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Subject: [hangout] [fairuse-discuss] Disturbing Article: The End of Home Recording (fwd)
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From: Seth Johnson
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Subject: [fairuse-discuss] Disturbing Article: The End of Home Recording
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(Forwarded from Interesting People list,
-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 19:43:39 -0400
From: Dave Farber
Note: Intel, which provides the authentication and
encryption, effectively ends home recording -- its licensing
agreement prohibits putting DVI connectors on any device
capable of recording, such as a TiVo or digital VCR.
Piracy concerns may make older digital TV sets obsolete
NEW TECHNOLOGY ADDRESSES STUDIOS' INSISTENCE ON COPYRIGHT
By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Greg Brooks isn't the typical early adopter. He's pragmatic
and when the family television died in 1999, he decided to
splurge on a big-screen set capable of displaying vivid,
cinematic movies in high definition.
``I bought it for the future opportunities,'' said Brooks.
The half-life of Brooks' 60-inch Sony TV just got cut
He is one of the 2 1/2 million people who spent upward of $4
billion on next-generation digital television sets over the
past five years who may find their pricey displays
practically worthless, as the consumer electronics industry
attempts to address Hollywood's concerns about piracy.
The latest digital sets will feature copy protection that
eliminates the consumer's ability to record pay-per-view
movies, or restricts the number of copies they can make of
shows broadcast in digital. These new technologies give
studios the wherewithal to withhold its most valuable
cinematic content from consumers watching on
first-generation sets -- or require satellite and cable
companies to cut the resolution in half through a technique
At issue is a perceived flaw in first-generation digital
sets that's come to be known as the ``analog hole.'' Every
digital TV set sold to consumers since the digital
television revolution began in 1997 comes with component
video inputs. These analog connectors allow video to flow,
unencrypted, from a cable or satellite set-top box to the
Therein lies the security breach.
Anyone can tap into this video source to make pristine
copies of digital movies or TV shows that won't degrade with
each reproduction. These perfect digital duplicates can be
uploaded and distributed infinitely over the Internet.
A fear of Napster-like piracy makes major studios reluctant
to deliver films to the home in high-definition television
format. That has led to a dearth of the high-definition
films and television programming that was to propel the
digital TV revolution.
Walt Disney Chairman Michael Eisner lobbied Congress to plug
the ``analog hole,'' and thwart global piracy on
file-swapping services such as Morpheus and Kazaa.
``We have no problem with customers making a time-shifting
copy of broadcast and cable programming in their own home,''
said Preston Padden, Disney's executive vice president of
government relations. ``Our problem is when the brand new,
$100-million movie shows up in a digitally perfect copy on
file-sharing Web sites.''
The resulting Consumer Broadband and Digital TV Act of 2002,
introduced in March by Sen. Ernest ``Fritz'' Hollings,
D-S.C., would require copy protection be built into any
chip-smart consumer device that touches a song, movie or
other copyrighted work.
The threat of Congress mandating a copy control standard --
much as it did with VCRs -- spurred the consumer electronics
and information technology industries into self-defensive
The resulting remedies may leave early digital TV adopters
out in the snow.
Digital TVs just reaching the market -- including Sony's
flat-screen Wega and models from RCA -- feature a new
Digital Video Interface that makes it impractical -- and
illegal -- to copy digital broadcasts of TV shows or movies.
This new plug is designed to bridge the short, here-to-fore
unencrypted distance a video signal travels between the
set-top box and the digital monitor. It delivers such a
torrent of uncompressed video that it can only be recorded
on $100,000 high-bandwidth commercial recorders. And Intel,
which provides the authentication and encryption,
effectively ends home recording -- its licensing agreement
prohibits putting DVI connectors on any device capable of
recording, such as a TiVo or digital VCR.
``The consumer is losing out, because by adopting DVI as
their digital connection, they are forfeiting any future
right to record or network their home theater products,''
said Robert Perry, marketing vice president for Mitsubishi
Consumer Electronics America, the nation's leading maker of
Mitsubishi has refused to add DVI or CDMI inputs to its
big-screen TVs, instead adopting 1394-FireWire-iLink
standard that has its roots in the computer networking
industry. This video input incorporates another form of copy
protection, the Digital Transmission Copy Protection
protocol (known as 5C) from Intel, that allows for more
The next iteration of DVI technology, jointly developed by
Intel and Sunnyvale chip maker Silicon Image, would extend
copy protection to digital audio -- as well as video.
Silicon Image's initiative announced last week was warmly
endorsed by Universal and 20th Century Fox studios -- and
the nation's leading direct satellite broadcasters, Echostar
and DirecTV, which are still starved for digital content.
``Hollywood loves it because it's damned hard to record
unless you're sitting at a broadcast center. It's got HDCP,
Intel's method of copy-protection, so even if you're able to
hack it, record it and compress it, you've still got to deal
with copy-protection,'' said Dave Arland, spokesman for
Thomson Multimedia, maker of RCA-brand televisions.
The new digital encryption schemes finally give Echostar the
technological ability to address Hollywood's file-swapping
fixation: It can prevent copying of pay-per-view films,
restrict the number of copies of popular shows, like
``Friends.'' It can remotely shut analog outputs to halt
unauthorized copying. And it can even cut in half the
resolution of high-definition programming delivered to
first-generation HDTVs with analog inputs that lack
Echostar hopes its anti-piracy initiatives will give
broadcasters and studios the confidence to augment the
DishNetwork's high definition lineup, now limited to HBO and
Showtime, CBS's prime-time lineup and six monthly
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