Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

The Challenges and Rewards of 'Place-Shifting' 125

Grooves writes "Ars Technica has an insightful look at the challenges facing place-shifting. The article talks about new European legislation that could require broadcast licensing for all place-shifting devices, and they review some of the fair use problems in the US and how they could hurt innovation." From the article: "A few cables here, a few networking adjustments there, and you can use a product like the Slingbox or the software-based Orb to watch your TV (or TiVo, or DVD player) from just about anywhere you can get a network connection, be it your office, your hotel room, or the other side of the planet. Yet what makes place-shifting devices so powerful also makes them appear very dangerous to established entertainment and media companies."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Challenges and Rewards of 'Place-Shifting'

Comments Filter:
  • Solution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:12PM (#15794143)
    Simple solution.

    Stop watching television. It works fine for me. I have no stake, whatsoever, in the outcome of issues like this. If you don't like the way something is, stop supporting it, directly or indirectly. (ala Walmart, McDonalds, Cable companies that still pipe advertising after you already pay, etc.)

    Why care?
  • Challenges indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:13PM (#15794147)
    From TFA:
    "When companies who don't exactly charge "minor fees" for high-speed mobile bandwidth start locking out high-bandwidth applications just so they can sell their own limited video entertainment options, something is seriously wrong."

    Amen to that. These same clowns want a tiered Internet, too. Is it any wonder?

    Video online is already proving to be the next big thing (think about the sitcom that was reborn via YouTube). I shudder at what idiocy the MPAA has in mind for the future.
  • by AugustZephyr ( 989775 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:21PM (#15794229)
    This problem has been around for years and is now just taking higher profile forms. Since cable TV has been around all you need is a splitter and a friendly neighbor willing to split the bill with you to get cheaper service. Now that the technology is available to do essentially the same thing over network connections it has grabbed the attention of all the copyright organizations that have been fighting file sharing issues for years.
    It seems to me that the concern here should be with the potential for people to store the data streams that are being broadcast (like a tivo located on your LAN) rather than the "place-shifting". Seriously, what is the difference between me watching a show in my bedroom v. living room and between my house and my laptop when working from a hotel with a broadband connection. If I am paying for the service I should be able to enjoy it where it is convenient and comfortable for me to do so.
  • by the darn ( 624240 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:21PM (#15794230) Homepage
    It's a business decision. Which do you suppose is cheaper and easier: changing the minds of those used to thinking what they're paid to think (that's legislators, for the inference-impaired) or changing the way a whole company is run?
  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:31PM (#15794343)
    Why care?

    Do you, perhaps, live in the same legal climate as your TV watching neighors?

  • by uab21 ( 951482 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:38PM (#15794405)
    Since cable TV has been around all you need is a splitter and a friendly neighbor willing to split the bill with you to get cheaper service

    Of course, that has also been illegal since cable TV has been around (one of the reasons that there are limited anti-tamper devices on cable pedestals). The cable co. provides service to an address, and displaying that signal at an additional address was stealing cable (which is what they are concerned about here). They also wanted you to pay for each TV, which mostly went away as TVs became 'cable-ready', but now that they have migrated most of their base to digital cable, you need a box for every TV again, and they can bump up the revenue stream (which is why you'll never see them really thrilled about CableCard).

    We can talk until we're blue in the face about should be this or that, but until the political and legal clout of the content /distribution industry is broken, we are going to be stuck with what is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:40PM (#15794438)
    Its simple when the problem is just you sending *you* your own stuff... but in this case, you could be sending out a signal for *others* using the same equipment, which cuts profits and gets peoples panties in a bundle. And if the security on your network is lax like most of the wireless routers in the US, *you* could be giving *me* free TV and not even know it.

    That is all Big Brother is worried about... that and screwing the common citizen out of a few more bucks, but that's another rant altogether.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#15794446)
    we're already in a world where information is much more valuable than physical goods.

    Until you run out of food.

  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:56PM (#15794568) Homepage Journal
    Cable companies that still pipe advertising after you already pay, etc.)

    Yeah, sure. Most revenue for any given channel comes from advertising, they barely get anything from your cable fee. I think the portion they get from the cableco only pays for the uplink costs.
  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#15794577) Homepage
    RMS covered this one a LONG time ago.

    Once they successfully enforce such regimes for Films and Music, they will move on to EVERYTHING else.

    They've already got numbnut consumers buying into the idea that DVD's and CD's all come with an implied licence. They can easily extend that to books.

  • Re:naive argument. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jimbogun ( 869443 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:08PM (#15795063)
    Considering the analogous case of DVDs, true you bring up a brilliant point that legislation can reduce the occurence of something by outlawing it, but I was merely stating that you can't eliminate it. BTW, I think you'd be amazed at how many people do pirate movies in the U.S., or at least the movie industry thinks it's a possible huge problem, if it isn't currently. Why else would I see a huge add before every movie that states that pirating hurts movies?

    They tried to make reading DVDs impossible without an authorized player. The encryption was broken and DVDs can be read in computers through unlicensed software, the fact that this did not catch on (widespread) in the U.S. is due to the low price of DVD players. Most people will pay for something thats easy to use and cheap, rather than steal it through complex technical means that requires a degree of computer know-how. If the price of DVD players was $5000 and DVDs cost $200 dollars, you would see a huge change in the way people reacted to it, hence the large piracy in 3rd world countries that aren't able to enjoy the same luxuries on as large scale as the United States.

    3rd world countries are also more relaxed towards piracy. This may be because they don't have companies that produce the products that are being stolen and don't have lots of money in reserve to higher lawyers to prosecute pirates. The fact that you are sticking it the the U.S is always a bonus in the eyes of other nations.

    In the end, you can legislate all you want on boxes like slingbox or DVD players, but you can't enforce it once it goes to the software world. If people want it bad enough, they will get it by hook or by crook.
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @10:37PM (#15796228) Homepage
    In reality, it might be cheaper, depending on the the changes in question.

    In the case of online distribution, etc. it ends up being cheaper for them to go with the flow than all this stupid fighting.
    It was the same way with cassette.
    It was the same way with VHS.

    Why is THIS any different- it was cheaper for them to capitulate and go with the new tech that torched off
    old business models (because those two items above changed everything for the players just like the stuff
    is doing now...). Of course, they fought it kicking and screaming, if memory serves (Jack Valenti was referring
    to Cassette to being like Jack the Ripper back in the days of cassette...). It doesn't surprise me at all
    that they're being stupid, yet again, about all of this. I just wish they were poorer like they were back
    in earlier times- now they've got more cash to do more damage over a longer period of time before they
    realize that they're wasting money and resources- and burning up mindshare (brand recognition- Sony, for example,
    is not looking too rosy to anyone right now over DRM debacles...) capital at an alarming rate.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM