and make you pay $8.00 for an episode of Friends. Maybe $10 for an episode of X-Files ($15 if it's not a MOTW episode, or if Scully wears a miniskirt).

    Well, that's all academic, who knows how much they'll charge? Lame ass statements from Sony execs were to the effect of "music downloads for $5.00/single". Fact is, if they have it locked down as tight as THEY THINK they will, they, in theory, can charge whatever the fuck they want. We consumers can live in fear that, no matter how much they charge, there will be a segment of society out there with enough bucks and enough stupidity to pay for it. Perhaps they'll have to reach an equilibrium point somewhere - but there's a lot of rich stupid people out there - so maybe the price will settle somewhere around where only 10% of the population can afford to see it. The rest are have-nots. And the networks make just as much money off of that 10% as they would off of the 50% that could afford it if they lowered the price.

    Eventually, the stupid rich people will no longer be rich, (except for the Network Execs), and nobody will be able to afford the content anymore, and they'll have to lower the prices.

    But the fact is, sometimes you just want to have a collection of all the Simpsons, or whatever. You can't access that from the networks no matter how much you pay them. Some days, you just want to pull out a tape and watch the Rear Window episode. Well, we watched the commercials once - hell, so FUCK them if they want to make us watch commercials, while they're charging us to watch, and want to make us pay for watching the same commercials AGAIN.

    And what I can't figure out is- music videos. Originally, they were promotional spots for Pop bands. Then, MTV made them into entertainment. Okay, so the CONTENT itself is actually a commercial. You had to PAY the cable company extra for MTV, it wasn't included in basic service, so how twisted was that? People were fucking PAYING for nothing but commercials! So what happened? That was totally fucking sweet - why don't they play videos anymore? I don't get it.
  • Although I'm certain the MPAA has nobody's best interests at heart except its own, here's what I think will happen based on the situation with Digital TV in Europe:

    The copy protection scheme will be enabled on certain channels (e.g. Pay per view video-on-demand channels) but not enabled on traditional channels.

    This is exactly how it works with Macrovision protected broadcasts in Europe. Timeshifting is such a well established habit, the consumer won't tolerate losing it, and the broadcaster doesn't object to short-term timeshifting (as opposed to taping all the Simpsons and keeping them in an archive [oops]).

    Pay per view video on demand means there's no need for short-term timeshifting any more, and so the consumer has less of a legitimate reason to gripe.

    I can see this being the case until some bright spark comes up with a way to enforce a "use-by" date on recorded material (a la DivX) such that the broadcaster can set a maximum time during which timeshifting is allowed. That'll be a nuicance, but to be fair, entirely within the copyright holder's rights.


    --
    • extra quality that they don't really notice anyway
    Um. The quality difference is startling. Only the legally blind will fail to notice the improvement in quality.

    Your point is quite valid, however. So you get awesome quality... why is it valuable when the current quality seems acceptable. The answer is that the broadcasters need to come up with compelling content. It remains to be seen if they will succeed.

    In the United States, the plan is to leverage the popularity of America's State Religion: Football[1]. If you need a solid demonstration of the primacy of Football in American pop culture, note that the arrival of dot-com companies into mainstream society was heralded by advertisements during the Super Bowl[2].

    1. Note: when I say "Football", I mean "American Football" which is not to be confused with the game that American's call Soccer and the rest of the civilized world calls Football.
    2. Note: The Super Bowl is the American Football world championship. When I say "world", I mean "the parts of the world that give a rats ass about American Football." This includes Texas, Michigan and a handful of other American states.
  • I have to agree 100% with the people who predict that HDTV will fail. The proponents of HDTV cite improved image quality, "special features" and "enhancements" such as "widescreen aspect ratio." Such questionable advances are thouroughly eclipsed by obvious drawbacks. These include an enormous cost increase for HDTV gear, the lack of content that exploits the new format and the simple fact that the general public never asked for any of these "features." If you find my skepticism far-fetched, it's probably because you are too young to remember the collossal failure of the Compact Disc.

    In 1983, Sony and Phillips introduced a new format called the "Compact Disc." This was a plastic disc, roughly 5 inches in diameter with music encoded on it digitally. A laser was used to read binary data encoded in "pits" and "runs" on the surface of the disc. It sounded like a great idea, but it was immediately plagued by the same problems we are about to see with HDTV.

    First was the equipment cost. A laser was needed to track a spiralling stream of runs to an accuracy less than the width of a human hair. Did anyone expect this system to be anything less than exorbitantly priced? Compact Disc players started at $800 apiece. Meanwhile you could buy a decent record turntable at any Radio Shack for under $100.

    If you think that price differential was stupid, get this: due to the expense of studio-quality digital recording equipment and the manufacturing cost of the high-tech discs themselves, a Compact Disc release of an album was typically twice the price of the vinyl release. The same music for twice the price! Where's my checkbook?

    Of course, pretensious stereophiles argued that people would shell out the extra dollars for the improved quality (sound familiar?). They were too wrapped up in their obsessive little world to realize that terms like "16 bit sampling" and "dynamic range" were never going to be anything other than gibberish to the general public. Another argument was that by allowing 90 minutes of continuous music, you could listen to an entire symphony without breaking to flip the disc to side two. What percentage of the music-buying public lies awake at night fretting over a side flip in the middle of a symphony? Most people buy records containing popular music broken down in songs, allowing for a natural break between Side 1 and Side 2. Bottom line: no one cares about having to flip sides.

    Ironically, Compact Discs were touted as being more durable than vinyl. The fact is that a properly cared for LP might last centuries while some engineers predicted that the reflective metallic layer on a Compact Disc might oxidize to unreadability in as little as 20 years. If you bought a Compact Disc in 1985, what would you do if it was becoming unreadable today in 2001? Make a copy of it? No, Compact Discs aren't recordable! Back it up onto a cassette tape? Sure, but you'd lose your precious "digital quality" so why buy the Compact Disc in the first place? I know! You could back up the data to your personal computer! Of course, since a Compact Disc might contain up to 650Mega (not Kilo!) bytes of data, you probably couldn't find enough storage space for more than one of your albums unless you owned IBM or something.

    In the end, we're much better off because the Compact Disc failed to supplant vinyl. One reason that is seldom explored is the effect the Compact Disc would have had on the variety of music. Go to see any up-and-coming local band and most of the time you'll find them selling a vinyl EP of their music for a few bucks. Had the Compact Disc become the dominant format, music publishing would have become the exclusive domain of those with enough money to buy the newfangled digital recording technology (a studio-quality digital recorder cost upwards of $100K at the time!). Goodbye independant record labels. Goodbye garage bands.

    HDTV is just the latest attempt by the large players in the entertainment industry to put an entire art-form into a chokehold by introducing an unwanted technological "innovation." Last time it was music, this time it's TV. What next? Film? Am I going to live to see a day when the next Disney animated film is "all digital"? (Would "Snow White" or "Fantasia" have been better "digital"?)

    I predict that my children won't remember what HDTV was the same way teenagers today have no idea what a "Compact Disc" was.

  • by the red pen (3138) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:48AM (#507996)
    • consumers will eventually win. The free market demands it.
    "Market Forces" are the "God's Will" of secular society. Why not just say that God will take care of consumers? It's equally meaningful.

    The fact is that market forces serve the market, not consumers. Market forces drove down the price VHS VCRs and made them as common as dirt. Market forces didn't force Sony to license the Beta standard to other manufacturers and Beta disappeared. The consumers did not win.

    You are correct that consumers are used to being able to record TV shows and watch them later. There's nothing in the proposed technology that will stop them. I expect that HDCP-compliant receivers will gladly pipe output to an HDCP-compliant Tivo. This HDCP Tivo would only deliver the content back to a display device, but not to a media recorder of any type. Thus, Joe Sixpack can timeshift to his heart's content, but he can't record "Battlefield Earth" off HBO-HD, transfer it to HD-DVD and resell it on Ebay. His HDCP Tivo will refuse transfer that valuable intellectual property to the DVD recorder.

    Sure, there will be some way to make a copy of the HBO-HD broadcast of "BattleField Earth," but the pirate copy will be robbed of the full glory of the original digital clarity, robbing the viewer of the full effect of the spine-tingling special effects.

    Of course, you will also be prevented from doing something perfectly legal, such as making a "Best of the Simpsons" compilation for your own personal use. You lose. The question is, will the market care? My money says "no".

  • by the red pen (3138) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:08AM (#507997)
    • when you are watching a PAL or NTSC television set, you are unconsciously aware that what you are watching is false, at some deep level.
    ...and when you are watching a SECAM television set, you are unconciously aware that you might be in France.
    • However, at high framerates and definitions, this is not the case. The id can no longer seperate fantasy and fiction
    Wow! If I could invent an extremely high resolution image with no flicker at all, I could control the world! I'd give this terrifying new technology some kind of fancy name, with a Greek root or something... How about photograph?
  • They are entirely concerned about analog copies, or any kind of copy. Unless they are idiots, they know that people will put up with extreme levels of degradation to get things for free. The small minority who are concerned about quality will already pay extra for "original" disks, even digital ones, if they come with nice cover art or other non-digital add ons.

    Even bad copies will stop their real intention, to force people into a system where they pay per view, always. They also don't want to allow you to fast-forward through commercials.

    They will not stop until the signal is piped directly into a chip implanted in your brain, and modifications are made so you are incapable of describing the signal to another person.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:50AM (#507999) Homepage Journal
    Fortunately, two decades of ordinary VCR's will prevent The Industry from putting an end to time shifting. Consumers have gotten used to the idea.

    The bottom line on this kind of stuff is that consumers will eventually win. The free market demands it. From a technology perspective, bulletproof copy protection is impossible. Every single attempt has been defeated. From the errors on Track 40 of a Commodore-64 floppy (and the copy programs that put those errors on the duplicate), to Macrovision on VHS (and the sync repeaters that worked around it), to CSS (and DeCSS), technology has proven time and again that you can't give a consumer access to some sort of media and completely lock out the ability to copy it. The only sure-fire way to prevent copying is to deliver all pay-per-view programming with an accompanying lawyer, policeman, or whatever in the consumer's living room. And that ain't gonna happen.

    Big Media scumbags tried to prevent the consumer public from gaining access to cassette recorders, and later VCR's. Why should this round be any different?
    --
  • by FFFish (7567) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @12:29PM (#508000) Homepage
    The consuming public has ultimate power. If enough people refuse to participate in supporting a product through its purchase, the product will disappear from the market.

    The key, as with anything, is that enough people have to do it.

    If the public would get half a fucking clue, it could enact real, significant, positive and long-lasting change in the way our governments and corporations operate.

    But it's the frog-in-boiling-water thing: until things get so excrebly untolerable that the mass public literally can not stand it any more, they'll put up with the moderately intolerable.

    Which is to say, that which is untolerable, generally isn't. People adapt, get used to it, suck it down, and live with it.

    It's a pretty fucking sorry state of affairs, and it certainly makes one worry for the fate of future generations. Will the mass public demand ecological change, in time to keep the environment from going kaput? Will the mass public demand government change, in time to keep democracy from becoming lenient corporate dictatorship? Will the the mass public demand freedom to view/listen to media as desired, in time to keep it from becoming a pay-per-view, each-view, each-person event?

    Frankly, I doubt it. The mass public is too apathetic. It's gonna be a bugger apologizing to our kids for letting things get as bad as they will...

    --
  • This isn't a big issue to me, because I probably watch no more than thirty hours of television a year and seldom if ever rent movies, but if timeshifting goes away, that drops to zero for me. The last thing I watched with any regularity was The X-Files, and if it hadn't been for my VCR, I wouldn't have watched at all because Sunday evening is a bad time for me to sit on my arse.

    The other issue that this brings to my mind is the increasingly short lifespan of media formats. I'm still trying to replace my rather large record and tape collection with CDs -- and no, while it's not ideal, I don't mind paying for better-quality CD versions of my old vinyl -- but there's a lot of stuff that isn't available on CD, and in case you haven't noticed, finding decent turntables (and styli for them) has gotten expensive and really good cassette decks have been extinct for some years. The story is the same here as with TV -- the harder they make it for me, the less likely I'm going to bother with it.

    Like I said, TV per se isn't my issue, but the general principle applies to other things. I'm voting with my dollars and buying more grossly overpriced books instead. Alphabetic text on a substrate of pressed vegetable matter has been in continuous use since about 4000 BC, which is a record I doubt any modern medium will surpass, even if the modern version contains acids that will destroy the paper within a century or so. If I'm still around then, I'll spring for a Xerox machine.

    --

  • I dunno what the situation is in the states, but in Australia (where HDTV broadcasts have just begun) the general conclusion amongst retailers is that HDTV's are going to struggle anyway. Why? Because people are happy with their existing TV's, and aren't going to pay ~8000 AUD for extra quality that they don't really notice anyway. For fsck's sake, most people are happy with AM radio, MP3 and VHS video!

  • Hmm. I am paying 59 pounds a month (lets call it $85) for television services.

    Some of the channels I receive I do not directly pay for. But I have to subscribe to an entire package to get them, and so indirectly I am paying for them.

    Some of them I am paying directly for. FilmFour I pay £6 ($8 or so) for, and it's not part of a package. I think it's well worth that money, which is why I pay. But, since I am paying for it, if a film is shown while I'm not around (they show some very good stuff at 12-2am, while I'm in bed, midweek) then I want to be able to record it. And since they show films that have already been at the cinema, available to rent/buy on video/dvd, and often shown on other TV channels already, those films have often made their money back many times already. So I'm paying for provision of the service and for a diverse and interesting selection of films. I am not paying for new movie production, for tv program creation, and especially not for advertising.

    Note that a lot of films I watch on that channel I have already paid to see at the cinema, on video, or occasionally I already own on video (you're flicking channels, suddenly you find yourself watch Shawshank Redemption for the 49th time, and you can't switch away, even though you want to, even though you own it on both video and DVD).

    There are other channels - movie, sports, music channels - that I am paying a lot of money for. And most of them also show me advertising.

    So what I'm saying is, I pay to receive far more TV channels than I have any hope of watching. In return I expect to be able to watch the things I want to watch on those channels, even if sometimes two are both showing something I want to see at the same time.

    Then again, I don't expect to record a PPV movie and keep the tape. For one, I never use PPV (I prefer to support my local video shop, as it offers more choice and better service, and I can pause the film and I can chat to the staff there and get recommendations). For another thing, I am happy to financially support people who provide me with good entertainment. This is why I subscribe to FilmFour (they do actually fund a lot of movies too - but generally not mainstream, which is another reason I love them), and why I have a small but growing collection of DVDs and videos bought from shops (and Amazon.com).

    In an attempt to stay almost on topic, I'll just add that although I support funding the things I like and use, and so I will buy films and pay $85 a month for TV, I'm not going to accept and don't think I'll ever need to accept outrageous restrictions from content providers. Hence owning a DVD player that can be set to any region (and automatically switches itself) that also has macrovision disabled. Technology can provide answers.

    ~Cederic
  • They aren't transmitting flawless copies of their digital masters. They are transmitting heavily compressed MPEG data streams that have visible digital distortion artifacts.

    Digital does NOT mean flawless.
  • by jms (11418) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @12:15PM (#508009)
    ... bulletproof copy protection is impossible. Every single attempt has been defeated.

    Well, DIVX was never cracked, but only because it went out of business before anyone had a chance to work on it.

    I suppose that in another sense, DIVX was defeated. Not by technology, but by the marketplace.

  • And quoting Gallager, "There's a brightness knob, but it don't seem to work."
  • When the analog signal goes off the air everyone has to make a choice between buying an HDTV or having learn to live without the magic tube.

    There's a third choice: rioting in the streets.

    If analog TV gets turned off without substancial numers of people having the ability to watch Jerry Springer, there will be rioting. Government will back down.
  • by Nemosoft Unv. (16776) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:50AM (#508015)
    Just imagine the uproar that will ensue when half a nation comes home from work, school, dancing lesson or whatever, and finds out their favorite show or the NBA game of their team has not been recorded on their VCRs because the broadcaster decided to flip the "Nay" switch. It may be too late for a refund, but it will be the last time they will buy such equipment!

    Frankly, I don't really see the point of forcing customers to be at home to watch a program; the only reason I can come up with is that they can't fast-forward through the commercials. We are so used to taping programs for our use, no-one will accept such measures.

    As for the video-blacklist: yes, that's a shame. And no, I don't think the MPAA has the best intentions for the consumer's right, only their own.

  • While heartening, this isn't a perfect annology. Divx was a non-standard medium that was being supported by a minority of manufacturers and was only being sold in a small number of retail outlets.

    HDTV, HD Recorders, and the copy protections that will appear therein are supported by the entire industry. The copy protection will probably be in all devices and those devices will be sold in all retail outlets. There will be no choice, more than likely. Either you buy one of these protected devices or you don't partake in HDTV. In 10 years that will probably mean that your choices are either a)submit to this or b)don't watch televsion.

  • I think people should be allowed to copy and distribute copies of television shows and other broadcast media. (With some exceptions)

    If the company can broadcast it and it survives based on commercials, or such, then you are doing them a favour by distributing the show to more people. As long as you leave the whole show intact.

    If the person at the other end fast forwards, that's their business.

    And if you want to store your own archival copy without commercials, go for it. But if you distribute that then IMHO you should run into copyright issues.

    That said, I think the market will self-correct for this. If nobody cares about the companies and their inflated profits, they will pirate. I myself have a large collection of shows in RA form. (I'd like to replace them all with DiVX versions...)

    If you have a link to high-quality Futurama or Simpsons.... :)
  • Neither did market forces make lead turn into gold...

    But of the reasonable outcomes, the best happened. Beta's quality was better than VHS, but VHS's convenience and price was much better.

    Of the systems, the best overall system won.

    Mac's may be nicer (the high-end ones) and more consistently made than cheap PCs, but the fact that they cost three times as much means that they aren't the 'best' anymore than a Cray is the 'best'. They have a specific function they are good for, but price is much more important than small gains in consistency and quality, especially when those come only with a closed platform you can't tinker with.

    If digital video protection goes too far, people will stop watching TV in favor of content from the net, etc. Not everything will be protected, mainly because the barriers to new content providers are too high, so there'll always be ample unprotected media.

    Some book publishers may start using that nasty shiny purple paper (the stuff used in code wheels years ago) for copy protection. None of their six customers will ever OCR that book. Other companies like Baen will release the book on the net without copy protection, and 80% of the millions who read it won't pay. But that 20% that does...
  • I don't agree with this, for the simple reason that people who do time shifting, may want to watch what they recorded on another tv.

    TiVo like devices don't require a standard behind them, but when Mr. Bob decides to record the football game in the living room, and then watch it in his own room that night, he'll want to move the media. This is completely opposite of the dual TAPE VCRs that have been hitting the market lately, now THOSE things make corportations shy.

    As I said before, these corporations have an interest in keeping this industry alive. That includes tapes and/or media. I believe that the future home system, will be most hampered by the inability to copy purchased movies easily, and to copy time-shifted shows easily as well. This is not much different than what's going on today, and no doubt, in the future there will be devices designed to make copies easily, just like there are today.

  • by amccall (24406) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:26AM (#508020) Homepage
    This will probably work about 10x better for HDTV than it would for DVDs, Microsoft, and the like, for the simple reason that: the average consumer understands the inability to have a VCR.

    There is currently such a large market for VCRs, and Tivo like devices, that most major electronics companies have a vested interest in keeping these products alive. Remember, it doesn't benifit the ones making the electronics, only the ones making the media. Kindof like the whole Hard drive copy protection business.

    Further there is no really defined standard for an HDTV recorder. We'll probably have something like the Betamax vs. VCR wars again in this next couple of years. Hopefully the nonproprietary standard will win again, bolstered by consumer confidence. I don't put the lack of VCR like products for HDTV on some conspiracy, but the simple facts that: 1. Extremely few people own a HDTV, so the market is little. 2. These people are probably watching off broadcast anyway, as most HDTV signals aren't really there yet.(There's been more than a few technical problems, and last I heard unless you were sitting on station, it doesn't work all that great.) So they have VCR's. 3. These same people are probably only using the HDTV capabilities to watch their latest DVDs anyways.

    Just my $2.00.

  • I've also gone through two winter buying seasons without buying DVD stuff. When I can put DVD players in my Linux boxes, then I'll invest in DVD media and compatible home DVD players.
  • No matter how they want to spin it, none of these methods are copy protection or anti-piracy. Macrovision is anti-piracy. An encoded, and easily decoded system is meant for PAY PER VIEW.

    Once these systems are out there, everywhere, THEN THEY WILL CHARGE YOU FOR EVERY SINGLE @#!! THING YOU WATCH.

    Channel surfing, and accidentally view 1 second of the progam? They'll bill you.

    If this were copy protection, then there would be stiffer fines, longer jail sentences, and some way of enforcing it on foreign soil. Since none of these are a part of copy protection, then it MUST be aimed at the consumer.
  • The difference here is that media is not scarce. Anybody is able to produce art. Even if hollywood and the big companies would like you to believe you can't have good quality content without them. They will realize, once the general public will be too pissed off by protection techniques and will begin to look into other sources of content, that they don't have a monopoly on creativity.
    We don't NEED any of their productions. Face it, and make them feel that way.

  • by Captain Zion (33522) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:58AM (#508030)
    Now JVC is bringing out its D-VHS recorder, but instead of using the convent.ional Y/Pr/Pb inputs they now use a DVI input.
    Wow. I bet the TV shows are written in TeX!
  • The bottom line on this kind of stuff is that consumers will eventually win. The free market demands it. From a technology perspective, bulletproof copy protection is impossible. Every single attempt has been defeated. From the errors on Track 40 of a Commodore-64 floppy (and the copy programs that put those errors on the duplicate), to Macrovision on VHS (and the sync repeaters that worked around it), to CSS (and DeCSS), technology has proven time and again that you can't give a consumer access to some sort of media and completely lock out the ability to copy it. The only sure-fire way to prevent copying is to deliver all pay-per-view programming with an accompanying lawyer, policeman, or whatever in the consumer's living room. And that ain't gonna happen.

    Unfortunately, you list some examples of just how evil/reckless business can be about trying to protect their intellectual property. I mean - the track 35+ disk logic was destroying the alignment of C-64 disk drives left and right - even legitimate software users would get a hold of the cracks just to save their hardware. Yet business persisted with this for YEARS just because it stopped the casual user for a few months each time. Like it or not - whatever draws capital will always put the user's best interests second, no matter how loudly they complain.

  • Let's face it, without entertainment or leisure of some sort, we go insane.

    True, very true. However, nothing says that entertainment and leisure have to come in bite-size chunks, individually packaged and foil-wrapped for your protection. There's a whole world full of entertainment and leisure out there which is (mostly) outside the reach of the 'entertainment industry', from live music at the local pub (or other locations) through learning to make it (no matter what :-) yourself to the 'alternative' media, etc. People, real people, not canned ones, await you at places like that. People who say things they mean to say, not things which have been written into some script 'cause someone paid them to say it.

    The 'entertainment industry', and probably the whole 'media industry' has outlived its welcome. They have shown their true colours, which are dark. Pretty soon - when ever more stringent laws prohibit advertising for more and more products - the products of the media industry will be virtually indistinguishable from commercials (if they are even now distinguishable from them...). Who wants to endure hours and hours of commercials?

    ...

    I know I don't...

    So, tune out, turn off and live your life the way you want, not the way they tell you to live it...

  • In Britain it's illegal to watch broadcast analog TV without a non-cheap license. The police have vans which pick up the tiny signals leaked by every working TV set. They drive to houses of non-subscribers, and when their probes detect a signal they fine you for stealing broadcast TV.

    Failure to pay the fine results in months of jail time. Michael Moore's TV nation once showed a clip of a young welfare mother who was in jail because she couldn't pay the fine.

    That's the treatment you can expect from a western democracy.

    Do you really think a *corporation* is going to let you off any easier?
  • unfortunately copy protection schemes have gotten smarter. you can now buy ASICs with hardware protection and encrypted digital links. you can also get tamper proof devices all the way from antenna to decoder to screen...the only way to beat it would be a camcorder or equivalent but that degrades the signal too much. although none of these have gotten anywhere in the real world, they ARE being implemented slowly even if everyone fights them every step of the way. for example, the FPGAs/ASICs with tamper proof hardware resistant to electron microscopes and logic analysers are being introduced gradually in several products especially on the high end. The trickle down effect almost guarantees the low end will experience it. just like software copy protection schemes with FlexLM licensing servers (instead of stupid "unhackable" copy protection requiring physical media such as cds which doesnt work) as on the SGI machines is gradually trickling down along with ASPs which store and control data remotely.
  • by gcondon (45047) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:30AM (#508043)
    Since the early days of VCRs, the Courts have upheld the individual's right to record broadcast programming for the purposes of time shifting under fair use. However, content that arrives in a non-ephemeral medium, such as tape or disk, seems to be allowed to incorporate copy-protection because there is no need to duplicate for fair use. This appears to be the rationale behind technologies such as Macrovision which prevents DVD to VHS duplication.

    As we are all painfully aware, content providers have recently been fighting tooth and nail to stop any form of duplication, fair use or otherwise. Although people of good conscience can argue about the fairness of music swapping services such as Napster, recording of broadcast programming for private time shifted use is clearly within the already accepted bounds of case law (IANAL).

    Therefore, content providers have shifted the debate to the 'perfection' of digital-to-digital duplication. Since a D->D copy is exactly identical to the original, natural controls on duplication such as generational degredation disappear. Content providers argue that the removal of this barrier will cast the world into a miasma of unbridled piracy which, in turn, will stifle creative pursuits, destroy the global economy and perhaps send the Earth hurtling into the Sun.

    Such arguments have been used to incorporate copy-once protection into consumer grade DAT devices and appears to be the motivation for this new round of copy protection efforts. (It is interesting to note that Macrovision protects against a form of copying that already includes generation degradation, however a sense of irony is not a strength of the MPAA/RIAA.) The motivation of content providers is, not surprisingly, to implement as much copy protection as they can and then to let the Courts push them back a little later. IMHO, the important issue is to keep the quality of duplication out of the debate over the limits of fair use. This may lead to a copy-once scheme similar to DAT but that would represent a compromise between the rights of content owners and users. As some smartypants once remarked, we must give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.
  • Hardware is definitely possible of protecting the "digitalness" of the content. If I program a microprocessor to contain a decryption key and distribute all media that to you encrypted with that key (or one of the many keys in the processor), and the chip outputs an analogue signal when asked to decrypt (to say your tv), then there is only two ways that you can get the digital content. 1) You can break the encryption, I think we can safely say that it is possible to use hard to break encryption or 2) you can somehow tamper with the chip and there are chips that claim to be tamperproof. For digital dvds that only plug into digital televisions the problem is already solved. We just program the said microprocessor to only communicate with devices that can offer up a digital certificate signed by some authority that only issues certificates to "safe" devices. If the digital content never leaves these tamperproof chips in digital unencrypted form, you are forced to tamper with the chip which is supposedly impossible.
  • yer. Like when everyone uses recreational drugs... oh wait.
  • well you can also just intercept the analouge signal and record that. It's not what the corps are worried about, they're worried about flawless copies of their digital masters.
  • better yet, buy that book from a second hand book store. Chances are they wont even accept your credit card and they dont pay any royalties.
  • very true. I believe the masters are all uncompressed (so called D1 masters), do these ever leave the studio? Say, could you ever go to a cinema and watch a master?
  • Apart from the fact that this is fictional, what difference does it make how you copy the data? The tenet of this (fake) physicist's (fake) system is that observation of the data destroys the data, including all copies that have been made. So yes, you can record it in some fashion but that recording and all copies made of it will revert to random bits as soon as any of the copies are viewed. So stop thinking so hard and laugh already.
  • Digital VCRs will probably include software to do time shifting (without fast forwarding the commercials). There will just be no way to get the unencrypted digital stream out of the VCR. What's more the user interfaces in these VCR's will probably be so superiour that people will immediately forget about the freedom they used to have to fast forward, especially seeing more people will be timeshifting than used to. New users fix everything.
  • Physicists have developed a software only form of data streaming that just might send hackers packing. The technology, based on the Hiesenburg uncertainty principle, makes it possible to send a digital song or movie over the internet without fear of the data being intercepted or copied at the final destination. Dr Peter Hackinsack from the University of Southern California explains:

    "It's truly amazing. When we first started thinking about sending quantum data over the Internet we were talking about optic fiber and very complicated optic only switches."

    Electromagnetic fields have been shown to disrupt the stability of quantum super states and has been a major hurdle in quantum computing.

    "Then one day we decided to try measuring a quantum state but not actually observing the calculations until they had passed over the Internet as normal data. We expected the results to be skewed and indeed they were. It was during this process that we discovered that we could shape the data into any form we wanted!"

    Dr Hackinsack continues to explain how the data passes through a complex encryption mechanism that is the key to the data's encoding. Dr Hackinsack ensures us that the encryption process is very fast and can be done on a media company's web server in real time. The data then passes over the Internet to the user's home computer where a program such as Windows Media Player or Winamp can deliver it to the end user.

    "They can store the data for as long as they like and make as many copies as they like. But once the song or movie or whatever is actually istened to, all the copies revert to random garbage!"

    The process is called "quantum state destablization" and is observed daily by researchers in quantum computing. Dr Hackinsack and a number of associates who requested not to be identified have formed a startup company and secured funding from the MPAA.

    "Oh we're going to make the SDMI obsolete. There's no reason to rely on big numbers when you've got the power of the universe to protect you."

    But securing funding has not been easy. Describing the process to media executives has been grueling for scientists who deal with this kind of physics day by day.

    "They were such a pain. We tried everything. They didn't want to learn about the technology and they didn't understand the demo we erformed. In the end we got some undergraduates to explain it and they seemed happy. Well they gave us the money!"

    Deployment of the product is still some months away.

    Read [segfault.org] other fake news..
  • They seem to keep forgetting that, if you really want to be "secure," you can never trust the client. Of course, consumer media consumption will always require a client... so there wil lalways be a way to work around whatever fuckage they put into the product.

    I doubt they will ever learn to not do it, though. I do imagine that they will make their next target open-source systems.

    - - - - -
  • by VFVTHUNTER (66253) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:42AM (#508066) Homepage
    that I saw on TechTV yesterday. Although manufacturers can build content protection of public television streams into their devices, Dvorak and others made reference to a Supreme Court case a few years old that gives consumers an absolute right to record these public streams. Dvorak et al seemed baffled that the FCC had let HDTV copy pretection pass, since this ruling effectively nullifies it.

    What does this mean to us geeks? It means that although manufacturers can make copy-protected TV's, they don't have to. Companies (e.g., Apex Digital, makers of the best $170 DVD player ever made) can simply choose to make TV's and VCR's etc that ignore this copy-protection scheme, just and Hedrick has gotten T.13 to do with CPRM.

  • but DIVX had a compelling and not-as-suckful competitor. Where's HDTV's competitor that encompasses everything that HDTV has, except for the copy protection?
    --
  • Oh fuck that...

    everytime someone wants to take our rights to use something away... someone has to suggest an alternative... hay, can you watch the SuperBowl on a book? No.

    --
  • Digital does NOT mean flawless.

    No kidding. I was in an electronics store the other day, and there was a DirecTV promo playing on one of the TVs. The woman onscreen was saying "It's digital, so you get crystal clear quality (blah blah)..." Meanwhile, the background of the room she was standing in was FULL of horrendous compression artifacts. It was laughable!

    One thing I've found is that computer types are the WORST about this. Usually, these supposedly technically literate people seem to think that ANY digital system is automatically better than ANY analog system. For people like that, I've got a new 1-bit/1-KHz digital audio system I'd like to sell them.

  • by Speare (84249) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @10:41AM (#508076) Homepage Journal

    This is similar to a California ruling where the judge upheld a Californian resident's right to descramble satellite broadcasts, stating if they didn't want him to see their content, then get it off of his property. This doesn't mean that the judge said satellite broadcasts cannot be scrambled, just that if they aren't scrambled sufficiently, then they cannot prosecute home users that descramble the signal.

    It would seem that this is thrown out the window by the DMCA, however.

    Previously, if I went to the retail store and bought a piece of glass-plastic-and-burnt-aluminum, I was able to do whatever I wanted with that glass-plastic-and-burnt-aluminum, for my own noncommercial use. I wanted to read the content on it, descramble it, and view it. I was rightly allowed to, and the courts upheld that notion. Paraphrased, "if they don't want me to use the content inside, they shouldn't let me bring the media home."

    (As an aside, I'd say that I would go along with the notion that I couldn't make revenue off content that I bought at retail. Retail is for private end-consumers. If I want to become a distributor, I should acquire a business agreement with the distributor(s) higher up the chain.)

    But the DMCA changes this world. Congress has altered the law, and the courts are charged with interpreting the current law, not the old case law. Akin to the bedroom laws, these media laws senselessly restrict what I can do with people and objects I bring into my own home.

  • "Get it off his property" doesn't apply to cable because utility companies often need to pass through your land to provide service to other customers. Technically the cable isn't on your property. In order to get the cable company to install service, the property owner (or the land developer who built your tract, etc.) grants the cable company an "easement". An easement is basically rights to a piece of your property.

    The five foot by one foot trench that carries the cable from the headend to your house (or the wire itself if it comes from a telephone pole) is technically property of the cable company. You can't legally tamper with the hardware.

    So how does this apply if you are paying for basic cable? Well, technically if you aren't touching the wire they can't stop you from manipulating the signal once it enters your house. Cable companies know this, which is why in most markets now if you are only paying for basic cable, the cable company installs a filter that blocks the signal of the premium channnels (even if they are already scrambled). Legally you are not allowed to remove this filter even if it's in the cablepot on your front lawn because that's cable company property.

    So you are screwed.

    Someday when I have enough money I plan to file a class action lawsuit against the major cable companies. I plan to argue that I purchased several thousand dollars worth of "cable-ready" televisions and VCRS and now all those tuners are going to waste because a local monopoly decides to scramble a signal that *coincidentally* requires people to rent new tuners from them at $7/month. One for every TV and VCR I own would cost me $35/month. It's outrageous. The law says that utility companies cannot force you to rent equipment...but if I buy a cable box, all the cable company has to do is change encryption formats to render it obsolete! Imagine if the local phone company start scrambling the phone signal to your box and then required you to rent custom phones in order to continue service. They would never get away with it. So why do the cable companies?

    - JoeShmoe

  • This is why the TV warez scene is going by leaps and bounds. I thank God every day for age-old groups like ANiVCD and newcomerslike EliteMedia who basically function as intelligent, networkable TiVos. I never have to worry about missing Futurama. I don't have to worry about making a mistake programming the VCR and having scan the TVGuide every week to find the one I missed. I don't have to waste a tapes recording Friends while my sister in France.

    All I go is log onto iSONews and see if there's any new releases. Then I head over to my favorite distro and suck 'em down. The quality is great, and the commercials have been pre-fast-forwarded.

    Oh, but these groups will all get taken down...or will they? Remember RecordTV.com? They are still fighting throught the legal mountain that the bottomless pockets of the MPAA creates but in the end, they have questions that demand answers:

    If I record a show off the air...can I watch it?

    If I can watch a show I record...can I watch it with a friend?

    If I can watch it with a friend...can I loan the tape to a friend?

    If I can load the tape to a friend...can I mail it to him via the Post Office?

    Then why the hell can't I "mail" it to him via the Internet?

    Either the courts are going to have to put some clear legal boundaries on who my friends are allowed to be, or they are going to have to formally acknowledge that this is all just time and space shifting of publically accessable information.

    - JoeShmoe
  • Obviously you live in a less-urban market than T-Ranger and I do. Here in the big cities they use these plastic lock-nuts that cover up the threads on both the male and female ends. The only way to get them off is to use a Wizard to cut slits on either side and pry them in half. Of course, this is entirely obvious because you don't have any locknuts or the little crimping device to re-attach the unfiltered connection.

    There are already digital cable descramblers. Search on "Jerrold 10000" or such since those are the models that are compatible with most digital cable systems. They are just really, really expensive. It's cheaper to buy an H card *AND* a satellite package.

    - JoeShmoe
  • Did you ever think that this could just be something "they" threw out just to get a reaction? Why would ANYONE want something that is transmitted over the airwaves to not be viewable? The broadcast business model depends on having as many eyeballs out there watching your program instead of your competitor's program. I really doubt that the broadcast world would record inhibit their broadcasts. They just managed to convince the FCC that they need it.

    Pay Per View is not a useful model for making much money. It allows for incremental revenue to an already released product, porn and other *quality* programming, but I doubt that anyone is seriously thinking that PPV will be a long term moneymaker for broadcasters.

    BTW: In case you haven't heard, the FCC has been sold to the highest bidder.

  • No, the corps are woried about their profits. If they are successful in stopping digital copying through encryption, then the pirates will just move to digitized analogue, and the same effect will be had. Considering now pirates use analogue tapes, which have generational problems, having a digital copy of a first or second generation analogue rip will be better than what we have now. Most people will be dropping this on to VCR tape anyways, since they have a VCR and a DVD-R will be expensive for a while.
  • Don't they have to be able to track books on an individual level to know what books need to be returned when? I've never heard of a library that does not have this ability on some level.
  • In theory, yes, although I don't know any cases that go either way on this. But the descrambling your cable will probably result in the cable company terminating your service. They will probably also sue you for breach of contract. The difference is that there is no way a satellite company can get their broadcast off that guy's property, and there was no contract between him and the satellite stations.
  • This still doesn't change the fact that pirate still use VHS tapes. For example, I borrowed a firends copy of the Dune miniseries which he recorded on tape. Maybe when everyone has computers hooked up to their TVs, pure digital pirating will take place, but until then, it's an analogue world, baby.
  • by Fjord (99230) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:47AM (#508093) Homepage Journal
    Although manufacturers can build content protection of public television streams into their devices, Dvorak and others made reference to a Supreme Court case a few years old that gives consumers an absolute right to record these public streams.

    This is an incorrect interpretation of the ruling. We do not have an inalienable right to timeshift, but the Supreme Court said that individuals cannot be brought up on criminal charges for recording a public broadcast. If the MPAA can come up with a way to scramble the recording, then it doesn't violate this ruling. But this ruling does say a home user recording content is are within their rights, even if that recording is scrambled to the point that it is not viewable.

    This is similar to a California ruling where the judge upheld a Californian resident's right to descramble satellite broadcasts, stating if they didn't want him to see their content, then get it off of his property. This doesn't mean that the judge said satellite broadcasts cannot be scrambled, just that if they aren't scrambled sufficiently, then they cannot prosecute home users that descramble the signal..

  • by OmegaDan (101255) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @11:09AM (#508095) Homepage
    Are we going to have to fight this fight everytime a new piece of hardware comes out ?

    In a nutshell heres whats going on:

    Add revenues are WAY down, NBC is laying off 10% of its work force, Turner has had a hiring freeze, because of this problem -> TV Adds aren't working anymore. The problem was this : Back in the 50's , the standard was something like 40 new shows a year ... Then they started doing sweeps, and the new shows were only during sweeps because, they got paid for the rest of the year based on sweeps's numbers ... Now in an attempt to "trick" people into watching, they've taken to staggering new shows and old shows during the new show season ... For instance: Futurama ... They didn't start the season until OCT 29, then they alternated new shows and old shows ... Add to this the fact that they're only making 15 new episodes a year of many shows.

    Compounding the problem is, the quality of Television shows is similiar to the quality of MS products ... Most networks have degraded into "Shiny Things Networks" (an omage to the onion) ... Look at the string of just WORTHLESS shows, Temptation Island, Millionaire, suvivor, who wants to marry a ... etc etc ... people were attracted to these novelty shows because the television has become so formula driven its turning people off. Most shows are just about sex (Ally McBeal, Boston Public ... ) Even classic shows like star trek (DS-9, Voyager, just can't keep the interest of even their die hard viewers -- because the writing is just THAT bad).

    So the networks are already in bad shape, because people who have better things to do then to watch teenage girls in dupres are doing that better thing ...

    Now that you understand the trend in the market, TIVO's and VCR's become incredibly important -- because if they show is shown 52 times a year, and theres 15 new episodes, most people aren't gonna watch the other 37 shows OR the adds with them. They need to restore this revenue stream ... If you can't record it -> you gotta be there to watch it -> if you gotta be there you'll probaly watch it wether its a repeat or not because yuou've already rearranged your schedule.

    I believe your supposition is correct, people won't stand for it, they'll just end up missing the TV they can't record, because, who can take the night off work to watch the simpsons?

    I would like to think the public would start to see the encrypted HD's, the DVD CSS, HDCP and the DMCA as an attack on the sovreignthy (sp?) of the consumer ... HDCP just might be the issue that drives this problem to the public.

    Ultimatley, this will create an opertunity for new broadcasters to get into the market, probably over high speed internet whenever that becomes a reality ... It dosen't take alot of money to make a good show, it takes alot of heart. I point towards BBC shoe-string classics like Monty Python, Black Adder, the Thin Blue Line, Upstairs Downstairs, All Creatures great and small, Danger UXB, Wallace and Gromit etc etc that were made in their entirity for less then one episode of Ally mcboring.

  • Its basicly a TiVo at the digital signal levbel off my staellite dish. This emans 12 hours not 20 of rcird time but I get a signal quality equal to the original digital signal.
  • Have you ever seen HDTV? I am guessing you haven't because it looks incredible and I think that anyone who has seen it is pretty excited about the possibilities. You are right though that content matters more than quality, that's why people go back to playing emulation and bootleg movies on the internet. HDTV is great, and I think that once people see it, it will be hard to go back.
  • by donglekey (124433) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:35AM (#508113) Homepage
    Can anyone name an incident where copy protection really worked and there was no way to get around it. I can't even think of something that wasn't fairly easy to get around. Of course I am only 19 and don't have the history that some slashdot people do, but I can't remember anything that was really impossible to manipulate. Cable TV seems like the hardest to me and even then there are cable descramblers and such all over the place.
  • The market being what it is, and consumers being what they are, I'm guessing that this "Key Device Revocation" won't last too long. As HDTV becomes more and more the standard, consumers and/or companies will begin to complain and of their respective losses (quality or the ability to record for the consumers, ability to make money off the consumers for the companies, and probably all sorts of little things in between). In short, I don't expect this "problem" to be much of a problem when HDTV takes over.

    As with any major market shift, it only takes time. Just look at where we are with CDs...

  • by luckykaa (134517) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @09:18AM (#508121)
    These "Casual pirates" DON'T cause a problem. If people subscribe to a TV channel, its a lot of effort to tape things for any purpose other than time shifting. Very few poeple are interested in recording PPV movies since people really only want to see it once anyway.

    However, this will most likely add to the price. Surely the people who are having their content protected should subsidise this.
  • The difference here is that media is not scarce. Anybody is able to produce art. Even if hollywood and the big companies would like you to believe you can't have good quality content without them. They will realize, once the general public will be too pissed off by protection techniques and will begin to look into other sources of content, that they don't have a monopoly on creativity.----->

    While you are correct in stating that they do not have a monopoly on creativity, Hollywood does have a de-facto monopoly on PUBLICITY. That's why you don't see many (or any) high-quality independent films at your local theatre.

    I know. I own one. (A theatre, that is.) And if a movie doesn't have multiple millions of dollars pumped into pre-release advertising and so on then no matter how good the film is, the chance of it finding its way to your friendly local theatre is just about nil.

    The film companies, by and large, do not provide the "creativity" or the "talent". They do provide the money, though, and without that you're pretty much out of luck.

    So I agree completely that there are a great many high-quality films available. There are also a great many high-quality books and so on. But how many of them do you see? And how many of those that you do see are you seeing because of the associated advertising campaign rather than the actual content.

    I could have the very best movie in the whole world playing at my theatre right now. If nobody knows that I've got it, who's going to come and watch it? Further, if it's something that you've never heard of, are you likely to come and see it, or just zip over to the next theatre and watch the latest James Bond instead?
  • When is someone going to wake up and start an up-front "legit" business to get around all this content control stuff? There's a LOT OF MONEY TO BE MADE from makind region-free DVD players, content-control-free HDTV stuff, and so on. /.ers keep whining about the legitimate applications being oppressed - serve them! Make a buck! If Napster can openly make a fortune helping people steal music, then surely someone can make a fortune getting past all this oppressive tech by serving legitimate uses!
  • Blockquoth the poster:
    No, one of the functions of government is to protect the people so they don't have to pay attention to this kind of crap. It's not up to the consumer to determine which things marketed as "food" are not poisonous, nor which things marketed as "motor vehicles" will not explode within 5 days of use.
    Look, I rally 'round the bloody shirt of digital freedom as much as the next guy, but let's be real here: Comparing poisonous food or exploding SUVs to restrictions on recording programs is a bit hyperbolic. Is it truly the role of government to protect us all from any infringement of our interests, even the ones we are equipped to handle ourselves?

    This just seems to feed into (and off of) the ongoing cult of victimization : "Ooh, look, it's not my fault things are mucked up, even though I directly supported the system with my $$$." The fact of the matter is, the government is as likely to mess this up further as to protect our true interests for us. And, heck, I even believe in government, and I say this.

    Here's my proposal: Manufacturers and "content providers" should be allowed to use whatsoever encryption or protection they want... but use of such protection -- use of any mechanism which interferes with the rights of Fair Use, First Sale, timeshifting, spaceshifting, etc. -- obviates and renders null the copyright.

    No, really, hear me out. A copyright holder would then have two mutually exclusive means to secure control over copying. The first is the traditional one; that is, the courts and the rule of law. If someone infringes a copyright, let the whole weight of the legal system fall upon him or her. The second mechanism is technical means of protection, such as encryption. In this case, if someone is clever enough to defeat the protection, the copyright holder would have no legal recourse. The work would be public domain.

    I think it horribly unfair that, under current practice, copyright holders get to employ the full use of the courts and get to employ mechanisms that abridge my rights as a legitimate user/owner of media. They should have choose one or the other.

    After a few glaring failures and compromises of the encryption, I'm betting they'd concede and go back to enforcement of copyright against people who actually do break their bottom line, leaving us legitimate users alone.

  • Blockquoth the poster:
    . what do they care if it takes a generation or two for all media to be protected like this?
    Well, while it's fun to go all Orwellian about this, consider: These are the guys who pull a TV show after a single episode if "the numbers are right". I doubt any of them have the presence of mind, the foresight, or the patience to wait "a generation".

    Our main advantage over these forces of darkness is that they are, well, pretty weak-minded, on average. We need fear only the coming of a media Napoleon -- that guy would be scary, but these guys are not.

  • Blockquoth the poster:
    In 10 years that will probably mean that your choices are either a)submit to this or b)don't watch televsion.
    You know what? I can live without watching television. If they make me make the choice, then that's the way it's going to go... And, I would say, a large number of people might go the same way. So does it matter (to those of us not addicted to TV) if they manage to screw over the people who are?
  • If everybody stopped selling the Memory Stick Walkman, and caused its' price to drop as low as you predict, where would we buy it?

    On a different note, it really is demand that controls how much we pay for supply, and what gets supplied to us. If you want to timeshift digital TV, would there be a tuner that you can pull an analog signal out of for your analog VCR, or would there have to be some sort of masquerading device that you can put between your 'bad' VCR to make it look like a valid recorder?

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • I had suspected that many television programs were using the same old document classes over and over.
  • -Advertiser gives money to channel
    -Channel give money to production house
    -Production house produces show to give to channel
    -Consumer gets show from channel for free

    -Consumer then complains they can't tape show they didn't pay for (?)

    Do we have any right to argue this? It's not like the DVD situation where some people have argued against me (quite vehemently) that when you purchase a DVD you should be allowed to make copies for yourself. This is a one-time show deal from a content-producer which you are getting for free. How could we possible argue that we need to tape these shows?

    -
    -Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

  • OK, then how about this: since when do consumers feel they have a right to tamper with the product being provided *without* providing feedback through sales revenue? Don't like the conditions, then don't pay for cable. You know the terms and conditions when you sign up.

    The media industry seems to be the only one we try to place artificial boundaries on.

    -
    -Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

  • My DVD player is all regions.

    Does it play the most recent region 1 discs? I heard the bad guys came up with a scheme in which new region 1 discs refuse to play in all-regions players, but found nothing about this except a very short notice in some DVD player manufacturer's site. Anyone has more information about this?

  • Actually, I inquired to the head of the Wake Co. Public Libraries why we have so many romance novels and so few reference books in our libraries. I was told that they want to encourage use of the library, and that's what gets checked out most frequently.

    So they DO track the reading habits of patrons. Okay, maybe not on an individual level, but they do know what they're checking out most frequently. And they're computerizing more, so they should be able to track patrons on an individual level.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • Seems like in their jihad to crush all piracy even at the expense of their customers... they choose to break the law. IANAL, but I'm positive the Home Recording Act says this kind of BS is illegal.

    Maybe this will be the issue that'll bring the DMCA under judicial review, I certainly hope so.
  • You're a customer. Don't put up with this crap. I've bought one DVD in my life, and that was for the purpose of testing the Linux DVD players. The DVD CCA pisses me off, so they don't get my money.
    Same goes with any manufacturer who supports SDMI (I've already returned one portable player). High-definition TV that limits my freedom to timeshift or make copies for friends is no different. A certain dorm room at Georgia Tech will not be equipped with one of these.

    If enough people do this, it'll stop happening. If enough people don't do this (the likely case), we deserve what we get.

    -John
  • It amazes me that you still believe in the almighty power of the consumer. Consumer has no power.

    The majority of the consumers will either not care about this or they will be beaten into submission by the relentless PR machine of the content producers. In either case they will go and buy a high-definition TV sooner or late. When the analog signal goes off the air everyone has to make a choice between buying an HDTV or having learn to live without the magic tube.


  • I totally agree, could somebody tell me what, of everything I watch on tv, needs to be in high definition? I use tivo, and that REDUCED the quality of the picture, but I watch more tv because tivo makes it easier- if I'm an average consumer, what does that say about us, and how we'll accept HDTV?

  • YES I HAVE, it looks cool, but who cares? I go to the movies too but I'm not bitching about the dust and hair I see projected on the screen. Consider the millions and millions of people that dont have perfect eyesight and cant see the screen perfectly. Consider all those people that had a bit of money to spend and they bought those projector tvs. Those SUCK, but people with money bought them anyway. And consider this, digital vcrs like tivo will not work, or work well, with HDTV. Having used tivo I can tell you that it is, without any doubt, a disruptive technology of great magnitude, and it will be less compatable with HDTV, which JUST has a better picture. I'm convinced that HDTV and digital vcrs are incompatable. Right now my tivo can only encode/decode a single channel, so I cant record two things at once, or watch one thing and record another. Soon they will offer "multi encoding/decoding" and people will learn to love it, and when they get HDTV, digital vcrs will probably only sample the signals, killing the resolution, or just barely handle one.

  • the color movie thing is a very bad analogy, color was a new feature, or added dimension, HD is just higher resolution. And that ram reference, look at who you're quoting.

  • my point is, HDTV is NOT better. Would you say that a car that is faster is better? I'm sitting at an Athlon800 with 256M ram and two 20G hard drives and a GForce2. The only time I can tell the difference between my machine now and my last machine which was a k62400 is when I boot up into windows and play games. Now, typing into netscape, if feels no different, it is NOT better. Having billions more pixels on my tv screen will make it LOOK better, but it will not BE better. And dont tell me I'm being old fashioned, I'm watching everything through tivo, and I couldnt stand to go back to my vcr. Sometimes "superior" technology makes a difference, sometimes it doesnt.
  • I think by not implimenting it means the same thing as not having a Video Cypher II descrambler installed in your old C-Band receiver. It too was "optional". However without it and a paid subscription you could not get any "premium" content. Think if "optional" means "unable to", then think "the option is an added feature". It can receive the ball game, movie, PPV event... Devices not built with content protection will be unable to use protected content. Your unprotected TV on current cable without the cable company's decoder is a good example of this setup. I don't think a machine that descrambles scrambled content will be OK as defined by the DMCA.
  • by b1t r0t (216468) on Monday January 15, 2001 @08:35AM (#508176)
    Some players can be made region-switchable. All the "new" protection does is check the GUI region code in addition to the MPEG region code.
  • "He who controls the (media) controls the (people)!"

    Let's face it, without entertainment or leisure of some sort, we go insane. Companies buy into this because they feel that they can get ultra-rich. Just look at Sony; the nefarious team of Norio Ohaga and Akio Morita has almost completely Japanized the entirety of American culture. Fortunately, the people have learned; just one week ago, the Memory Stick Walkman was dropped by CompUSA, and dropped in price from $399.99 to $299.88. However, don't you buy that thing! I want to stand and laugh when its price plummets to $39.88.

  • by Fatal0E (230910) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:47AM (#508184)
    The days of simple PnP pirated video are prob coming to an end.

    As the hardware gets smarter and smarter that only means that the game of cat and mouse between the pirates and broadcasters are is going to get more and more heated. As boradcasters get smarter and start adopting new tech, the people supplying the public with the means to circumvent are gonna have to catch up. Remember all those early copies of Phrack that had all those HOWTO-Cable Piracy tx files?

    RANT

    The worst part is that the paradigm of "pirate" is shifting more and more towards the mainstream, instead of on the fringe as it always was. It's gonna be John Q. Sixpack with his pirated (made in China) VCR that can record everything he wants, watching TV on his pirate TV (made in Taiwan) connected to his pirate Sattelite dish (modded in the good ole US) that lets him watch East Coast NBC and West Coast NBC.

    I guess the assumption that Corps are only worried about the "big time" pirates are over. Even I myself had the assumption that they were only worried about the rings that were dupeing their movies across the Atlantic/Pacific in bulk and that reg ppl were small potatoes and could only be prosecuted (picked on) at a loss. Are those days over? Will the FBI bust into trailer parks across the US under FCC/DMCA/UCITA/CPRM laws? Stayed tuned....
    "Me Ted"
  • FCC
    The FCC is not a lawmaking or institution, it is a commission.

    So? Then who are the guys in the riot gear with FCC appliqueed on their backs who show up and bust pirate radio stations?

  • by blkros (304521) <blkros@yahoo. c o m> on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:48AM (#508206)
    I find the use of the words "high quality content" enormously amusing. After all, we're still talking about TV and there ain't much high quality content on it now. I haven't found anything on it worth taping in years.
  • by flafish (305068) on Sunday January 14, 2001 @08:54AM (#508207)
    How long did it take for Circuit City to drop Divx ? Same will happen here if people don't buy into it? As bandwidth and computer speeds go up, the lenght of time that a code works to lockout ( the use of your equipment) goes down

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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