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Television Media

New HDTV Encryption Obsoletes Sets 372

Brian Weatherhead writes "I wrote an article, detailing the MPAA's control over your HDTV. Their new standards will make any HDTV bought before 2002 obsolete! Consumers will be upset to say the least." Talks about the different formats for video signals, and copy protection methods for those signals. And yes, if this goes down, anyone with an HDTV without DVI input could very well be watching 480p signals when HDTV standardizes. Fortunately at the rate this stuff has been happening, those TVs will long since have died. But one thing is for sure- with the DMCA, and these new video formats, PVRs could become a thing of the past.
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New HDTV Encryption Obsoletes Sets

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  • This is EXACTLY why I've avoided buying an HDTV. They are expensive, nobody is broadcasting in HDTV yet, and political stuggles over format were bound to happen. I wouldn't go so far as proclaiming the death of DVRs. People like them. And, as long as there is a a demand some one will come up with a supply. I'm just sick of hearing about groups like the RIAA and MPAA using our Constitution like a roll of toilet paper. When is someone going to stand up for the individual?
    • They'll stand up for the individual when doing so puts large wads of cash in their pockets.
    • Now, the question of the day is this: Which will happen first:
      1. The RIAA and MPAA will use the DMCA to render broadcast media unrecordable; or
      2. The quality of shows broadcast continues to decline to the point of being unwatchable to begin with

      Seriously, unless or until television is rejuvenated with "The CowboyNeal Show", I think that concerns about the RIAA and MPAA hijacking HDTV are little more than alphabet-soup hysteria.

    • by Reikk ( 534266 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:36PM (#3061991) Homepage

      Nobody is broadcasting in HDTV? All major networks are broadcasting things in HDTV. Hook up an antenna. Here are the following shows I can watch _just tonight_ on my HDTV:

      ABC: Tarzan, Alias, The Practice
      CBS: Eduction of Max Bickford, Rosa Parks Story
      Fox: Simpsons, Malcom, Bernie Mac
      NBC: Winter olympics
      UPN: Buffy
      and more.. movie channels HBO, Showtime, etc.

      Unless you live in the boonies, most major networks are indeed broadcasting in HDTV OTA. HDTV programming is available via satellite for DirectTV and Dish network. HDTV is available via cable for those with certain cable companies (time warner and a few others).

      Next time you post something, try getting a clue and stop karma whoring with your political rhetoric.
    • I guess I'm really not worried about these format changes because I bought a mitsubishi, which comes with this gurantee: http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/PROMISE.html I am quit happy with my HDTV. Watching the Olympics right now, go USA!
    • This is EXACTLY why I've avoided buying an HDTV. They are expensive, nobody is broadcasting in HDTV yet, and political stuggles over format were bound to happen. I wouldn't go so far as proclaiming the death of DVRs. People like them. And, as long as there is a a demand some one will come up with a supply.

      At this point I have no doubt that a HDTV that does not support PVR use is unsaleable. The people who are early adopters for HDTV are precisely the people who are buying PVR.

      At this point the main reason to buy HDTV is to use it with a DVD player. There is no HDTV broadcast content worth speaking of. So people are buying a widescreen TV to watch movies.

      I don't think that the format that broadcast TV uses is very important at this point. Who wants to watch a film ruined with numerous adverts? People who care about HDTV will be watching on HBO or the like. Just what content do NBC, CBS and the like that is in the least bit interesting?

      Best way to watch the Olympics was via Canadian satelite.

    • When is someone going to stand up for the individual?

      How about when we start doing our part and snail mailing our represenatives in congress and our state government just what we think of this?

      And no form letters, be orginial!

      House.gov's representative lookup site [house.gov]

    • Anyone remember the 8-track tape players?
      This is looking more and more like expensive sucker-bait. People do not buy expensive toys to be hassled and made to look foolish.
      Look at it. See it for what it is. Snicker politely, and leave.
  • Suggestion (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:41PM (#3061759) Homepage
    Message to HDTV equipment owners:

    Let's all get together and rent a cargo plane, load up all our newly obsolete HDTV equipment, and drop it on the MPAA's headquarters. It's pretty heavy stuff; should make a lot of nice holes in the roof, and will hopefully squash some of those responsible.
  • Do not... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:42PM (#3061764)
    I repeat, do not buy this stuff if it won't let you do what you want to do. This should serve as a good reminder that the corportations are not in the game to make you happy.
  • by xeniten ( 550128 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:42PM (#3061767) Homepage
    My HDTV is now obsolete....

    My car is now obsolete...

    My existing collection of Blade Runner is now obsolete...

    My copy of Photoshop is now obsolete...

    Sun is obsolete...

    My jacket is obsolete...

    My understanding of copyright laws are obsolete...

    And my abandonware games are obsolete...but they were to begin with...

    : (

  • by schlach ( 228441 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:45PM (#3061778) Journal
    But one thing is for sure- with the DMCA, and these new video formats, PVRs could become a thing of the past.

    If it's viewable, it's recordable. If there's money to be made modding TVs and PVRs to be recordable, someone will be selling mod-chips.

    "But that's illegal!"

    That's for the courts to decide. Perhaps the primary purpose of mod-chips will be allowing viewers to exercise so-called 'fair use' rights of a personal copy for private viewing, and piracy is only an unintentional side-effect.

    You know, like Napster. ;)
    • It's nice to believe that, but in this case it just won't be possible. A recordable signal, analog or digital, won't ever exist where you can get at it. The monitor will take the encrypted signal (via DVI) and convert it into appropriate CRT deflection information for the monitor drivers either via a single chip or a potted module. I suppose if you are willing to risk frying your $3000 HDTV monitor and are REALLY good at desoldering surface mount chips, it might be possible to put in a mod (assuming someone actually makes a mod that you can afford).
    • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:33PM (#3061978) Homepage
      And what if the court you are tried in is Judge Kaplan's court?

      Where the only parts of the law that matter are those that can be used to find you liable, and not those that can be used to exonerate you.

      And what will people do when the DMCA is tightened so that even owning a mod chip becomes an automatic felony with a 10 year prison sentence?

      It is no longer just a game of tecnological cat and mouse. We are the mouse, and the gov't will stomp us to death if we try to run away from the cat - it is a no win situation - UNLESS WE GET THE LAWS CHANGED OR OVERTURNED.
      • by colmore ( 56499 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:56PM (#3062065) Journal
        I've been thinking about this. And I don't think it's possible to get the laws overturned. Congress is far too addicted to the media industry's money. So I say that all concerned artists and appreciators of art (and I mean art in the general all-media sense) pick some country - say... oh, Spain, I hear the weather's nice - and move there. We could establish a new world worth living in.

        I mean... look at the horrible assinine things that the MPAA and the RIAA are doing, then look at the state of movies and music. Sure there's some good stuff coming out, but compare either to the 60's and 70's and, there just isn't the kind of creativity in the business that there once was. And I don't think that's because there aren't any good ideas left, I just think somewhere someone discovered that shit is easier to sell.

        So we should get up and leave.
        • Sorry, but Spain is in the European Comunity and we get imposed the same laws as the rest of Europe which are imposed to Europe by the U.S.A. and their corporations money.

          Our politicians can be bought the same as yours, so you better move your ass, because you can vote on this things, but we can not (we have unelected bureaucrats making the calls, see the EU patent office).

        • I think that one of the most visible consequences of the utterly stupid laws that pander to media companies is that more and more intelligent people who want to be able to work with technology unfettered will not be able to do so here in the US. Those people will start to move away, and brain drain will escalate to the point that nobody will be left in America who can work any gadget more complicated than the register at McDonalds. The death of free America happened a while ago. The body just isn't cold yet.
        • I'm actually planning on doing this sometime in the far future. Once life becomes completely unacceptable i'm going to move to Brazil. Its a country that cares more about the people than the corporations [slashdot.org] and while its extremely clear to me that i have not thought this out. I'm just glad that there are places to excape U.S.
      • when the DMCA is tightened so that even owning a mod chip becomes an automatic felony with a 10 year prison sentence?


        The only "tightening" needed is dropping the 5 years + $500,000 for first offense. Second offense is already 10 years + $1,000,000.

        -
    • by cshotton ( 46965 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:00PM (#3062075) Homepage
      But one thing is for sure- with the DMCA, and these new video formats, PVRs could become a thing of the past.

      It doesn't even have to be viewable to be recordable. Anyone with a DirecTV Tivo is doing everything necessary today to work with an encrypted or compressed video stream. The DirecTivo boxes take the unadulterated downlink signal right off the receiver and spew it onto the hard drive. It's only decoded during playback.

      It's a no-brainer to record the HDTV signal, regardless of its format, and save all the bits, and then stream them out later in time shifted form to the HDTV receiver.

      Of course, all the encryption scheme would have to have is some sort of time based encoding synced with the TV's clock to render time shifted playback impossible, but how smart have the industry protocol designers been so far?

      Oops! They're reading this post! We're doomed now.

      (And of course, it presupposes that people can set the clocks on their TVs. Given the number of flashing "12:00" displays on the world's VCRs, this doesn't seem likely...)

    • "But that's illegal!"


      That's for the courts to decide. Perhaps the primary purpose of mod-chips will be allowing viewers to exercise so-called 'fair use' rights of a personal copy for private viewing, and piracy is only an unintentional side-effect.
      Unless you live in the EU, where the Infosoc-directive that's already passed last may and becoming law this december forbids modchips and zonefree DVD players according to norwegian media, not to mention manufacture, import, distribution, sale, rental, advertisement for sale or rental, or possession for commercial purposes of devices, products or components or the provision of services that break copyright protection (edited for space).

      Article: http://www.digi.no/dtno.nsf/pub/dd20020221155040_e r_97197070 (Norwegian)
      Law:
      http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en /lif/dat/2001/en_30 1L0029.html
  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:50PM (#3061800) Homepage
    They're putting the encryption on the DIGITAL connection. Analog connections will NOT be deliberately obsoleted. My HDTV is connected via analog; is yours?

    The article predicts that hardware with analog outputs will become harder to find in the future, but that doesn't mean they'll disappear completely, and by the time they've nearly gone, I'll bet I'll have reason to upgrade anyway.
    • They're putting the encryption on the DIGITAL connection. Analog connections will NOT be deliberately obsoleted. My HDTV is connected via analog; is yours?

      But what are you going to do in a few years (2006-2007 IIRC) when TV stations will be forced to go all-digital?
    • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:06PM (#3061871) Journal
      Actually, No..

      Take a look at the box your HDTV Set Top Box came in, or look at the manual. It includes the capability to "down-res" the analog output, if copyright holders so choose.

      That is what is obsoleting your old set. When the industry decides that DVI is the only acceptable interface, they flip the switch, and the 1080i signal is now down-res'd to 480p.

      What a luxury, to be an industry that can spit on consumers & still flourish. In fact, HDTV owners are often some of the biggest movie fans, trying to get the best quality possible for their movie viewing. And the movie industry says "screw you"!
      • by bay43270 ( 267213 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:45PM (#3062030) Homepage
        In fact, HDTV owners are often some of the biggest movie fans, trying to get the best quality possible for their movie viewing. And the movie industry says "screw you"! The movie industry is screwing their biggest supporters because supporters are demanding more than ever before. I was perfectly content watching commercials before I got my Tivo. I only bought it so I could watch tv shows at my leisure. I had no idea I would become addicted to the control I now have over my tv. If DIVX (Circut's City's format) was introduced before videotape... it might have take off. We would have never known the power of ownership. Once you've left the matrix, there's no going back. The movie, tv and music industries are all fighting loosing battles. I don't think anyone knows for sure how this will end, but one thing's for sure... most of us are not going back.
      • That is what is obsoleting your old set. When the industry decides that DVI is the only acceptable interface, they flip the switch, and the 1080i signal is now down-res'd to 480p.

        Assuming it's your set that's reducing the quality of what you see, and not the transmitter that's transmitting reduced quality, you can quite legally build a circumvention device, since reducing the quality is not a right enjoyed by copyright holders under current legislation.

        That's not to say that the current totalitarian regime in the US (and by extension the rest of the world) won't make it illegal at the drop of a "campaign contribution".

    • well the day i am forced to give in to a digital HDTV signal because no more broadcasts are made on analog, or no more analog tvs are to be found, is the day I throw out my old tv and build my library of classical liturature.
  • Why HDTV anyway? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smnolde ( 209197 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:54PM (#3061819) Homepage
    I mean, 99% of the time my TV is off. Why do I need HDTV to watch it collect dust.

    I'll never pay for an HDTV and I can't afford one. So why do I need to pay out my wahzoo for one of eighteen methods of viewing HDTV?

    I'd rather go to Europe and watch my stuff on PAL. At least PAL is affordable and widely available and also has a much better picture than NTSC.

    HDTV will just suck too much to gain any viewing pleasure from it.
    • TV is laim... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by yintercept ( 517362 )
      I agree 100% TV is lame. You should be able to project whatever image you want on what ever display device you have available. My personal hope had been that computer companies would infiltrate the TV market and start producing more display devices for projecting computer/tv images onto walls...etc..

      The way to break the MPAA is for a different industry to come and provide the public with something better/more versatile than TV.
  • Unfortunately the signal from my geforce to toshiba cinema series hdtv is s-video so it's not as purty as it could be. DVD's look fantastic with the colorstream connection. I've found vga to colorstream cables for as little as $100, but haven't been able to afford it recently (the hdtv's a long story). I'd attempt this [keohi.com] if it would give me 1080i

    As for my set's obsolesence? I get my tv shows off the net anyway- the set is for games and dvd's
  • by r2ravens ( 22773 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @03:55PM (#3061825)
    Looks like I'll be watching VHS on my 19" Sony well into the 20-teens.

    I'm not touching DVD's until the decss and region encoding issues are resolved (putting my money where my mouth is and voting with my wallett), and the way they have screwed up HDTV since it's original version 10 - 12 years ago is disgusting. This is absolute proof of entropy.

    Someday I may replace my cassettes with CD's, but I'm waiting for the technology to prove itself... :)

  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:00PM (#3061848) Homepage
    HDTV is not really new. It has been around since 1981. But, the studios have restricted the release of digital media until they felt that they could have sufficient control over it, a control that will never be possible.
    This control has not nor will it ever "protect" the consumer's interests, only the studios. In fact their implementation of these restrictions will cause major consumer backlash as we all see what has transpired, and how much it has cost us. If anything, the deceit and confusion over DVI and DTCP will only make the adoption of HDTV and HD-DVD harder.


    No kidding? Anyone with any technical savy knows that there is virtually nothing that the MPAA nor any other entity can do that can effectively control the dissemination of information at this point in history. Seems this guy is just parroting what is taken to be obvious around here - the traditional content provider business model is dead, or at least mortally wounded. Must be a Katz deciple.

    On the plus side, this article may actually inform more people besides the /.'ers about the true reason why better content and content delivery is being stiffled by the people that make it - they would lose control over it, and therfore their consumers. *Puts on TinFoil Hat* Since North American society is fed most of it's culture through the glowing box in the corner, a lot of thier culteral control will go away too.*Takes off TinFoil Hat*.

    Geez - I'm sounding like Katz too. Maybe he's right? Naaaa....

    Soko
  • I just called my dad, told him to sell his $6,500 65" HDTV... that is, if he wants to protect his investment.

    Either have a 65" tv for a couple years or have a 65" tv for many years, but you have to wait a little while first..

    either way, I don't think he is giving it up quite yet.
  • If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PM4RK5 ( 265536 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:03PM (#3061855)

    People knew what they were buying in to.

    The problem with things like this is the fact that people don't know they're being cheated. If everybody knew that recording your favorite episode of while you're out for dinner is illegal under the DMCA due to the (Begin Rant) legal crap the sleazebag lawyers who work for the MPAA think up (End Rant), then people would not buy it.

    So if people knew what the MPAA, etc... is doing behind our backs, they wouldn't buy it - instituting a sort of boycott. Then, maybe the MPAA would realize that we are the source of their money and better suck it up and make us happy.

    We're always complaining about how deep corporate pockets can be, but if we have a probem with it - then don't buy it - we're the ones giving them that money.

    • I think companies should be required to clearly mark crippled products as such. The average customer expects that when he buys a video recorder, he can use it to record any films he likes. If that's not possible, the recorder should be sold with an obvious label on the box that says "will not record some movies."

      I know that some so-called liberals will scream about such requirements being overregulation, but they are not. Free markets are all about being able to chose the product you like best. How can you make a purchase descision if you don't know all the facts?

      In Germany, many lawyers argue that if you purchase a music CD and it doesn't play in your computer, you have the right to return it, unless you knew about the restriction before. Interestingly enough, many new CDs (mostly the mainstream chart music) now carry a label that says "will NOT play on PC/Mac," and are not labeled "compact disc digital audio" any more. I haven't purchased any of them yet, and will avoid doing so as long as possible.

    • And there is a simple way to do this. Write into your local newspapers urging readers to not buy HDTV equipment because the motion picture industry plans on forcefully making their hugely expensive equipment obsolite in a few years.

      The result is that you put a LOT of pressure on the electronics companies by killing their market. If there is no market bacause people think that their equipment will be made obsolite, the electronics industry WILL NOT build these new devices. The RIAA/MPAA's schemes are all at the mercy of the electronics manufactureres. If they don't build the hardware, these schemes will fail on the drawing board.
  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:08PM (#3061877)
    A point everyone seems to be overlooking is that this article is referring to next generation DVDs, not broadcast HDTV. The latter must be broadcast "in the clear," but the MPAA has been only been willing to release relatively low-resolution formats.

    At the current rate of HDTV adoption, there is no chance of the FCC agreeing to allow encrypted broadcasts - one of the FCCs rules is to promote the use of the airwaves, and nothing stops that quicker than calling the early adopters who invested thousands of dollars "suckers."

    Being unable to view high-res DVD-NGs on older HDTVs sucks, but it's not as bad as the broadcast getting encrypted.
    • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:15PM (#3062152) Journal
      No.. this is not correct.

      The first example of this threat is satellite TV. DirecTV. Almost all HDTV decoders today also do DirecTV. These boxes carry a warning saying they can down-res the signal if the copyright holders choose. So, when DVI is set as the standard, they tell HBO & DirecTV, and they flip the switch. After that, my HBO-HD is no longer 1080i, it is now 480p.

      Broadcast TV is another matter. I think that broadcast TV will not be effected by this. But, given the history of this stuff, I am not willing to assume that.
      • by Argyle ( 25623 )
        I work in one of the companies that owns a TV network.

        Yes, the new standards are intended to be used by OTA local TV stations. They plan to instruct decoders to down-res any non-secure compliant setups.

        So, people that watch over the air HDTV now and enjoy 1080i & 720p broadcasts, will eventually be watching 480i/p versions unless they upgrade to the new compliant hardware.

        Insane? Yes.
        Foolhardy? Yes.
  • I am willing to subscribe to cable and pay for a box that I never use for the precise reason that I never use it. The signal is also playable (and recordable if I so desired) on all the PCs and Macs TVs and VCRs in my house. Take that away from me, and I have a problem paying for the service since I never watch TV sitting in front of the large screen in the living room. Its always at the kitchen table or down in the exercise room or on this machine when I am doing something else. I suspect that I am hardly alone here.

    Bottom line, encrypted HDTV is not something I would buy even if there was no other alternative available.
  • Let it go, man (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:19PM (#3061920)
    The movie industry needs to just let it go, man. If they would just stop this anal-retentive obsession over total control and focus on selling movies, they'd be making more money than ever.

    If they would just sell DVDs for $11.99 and and provide movie downloads for $5.99, only a very few would bother pirating their stuff. Forget the encryption mumbo-jumbo. Make it easy for your customers to have a good experience.

    Every time somebody sneaks snacks into a movie in their purse, the movie industry loses a few dollars of revenue that should have been spent on outrageously priced candy. However, if people were strip-searched entering the theaters so that the few 'snack-pirates' would be caught, there would be a huge backlash, so they live with the illicit food munchers. As it happens, 99% of the people buy the food in the theaters anyway. No need for high-tech countermeasures or a Concessional Millenium Snackfood Act to protect the theater owners..

    It's too bad that the media corporations can't seem to apply real-world customer relations common sense to the digital realm.

  • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:24PM (#3061937) Journal
    Almost all HDTV's sold today still have analog component video inputs. The only ones (maybe) not susceptible to this are the sets with internal HDTV tuners. Since the link between the HDTV decoder and the display is not accessible, it doesn't need to be encrypted. (at least that's the logical conclusion.. Noone would claim that logic governs the existing requirements).

    Contradicting this stance on encryption, JVC and a few of the studios just announced last week that they will be selling HDTV movies on D-VHS tapes this year. The content on the tape is copy protected, but the link to the display is plain old unencrypted component video.

    Also, the argument they make to justify this requirement is that they don't want people to be able to make "perfect digital copies" of their movies. That's very reasonable, I am fine with that. But, component outputs are ANALOG. To record a movie via the analog outputs does not create a perfect copy. And the equipment to do so is not cheap or accessible. How many of you have seen a VCR capable of recording a VGA output? That's what would be needed (in fact, the output of my RCA HDTV decoder is VGA).

    DVI is solving a problem that does not exist. They try to put spin on it & represent it as a benefit to the consumer. But, that is the opposite of the truth. On my tube based HDTV, component or VGA inputs are capable of sending an image better than the set can display. There is no quality advantage. It only adds cost / complexity / and obsoletes a lot of hardware.
  • The DMCA effectively outlaws higher math. Think about it - data encryption is just complex higher math. Reversing it requires some skill with a data logger / oscilloscope, etc., and quite a bit of work, these days, shuttling mathematics around on paper. At least as far as I've seen.... maybe I'm wrong.

    All somebody has to do to ban Calculus class forever from all highschools in the US is make some encryption based on integration or differentiation. I'm sure that's already happened.... I can see it now: "Calculus, the study of Differential Equations, and all of number theory have been declared unlawful because their primary purpose has become the circumvention of encryption."

    [Moderators - it's supposed to be a joke. Mod appropriately]

    _Knots
  • How does this affect PCI or AGP HDTV tuners, such as this one [digitalconnection.com]. I already have a UHF antenna on my roof, which picks up the major networks very well, so I was considering buying one. $350 for free NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and FOX until they change the standards again. Not a bad deal unless they change the standards in 6 months.
  • by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @04:37PM (#3061996)
    Either the courts are going to keep passing dehabilitating laws such as the DMCA and allow the RIAA and Movie industry to keep screwing its customers or its going to realize "Oh gee... I didn't realize that all this piracy was a result of the entertainment industry fattening its wallets with the money of joe consumer, who doesn't really have the money to buy a hdtv but is told by the guy at "Tv world" that he needs it to watch tv and movies". I think that at some time, like with the recent napster thing, that maybe the courts will realize that they are here to defend the best interest of its citizens... not its corporations. Everyone bitchs about this... but i don't see anyone standing outside of radioshack, best buy, audio visual or circuit city with little flyers and such. I mean the hippies do it for starbucks, etc... why don't the nerds unite. We should use our knowledge of technology for good purposes and spread the info that joe consumer doesn't have. I'm sure this could lead to laws like the dmca, etc being looked at more seriously by the courts and maybe even some hilarious hyjinx along the way.
    • Posts like this come across as whining. The only thing that will really change anything is when consumers wise up and stop handing their money over to these industries. Humankind did fine without them for the longest time, so the world won't come to an end when John Q. Consumer elects to forego purchasing his usual quota of four DVDs/CDs per month.

      If you keep giving someone the stick they then use to beat you, who is at fault?
  • These days, law abiding citizens are being treated like criminals in so many parts of their lives, with the increasing use of not only copy protection technology, but security screenings, identifications, background and credit checks, etc. I really wonder if someday someone is going to do a study and find that the psychological effects of going through most of life not being trusted is causing all sorts of issues, like incrased stress, depression, family problems, etc... At the very least, one has to wonder if being treated like a criminal would start to make someone act like a criminial.

    ---
    Please give me the strength to turn off my TV!
  • that by that time, someone will have come up with a converter that makes those previously purchased HDTV sets compatible?
  • It's only media (Score:4, Informative)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) <asv&ivoss,com> on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:03PM (#3062091) Homepage Journal
    I'm not trying to reduce the impact of this story, but the headline was a little sensationalized. HDTV media under this standard will not work but you will still be able to watch HDTV on the pre-2002 sets. I just want to clear that up for the masses who are too lazy to read the actual article :)

    One note we can take from the history of a commercially unsuccessful product is DAT copy protection. DAT had the potential to become a consumer audio format, but the industry was really worried about copy protection since with DAT you can make perfect digital copies. They put in a copy protection "feature" called SCMS Serial copy management system [club-internet.fr]. After a few years deck manufactures started producing decks that defeat SCMS. Maybe this will happen with HDTV media protection. If not, I'm sure somebody will figure out a way to bypass it or reverse engineer it.

    • And now DAT is more or less dead... which is another note we can take from the history of a commercially unsuccessful product.

      Namely- if these guys are going to carry on like this, save your money- their product's gonna die, and it'll be THEIR loss if you have the sense to ignore them.

  • sorry if this isn't very organized... but here's how i feel...

    the movie industry is actually worth my money.

    maybe the actors are overpaid, and there are scores of shitty movies...

    ...but...

    i'd drop $15 for a good DVD over a good CD any day.

    why? hundreds of people put their effort into making one movie, while only a hand-full put their efforts into making a cd. not only that... but a movie is more engrosing than a cd will ever be because you're using both visuals and sound.

    what about fair use, you cry? give me one good example where you *need* to copy a movie that you own. i can think of a few for music, namely transfering music to another format to be portable, such as an mp3 device. but what about movies?

    finally... be realistic here... you can bet your sweet ass that someone will make a box which strips out whatever encryption they throw into this new movie medium --> tv format.

    (side note) it's funny how the networks are so against PVRs, yet you see their commercials ON TELEVISION. funny to see that networks will help pimp the product, but hate the errosion of their business model as well. that's hypocracy at its finest.
    • Cinematique said:
      > what about fair use, you cry? give me one good example where you *need* to copy a movie that you own

      Fair use? Let's suppose I want to use clips from a movie in a class I'm giving about filmmaking. Not the whole movie - just a few scenes. Almost everyone would agree that this should not be illegal. Indeed, it is in the publishers interests that I can do this so that future artists can create new content. And yet, this is not possible.

      But copying is not the real issue - it's about control. Look at the DVD furore about DeCSS. Professional pirates don't need to break encryption - they make bit perfect encrypted copies using professional mastering encryption. However, DeCSS (and the DMCA) makes it illegal for me to write my own DVD player so I can watch *my* DVD on my Linux machine.

      I could (maybe) accept the loss of ownership if the consumer saw some benefit - e.g. if I could pay $2 to watch a time-limited movie over the net, or continue to pay $15 to buy the DVD. But as proposed, I don't have that choice.

      I'm not saying Copyright is wrong - content producers need protection. But a balance must be struck.
  • Slate article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:17PM (#3062167)
    I read a Slate article a few days ago ("Tube Tied" [msn.com]) about HDTV. It doesn't touch on this issue, but it does describe what you can expect to put up with if you buy an HDTV set.
    It seems that unless you're buying the TV so you can watch your DVDs on a nicer screen, it's probably not a good idea. You're going to be watching a lot of NTSC 480 line video for quite some time whether your TV can handle the extra resolution or not.
  • by modipodio ( 556587 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:19PM (#3062175)
    Over and over again I hear about companies trying to impose by force copy protection , And over and over again I see many people posting and asking the very , very valid question , "why would I buy something which not only offers less funtionality but restricts what I can do severly?".

    Are we not heading towards a global resession ? will people surely not be buying less? will people ,(the majority ), not be tightining there belts and making use of "WHAT THEY HAVE GOT",The vcr's they own the pvr's they own the ps2's they have.

    The big problem ,(in my opinion), with all of these grand plans to introduce new standards
    which limit x and y is that all of these standards basicly require you to buy new hardware.If This hardware does not offer a signifigant improvement which is obvious to the consumer , the consumer will not buy it,especialy not if cash is tight.

    The efferts of the music industry and the film industry to pull off this sort of trick will only really occur when they offer something which people regard as a valuable feature which incorperates whatever drm the entertainment industry wants as a consequence of using this attractive new feature. I think that aol/time warner and sony are the two companies in the best position to pull this off.What they basicly need to do is offer access to a large library of content for a set fee ,basicly what they have to do is tun the internet into tv , that is there aim and that is what is more than likely to happen.

    People got a taste of napster and they liked it, it was easy to use and allowed them to listen to what they wanted when they wanted, it allowed them alot of choice and freedom to explore and expand there musical tastes. soon companies like aol/time warner and sony will set up shop offering for a monthly fee access to large libraries of content encoded and protected by what ever means they want.Basicly it will be like pay tv.

    The danger with all of this in my opinion can be seen with aol/time warner and the danger in my mind is with the link bettween content provider and isp , over the next couple of years, I think what will happen is that for an isp to be successfull it will have to offer exclusive content, the isps with the biggest content librarise will be the biggest isp's.I can see these isps locking down what there users can and can not do .I can see the internet becoming a series of big isp/content providers and I think that the majority of people will not care,they will get there music/ tv/ movies/ games at a flat rate this flat rate will go up gradually,(like cd's),but no one will care and they will pay,they
    will have there hotmail account,they will be able to send there free sms and use there favorite im and shop till they drop with there credit card.

    Privacy,freedom of speech and certain rights will be the price along with a a scabby corkscrew price styled uncompetitive media system which we will all have to put up with if we want access to the majority of music/film/tv/games.

    But is this really the case ?Will things be so absolutely terrible , will there be no independent networks , no truely free content,(as in freedom), or indenpendent music which will not require the permission of the system lords to played ? There will alwasy be the internet or some remains of what it once was and this is some thing which may offer a little glimmer of hope, Independent labels and film makers could open ther own site and these sites could become popular, bored people could hear of these independent networks and go visit them ,(well if they were not blocked from doing so),And when these sites became signifigantly popular they would be bought out and assimilated by the big content providers.The internet or that which is independent in a way from the large centers of owned content would merly become a cheap test bed where up and coming content creators could try and attract enough attention from users so as they might get bought up by one of the big content providers.

    The only differences between the future net I describe and the net we use today is control and the implications of this control on culture and inovation.If the net is not to become basicly tv , it will be due to a signifigant amount of people not adopting drm technologies ,and or aol/time warner and sony being to tight in what they offer in terms of content,(i.e to little for to much or way to much restrictions ),The eff or some one else securing a victory which would secure the ability of p2p networks to continue to operate and hence people to trade music and a change in peoples attitude towards there rights .

  • Do you really think the media industry is ever going to stop, trying to control every aspect of media distribution? They have a drug-like product that most of the US population is addicted to and that they have an almost complete monopoly over. Fair use alone is a big problem for them, as is if people can publish without going through those companies.

    There is a very simple solution to this: kick the habit. Don't buy a TV or a PVR. Read a good book instead, go see a play, or spend time with friends.

  • Now, if there was a VALID reason to change the format, people wouldn't be particularly angry. They would understand that becuase of technical restrictions A, B and C, the format needs to change. But when they are adding crap for the SOLE purpose of getting more money with NO benifit to the consumer, well, that's going to raise some eyebrows. Imagine if they sold cars that required payments to be made directly to car manufacturers X per mile driven. Imagine the outrage! Imagine if the electricity in your apartment, besides paying a monthly bill, could ONLY be used for "officialy approved" PG&E appliances...
  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:43PM (#3062310)
    This really just sucks. Alot of the early adopters, who are also the best customers of this sort of technology, are likely to be screwed over.

    However, there is a good chance for those manufaturers to promote some really strong customer loyalty from those same customers. The manufaturers had best oppose this, loudly and they had best put their money behind it. The next bit, is that they will want to provide to all the customers who own an earlier model HDTV with a converter box to convert the signal to something their TV can handle.

    As long as we are at it, why dont the DVD and TV manufaturers take a lesson from the PC industry, and create some removable hardware cards that can be used to adapt their hardware in the event of a standards shift? This feature alone could put a TV manufaturer ahead of the game since it appears obvious that encryption standards will be a moving target.

    I dont exactly like the current Copyright situations, but at least the hardware manufaturers can make things easier for the consumers.

    END COMMUNICATION
    • Most hardware manufacturers have been fighting this. So much so that Disney feels the need to blame them for "preventing progress."

      See Preston Padden, VP at Disney play spin doctor on this one right here:

      http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s= &t hreadid=109285&pagenumber=2
  • Again... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tcc ( 140386 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @05:44PM (#3062314) Homepage Journal
    Like my previous posts, the big question I am asking myself since 2 years about USA: WTF?

    They are doing EVERYTHING to kill their own buisness. They put crazy protection schemes that screws up joe nobody's CD in his old CD player, they do everything to kill online music sharing instead of building a successful buisness model on top of it, they put up stuff like DMCA that upsets just about everyone exept large corporation that don't even think before publicly using hot terms like "terrorist" to describe some developpers, and now, with such an announcement, they simply WACK in the face the people WITH MONEY (because, you NEED money to buy a half decent TV with hdtv support, and you need LOADS of it to buy a decent screen size with HDTV support). What message are all these moves sending to the consumers?

    "We can't decide on a standard, but be an early adopter with only 1% support of channels for the technology you payed good money for, and we'll make it obsolete even before getting to 2%"

    "We want your money, once we have it, we don't give a rats ass about you anymore, get on with it"

    And the most lame but starting to become excusable: "Well I've got ripped once, twice, now I'll support the piracy system because I have to buy one hacked hardware and I don't have to deal with this shit no more!"

    Protecting content is one thing, I had nothing against DVD being encrypted BEFORE becoming public and mainstream, at least then, NOBODY was had, everything was "standard" and you knew that it would probably take something like a new format before everything you bought got obsolete, and that new format would be backward compatible like dvds are to CDs.

    TVs aren't cheap like DVD players, and especially HDTV units with decent size and features. If this passes, you just gave a go to pirates to make devices to "clean the signal off that dirt and make it work on older sets" (or circomvention device under the DMCA I guess), for a totally legit use. You'll have fun in court because IANAL but I'm sure there's going to be a big grey zone if such an issue arises.

    God I'm glad I'm living in Canada sometimes, we have a clown as a prime minister, but at least they aren't pulling that kind of pathetic moves on us, yet :).

  • DIVX, anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr.Spaz ( 468833 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:13PM (#3062459)
    DIVX was cleanly destroyed by a concerted early-adopter-consumer effort which led to a total lack of support for the format. I remember the rather quick decline amongst million dollar ads that was due to nothing more than those "in the know" informing Joe Q Public; "DIVX? Don't buy that, it's worhtless." I don't see why that couldn't happen here. Make a big stink beforehand; you'll never buy a set that supports this. It's worthless and forces the user to follow corporate mandates. Then make sure you tell anyone who'll listen. No money-hungry corporation will be able to resist for long; one or more will break ranks and offer non-DVI devices that (hopefully) will sell like hotcakes while the DVI boxes rot on the shelves.
  • PVRs vs HDTV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vanyel ( 28049 )
    PVRs could become a thing of the past.

    In a battle between PVRs and HDTV, PVRs will win. Much as I want the quality of HDTV, if I can't watch it when I want to, or even when I can, then it doesn't exist. And my family is much less techo/videophile than I am --- quality really doesn't matter that much to them.

  • by Agent Green ( 231202 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @06:14PM (#3062467)
    And I mean a nice Sony 36" Color NTSC set. I bought it about 3 years ago.

    The thing will probably last me another 20 years.

    In fact, I have no intention of replacing it until it dies, during which I can only hope this content control bullshit is sorted out.

    If I'm going to so much as subscribe to anything on HDTV, there had damn well better be some way for me to record the shows I want to see. I don't really watch TV now, but I did when I had a satellite feed. I'd do it all over again, but I'd have a satellite TIVO this time.

    I'm bitching because I would love to eventually set up my home theater with a widescreen HDTV setup, but I will seriously think twice about it with content controls...even if they don't affect my viewing habits.
  • It does not matter how much encryption is used on a sugnal, it always has to be decrypted, in order to be put on the screen.

    So you can always get your signal from there. Sure some more hacking will be required, but that doesnt stop people from putting chips in their consoles.

  • With an encypted to the monitor standard, it is possible to make a PVR impossible, and easy to make it very limited. Even if you can record the encrypted stream, you would have to play it back exactly as recorded, ie. no fast forward or other non-linear viewing, no avoiding commercials. You can't alter an encrypted stream, as you know.

    If they wanted to get picky they could broadcast it with timestamps and bits that tell the TVs not to play it back at any other time than live. While the supreme court ruled that timeshifting is legal, it's uncertain if that means they are required to make it easy or possible.

    That leaves you with opening up your sealed decrypting TV and decoding the analog signals going into the CRT, or putting a camera at the screen. Not going to be very common.

    There is another solution, however, which is to change the nature of how advertising integrates into TV. Make TV pay TV but give people a discount, all the way to free, every time they really watch a commercial. Then you don't need to put the decryption in the monitor, which is good, but you still need DRM to make the pay TV work.

    Details on my page on the future of tv [templetons.com]

    • Of course I have and love one. You need to re-read this topic to be clear on what the studios propose. Encryption all the way to the display device. Short of breaking the encryption, you can't alter an encrypted stream. If you record it, you have to play it exactly as is, no pausing, no skipping commercials, no rewind or FF of any kind, or the decryptor can be set to not decrypt it.

      (In fact other than pausing you must be able to fully decrypt it to do any of these things.)
  • fraud? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glsunder ( 241984 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @07:14PM (#3062722)
    "The electronics industry kept this secret under wraps as long as they could. "

    If this is the case, wouldn't consumers be able to file a class action lawsuit? They should, and it should cost all involved dearly. Possibly, it should even be severe enough that the government should dissallow the use of encryption by the broadcasters.

    At the rate this is going, I think people may need to consider government oversight of the mpaa, and to a limited extent, the studios. Although that goes against many capitolistic ideals, these groups seem to embrace every thing bad about capitolism. It sure wouldn't hurt the quality of media -- tv sucks so bad, I'm surprise people aren't embarrased to be in the industry, The stupidity most programs amazing. Very few movies are worth the price of gas to get to a theater, and most musicians are less creative than a person making $10 an hour on an assembly line.

    Another option would be to do it the right way -- independant artists selling their wares via the net. Remove the current media houses from the process entirely. This will allow the true artists to not get lost in the shadows of mass marketted corporate garbage we are currently exposed to.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @07:38PM (#3062830) Journal
    You mean more than one person actually owns an HDTV set?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As someone that works in the HDTV industry, broadcasters use the ATSC [atsc.org] standard for HDTV broadcasts. Where does MPAA come in to this equation?
  • I can't imagine that the industry would screw over the millions of people that will have bought HDTV sets by the end of this year. More likely, is that they might start offering different levels of service - at the standard rate, you get 480p analog, but at a higher rate, you can continue to get 1080i. If there's money to be made from selling to the capabilities of the existing sets, they'll do it.
  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Sunday February 24, 2002 @09:07PM (#3063119) Homepage

    All of these ignorant little schemes whereby the movie/music/content industry slowly work towards implosion will most likely be killed within the next couple of years. Look at the Charly Pride fiasco - they seemed to get enough people together to get a class action lawsuit and force a settlement out of the industry. What happens when 24-49 year old people begin to feel the effects of the RIAA/MPAA's poor business decisions and governmental influencing?

    More and more people are getting connected, want to take advantage of all that "new" technology. What will happen when millions of those people are forced into adopting that technology and find that it does little that they want it to and far less than what they've been able to do in the past. Lawyers are probably chomping at the bit waiting for this day to come so that they can chew into the cash cow that is the RIAA/MPAA.

    Most of us here are of a small vocal minority. In the "grand scheme" of things it's seen that we have little power over the outcome of these decisions. But is that in fact true. Everyday I come in close contact with at least 20 people, 10 of which I have regular conversations with. Almost every person within my sphere of influence knows about these issues because I've taken the time to communicate them and worked it into conversations about things that are already happening in their lives. How many people within your sphere know about these issues? What will you do to change that?

    This issue stirs up so many past issues not just in the music industry but also in how the government is run (US and Global), how laws are passed/enforced/judged, Intellectual Property, "freedom" of information, telling the truth - ethics in company and government communication, etc. It's crazy that there's a connection between wanting to tape Dawson's Creek and the need for US government political finance reform. That connection shouldn't even be there, companies should not be able to shape the policies of a government, only individuals should have that power. No corporate junkets, hosting, food, clothing, ad time, benefit dinners, fund raisers, trips, private meetings. These are PUBLIC officials, everything that they do outside of their personal life should be OPEN AND AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY. If individuals mass and make requests that are beneficial to the corporations then GREAT that means it's probably beneficial to the public/consumer also. I don't want to hear that Merk/Medco, Phillip/Morris, SONY, AOL/TW endorse candidate X or that GM's local union whatever endorses candidate Y. I don't want to hear about how many lobbyists that MS has hired out from under AOL. I definitely do not want to hear about how some company or corporate rights group is influencing the EU or China or India or other foreign government. That's just crap and more and more they are the reason that the US gets shat upon by other countries. India and Pakistan population were mad because several companies pulled out after 9/11 and that meant jobs and livelihood lost to those people, people already underpaid for their quality work.

    We should limit companies ability to influence any government. Companies should not be allowed to voice their issues through the same means meant for individuals. Does that mean that I think government should ignore the needs of business - No - I just think that it should be through a seperate channel that takes the issues and stores them like data and all of that government/corporate/public communication would be free and viewable to the people (public would be anonymous by request... comments would be posted without ID). The government should take the data and be proactive in it's use, not reactive to the corporate needs but forecast those needs based on what the public is telling them is the real need. I know that's all idealistic, but why can't idealism create realism? Why can't what we dream and think be manifested into something tangeable?

    The average Joe does not yet see these issues as a problem and won't until they effect him or someone he knows. Therefore it's our task to communicate how it is or will be soon effecting us (and them) and make it very REAL for average Joe. The other issue is that the people we really need on our side couldn't care less about this issue because they are struggling on issues of food or daycare or healthcare and not "can I watch my otaku goodies". Until we show them that, eirily enough, this does/can/will effect them then we won't have the votes necessary to really do some damage

    • You're right in many ways, but you're wrong in a key way: you say, and I quote, "We should limit companies ability to influence any government."

      This is where you're wrong. In a Constitutional republic scheme like the U.S.'s founding fathers created, it is not business that is limited, but Congress and government. Our Constitution specifically forbids Congress, the President, and any federal body from subsidizing or restricting any business.

      This is a key feature of our Congress -- the right to free trade. Instead of "protecting" the U.S. business, what needs to be done is let U.S. businesses compete on a world-scale. Instead of extending copyright to 150 years, return it to 7+7 years maximum, and you'll see a great deal of growth in authorship.

      Don't limit businesses, campaign finances, or anything like that. Return our federal government to their constitutional, basic authority, and you'll see a lot of these problems will disappear -- taking along with them the income tax, welfare, property taxes, etc.

  • Timely story for me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nwf ( 25607 ) on Monday February 25, 2002 @01:00AM (#3063735)
    What a timely story. Earlier today, I was just going out to purchase an HDTV monitor (Toshiba 36HFX71) because my old 20" Sony died. I figure I might as well get an HD model, since they are only like $800 more than a similar flat-screen standard-definition set.

    However, before leaving I just happened to check /. and saw the initial story shortly after it was posted. I read the article and decided I don't want to get one now. I was going to get a dandy new DVD player to go with it, but I guess Hollywood will have to get by without me purchasing movies, now.

    It seems I keep watching less and less TV, and fewer and fewer movies. I'm sure these new "standards" will only help me reclaim more time.

    It's amazing that in their greedy quest for money, they actually deter me from giving them more!
  • Frankly I dont care. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday February 25, 2002 @02:38AM (#3063954) Homepage Journal
    I like to watch TV, but frankly it's not worth jumping through lots of hoops to do. Television content doesn't have enough brains put into it to really be worth all this encryption bs. If a show I want to watch is on a crummy timeslot, and I'm not allowed to record it, that's the Telelvision Industry shooting themselves in the foot. They are better off making it easier and easier for people to watch when they can, instead of trying to limit it. It's bad enough I have to be at my job by a certain time, it's bad enough I have to be at the doctor's by a certain time, being in front of my television at a certain time is not the type of shackles I want to place on myself.

    Sorry TV Industry, you need better content before you can convince me I need to be punctual.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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