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BBC Wants DRM On HD Broadcasts

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the dtv-drm-bbq dept.

Television 267

NickFortune writes "The EFF's Danny O'Brien has pointed out that the BBC has asked a UK regulator for permission to add DRM to their high-definition broadcasts. Apparently, this is at the behest of content providers. 'BBC is proposing to encode the TV listings metadata that accompanies all digital TV channels with a simple compression algorithm. The parameters to this algorithm would be kept secret by the BBC: it would ask manufacturers to sign a private agreement in order to receive a copy. This license would require the implementation of pervasive DRM in the equipment they build.' Ofcom, the regulatory body in question, has detailed the proposal asked for comments, but the window closes today."

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Damn you BBC! Damn you to HELL! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29442645)

a simple compression algorithm. The parameters to this algorithm would be kept secret by the BBC

My GOD! Hackers will *NEVER* figure this one out!

Re:Damn you BBC! Damn you to HELL! (2, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | about 5 years ago | (#29443191)

And I'm completely sure that all the legitimate home watchers will have no problem with their existing HD digital TVs requiring a decoder, and it'll do so much good cause you can just put your freaking DVR in after the decoder right?

Or will this force the Brits to have to shell out for a new TV?

Yea, solid idea. The DMCA thinks this is a bit too much...

Re:Damn you BBC! Damn you to HELL! (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 5 years ago | (#29443593)

My GOD! Hackers will *NEVER* figure this one out!

That is not the point. The intent here is to create a "protection mechanism" via "technical device" (however ineffective) which serves to trigger the portion of the DMCA law (Britain probably has equivalent legal language now due to copyright "normalization" treaties) which makes circumvention without permission or fair dealing (which requires a specially granted exemption from Library of Congress here in the United States) unlawful. In other words, it doesn't matter that they locked the door with chwing gum and rubber bands, you still "broke in" according to the letter of the law and they can still sue you. In these cases the "protection mechanism" is only there to create enough of a speed bump to trigger the anti-circumvention laws, NOT to present a real technical challenge to hackers.

Re:Damn you BBC! Damn you to HELL! (4, Interesting)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | about 5 years ago | (#29444353)

I've been following the BBC's internet blog for quite a while (it's pretty good) and their engineers always come across as hating DRM and if they had the choice they wouldn't use it at all.
A few months ago one of them said they were pushing to keep any content produced by the BBC DRM free and that it was only because of licensed content that they employed any DRM at all.
Based on this I'm guessing this is the upper echelons of the beeb looking to push this.

You're obliged to pay for it (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29442655)

The BBC produces some great programming. Mostly their news, but sometimes other stuff is not that bad. That comes at a cost, though: hefty fine on the purchase of any new TV set. This extra tax lets the government keep on producing great news and mediocre telly (that's what they call TV in England) shows.

So if they now want to force an upgrade to support this new DRM system, it makes sense that the taxpayers should foot the bill. After all, creating telly programs that is of high quality and value is something that everyone should support. So calling all Brits! Go do the patriotic thing and buy a new TV set today.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 5 years ago | (#29442725)

Or keep your old telly & don't watch HD. Simple.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29442743)

That might have been true in the past. Now the BBC is awful. The news is biased nonsense ruined by trying to keep it modern and exciting (sigh) and half of the programming is apparently commissioned by women who attach great importance to handbags and shoes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00k9f5g/Snog_Marry_Avoid_Series_2_Episode_11/

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (2, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#29442789)

Yes I just bought one a few weeks ago to replace an early digital CRT.
I was surprised to find that it had a USB input, and read from mass storage devices, (albeit only FAT32) and could decode divX, xvid, mp3 and ogg.

TV manufactures now that everybody torrents, (Heroes 55 million, Lost 51 million, international favourite Top gear), and are just giving people what they want.
As for the DRM on HD, well whatever. I really don't have the bandwidth to throw away on HD content right now, but when it catches up...sure, I'll torrent that too.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Interesting)

WelshRarebit (1595637) | about 5 years ago | (#29442935)

I was surprised to find that it had a USB input, and read from mass storage devices, (albeit only FAT32) and could decode divX, xvid, mp3 and ogg.

You shouldn't be. Most TV's these days have a full computer inside them, and a large percentage of them run Linux. Here's the list of Sony TV's that run Linux, for example. [sony.com]

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#29443399)

So how long until someone finds an exploit in your TV using specially crafted broadcasts?

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443555)

Oh man, it'll be like Penny Arcade's Automata all over again! :(

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443971)

It is probably built in with FEMA/DHS specifications.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#29443121)

And by then you may rest assured that someone already hacked the superspecialsecret HD key, so...

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (2, Funny)

N!k0N (883435) | about 5 years ago | (#29443581)

Straight from the BBC offices:
BBC DRM guy 1: We need a way to keep these sneaky people from stealing our HD
BBC DRM Guy 2: oh! I know! how about we encrypt it some how

(some time passes)
BBC DRM Guys (in unison) I've got it! we'll use the key 09:F9:11:02:9D:74:E3:5B:D8:41:56:C5:63:56:88:C0....

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0, Redundant)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29443165)

sorry but most HT tv shows at 720p (1080p tv is stupid as it's broadcast in 720p) on a good Xvid compress is less than 400meg. They are nearly the size oft he SD DVD rips.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29442819)

don't folks in the UK have a whole "you own government things that are purchased with taxpayer monies", exception being crown copyright?

So couldn't members of the public just ask for this compression key equivalent?

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

tolan-b (230077) | about 5 years ago | (#29443799)

The BBC also shows lots of content licensed from other producers. In fact a good deal of the content the BBC commisions remains owned by other people, the BBC gets certain rights in return for paying less.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (5, Informative)

quarkoid (26884) | about 5 years ago | (#29442895)

It would be nice if you got your facts in order before mouthing off.

There is no fine/tax on the purchase of a new TV (I don't think I know a single person who calls them 'tellys' any more).

There is a licence fee - GBP142.50 a year. For that, we get many TV channels, umpteen national radio stations and even more local radio stations.

All of it without adverts.

News quality is absolutely superb. I think it's the biggest news broadcaster in the world which is not owned by some media billionaire or controlled by government. Personally, I'd trust the BBC news over any other source (note I'm not saying they're perfect though).

As a Brit, I'm proud of the BBC. Having visited many many countries, I can safely say there is absolutely no competition. None at all.

Nick.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29442919)

I can safely say there is absolutely no competition. None at all.

That's usually the case with government-sponsored monopolies.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Informative)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 5 years ago | (#29442967)

You really don't have a clue, do you? The BBC is not government sponsored, neither is it a monopoly.

Prawn!.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 5 years ago | (#29443965)

Woosh... I believe he was making a joke about the similarities between your general statement when applied to a monopoly situation, not a slam at the BBC. It's a fine news source. I often browse the BBC just to get an 'outside' opinion on going's on within the US.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 5 years ago | (#29444275)

Sorry, he wasn't making a joke, that was genuine trolling.

PS He wasn't replying to any comment I made anyway :-)

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 5 years ago | (#29443225)

Sky TV have over 240 channels. The BBC has 8. Doesn't really sound like a monopoly does it.

The BBC is not government sponsored at all (except for the BBC World service). The money the BBC gets is collected by the BBC and is never even seen by the Government.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 5 years ago | (#29443411)

Please explain this to the non-brits reading slashdot. How exactly does the BBC collect money without resorting to "men with guns"? (i.e. similar to mafia protection money)

The way I understood it, there were government trucks that would sniff the airwaves looking for the local oscillator of unlicensed TVs. If they found you, you'd get a fine. If you didn't pay the fine, you'd get locked up.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

mftb (1522365) | about 5 years ago | (#29443595)

As quarkoid said, there is a licence fee - GBP142.50 a year. And yes, they enforce the payment of this. If you really don't want to pay the fee, you can always just not watch TV.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444047)

As quarkoid said, there is a licence fee - GBP142.50 a year. And yes, they enforce the payment of this. If you really don't want to pay the fee, you can always just not watch TV.

Is that how it works in GB? In Sweden that's not good enough. You pay a license for owning a TV, even if you don't own an antenna and couldn't possibly watch any channels. The point is that you wouldn't be able to purchase a TV, hook your PC to it, or your DVD-player, and just use it as such without paying for a service that you would never use. Culture used to be us, our surroundings and everything we stood for, nowadays it's just another fee, straight from music, to film, to art and beyond.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444163)

Nah, it's not quite like that. There are a lot of misconceptions about the license and the law surrounding it, so I'll try to clarify things a bit. There's only one key point really- It is illegal to receive broadcast TV without a license, but you do not need a license just to own a TV.

Collection of money is outsourced, TV Licensing is not actually related to the BBC or the government, although they are paid out of TV license money (around 1% of the total).

TV Licensing have a database of almost every house in the country, and compare it to their database of who has a license. Then they send out a monthly scary letter to any house that doesn't have one. There's a page chronicling them here [bbctvlicence.com] . They claim to have detector vans, but to date there have been no known convictions based on detector evidence.

Instead, there are "TV license inspectors". They go round to unlicensed houses, and bang on the door. If the person answers, they ask firmly to inspect the house to make sure there are no TVs. They are not allowed to enter without permission. If they think you have a TV, and you deny them entrance, they'll use tricks like banging on the door repeatedly, shouting accusingly so that all your neighbours here, anything they can think of to get you to let them in.

Individual inspectors have been prosecuted for stepping over the line, but not often.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | about 5 years ago | (#29443775)

You're right, the BBC collects their license fee. Under force of law, from anyone receiving broadcast TV, whether they use BBC services or not. You're being intentionally ignorant if you claim that's not a government-mandated tax.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443995)

You're being intentionally ignorant if you claim that's not a government-mandated tax.

No, he is being correct. The collection of the license fee is mandated by the crown, not the government.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#29443197)

Thanks for the correction. But don't you, as someone who pays his "TV tax" (you are paying, right?), think that you're entitled to get what you pay for? The BBC news are a standard to measure other news networks at. The BBC documentaries are amongst the best researched and best produced anywhere.

And you pay for that!

Personally, I would feel like I have the right to these products to some degree. Certainly I must not distribute them, but I would feel that I have the right to at the very least time and media shift documentaries I funded.

It's not like they lose any ad revenue from me fast forward the (non-existing) ads...

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443313)

A tax is a tax even when you call it a license fee. Can I buy a TV just to play games on it without paying the tax?

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

^Bobby^ (10366) | about 5 years ago | (#29443483)

Yes.

Likely to be hassles if they see you have an arial, but keep it detuned and you won't have to pay.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0, Offtopic)

NCG_Mike (905098) | about 5 years ago | (#29443655)

This is incorrect. If you have a telly you have to pay the licence or risk the fine.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (2, Informative)

^Bobby^ (10366) | about 5 years ago | (#29443729)

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

growse (928427) | about 5 years ago | (#29444007)

Wrong. You have to pay if you watch live TV. Owning a TV has nothing to do with it.

You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. It makes no difference what equipment you use - whether itâ(TM)s a laptop, PC, mobile phone, digital box, DVD recorder or a TV set - you still need a licence.

TV License site [tvlicensing.co.uk]

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

mftb (1522365) | about 5 years ago | (#29443647)

The difference is that a tax goes to the government and the license fee goes straight to the beeb. If you buy a TV and play games on it, the beeb get nothing.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29444109)

By this rationale the taxes that are earmarked for things like education, pensions and old geezer medical coverage are not "taxes".

If the Sheriff of Nottingham or some equivalent is doing the collecting, then it's a tax.

Kind of like the "No new taxes" toll road.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (5, Informative)

barq (1194291) | about 5 years ago | (#29443727)

"Can I buy a TV just to play games on it without paying the tax?"

Yes.

The license fee is payable yearly, not at the point of purchase. If your TV isn't hooked up to receive television then you don't have to pay the license fee.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444293)

Yes, you can. You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. (http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/information/index.jsp) Watching DVDs or using a TV to play games on does NOT require a license.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | about 5 years ago | (#29444369)

yes, it's called "monitor".

just buy a dell 30 incher without a tunner and you're set.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

McSnarf (676600) | about 5 years ago | (#29443317)

Be proud :)

The best part of business trips to the UK is watching BBC. Superb, compared to the stuff in most other countries.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | about 5 years ago | (#29443443)

You've expressed my thoughts quite nicely.

The BBC together with the NHS are the last remaining "Great" in "Great Britain".

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

cellurl (906920) | about 5 years ago | (#29443451)

Yea, but you don't have Mr. Chuck.
Mr Chuck [memphisflyer.com]

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | about 5 years ago | (#29443545)

I'd have to disagree. I've lived in other countries - Holland, Belgium and the USA. I might add that I can follow Dutch language tv. I resent been forced to pay a licence for the BBC and the adverts in the USA are too frequent, which is why I had TiVo there. Got one here too. I'd happily pay a subscription via a card for the beeb, Virgin Media (unfortunately) in my case. If I didn't want the channels, I could cancel them. There's not a lot I watch on BBC other than mock the week. I mostly watch sky 1, sky movies and the various documentary channels. Okay, so many of the documentaries are BBC sourced - I even live near BBC Bristol - but I'm paying for those a different way. Oh, I absolutely never listen to radio from any station.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444085)

News quality is absolutely superb.

It used to be good. Now its just government supporting propoganda and bullshit.

I think it's the biggest news broadcaster in the world which is not owned by some media billionaire or controlled by government.

It is controlled by government, just not officially.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#29444401)

But it must be bad! It isn't American! It's just the same as all the fuss about Obama's health plans. Despite pretty strong evidence that systems similar to the NHS give a better benefit/cost ratio, all the redneck mouth breathers are terrified of "commernissum". But maybe they're right, I mean these people were raised in an education system that's second to none. It must be...

So it goes.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444405)

You are right about quality. I live in Belgium and we do have the BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4 on cable. Anyway, thank you funding this.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 5 years ago | (#29442929)

Sorry, I modded the parent by mistake, so I'm mainly posting to undo that.

However, it is worth pointing out that the parent is misleading on several counts. The BBC's public funding comes primarily from the licence fee rather than a tax on new TV purchases, and the BBC is not the same as the government. I have a suspicion that the whole post might have been meant as humour/irony, but if so, I'm afraid it failed: it's too close to the truth to be ironic, yet too wrong to be informative.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443055)

it's too close to the truth to be ironic, yet too wrong to be informative.

Let's see... A post that contains enough truth to be convincing but enough falsehoods to be completely wrong. It's almost like the post is designed to elicit responses.

What did we used to call that kind of post? What's the word? Oh, yes.

Underrated.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (5, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 5 years ago | (#29443033)

hefty fine on the purchase of any new TV set.

Uhh, not quite. You need a licence to watch broadcast TV, per household. So if you have 10 TVs, you still only need one licence. If you don't connect any TV to an aerial, i.e. you use it for a console or DVDs, you don't need a licence.

The annual cost is £140 odd a year; £12 or about $20 a month. For that we get 4 main tv channels, 4 minor ones, 7 national and a whole bunch of local radio stations, and arguably the best news website on the planet. All commercial advert free. Personally, I think the BBC TV is pretty good; their documentaries and nature programmes are top notch, at least, and they get the important sports rights, again free to watch. Nor is it government run, or funded; the tax is collected by a separate body, and given direct to the BBC, with no government control over editorial or programming decisions.

How much is the average cable subscription in the US - with adverts - again?

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 5 years ago | (#29443489)

Nor is it government run, or funded; the tax is collected by a separate body, and given direct to the BBC,

How is that separate body not a (sub) government all it's own? Are they elected? Appointed? Who do they answer to?

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444385)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/index.shtml

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29443143)

you brits as a collective need to say loudly...

"you can encrypt, IF you remove the Telly tax."

If you are paying for it, they have no right to encrypt it.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443795)

Mr. Murdoch, is that you?

If I pay for it and I can watch it, what's the problem?

And... FFS: get over "tax" as some kind of pejorative that bandied about without a thought. Actual tax that we pay - regardless of where we all live - will be being used to fund any number of things with which we disagree. E.g. some of the near 50% taken from my income will be used to fund faith schools, which I find personally objectionable. It's all a matter of degree.

£140 (and find a cable subscripts for £12 month that contains anything even remotely watchable) for ad-free television, radio stations and internet services is worth paying twice over.

Re:You're obliged to pay for it (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 years ago | (#29443289)

IS there a British equivalent of "Elmo knows where you live!"?

Fools (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29442667)

The people who pay the BBC certainly don't want this, and it certainly doesn't add anything of value. Stop this now, BBC. Is it silly season with legislation all of a sudden?

Re:Fools (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#29442733)

Stop this now, BBC. Is it silly season with legislation all of a sudden?

Nope, looks like third millennium will be all silly season.

Begging to be hacked! (2, Insightful)

oo_HAWK_oo (1619801) | about 5 years ago | (#29442677)

Pointless! It would be hacked the first week its released!

Re:Begging to be hacked! (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | about 5 years ago | (#29443037)

It's possible to stay secure if the encryption keys are re-distributed regularly. While it would be possible to hack, it would require regular scanning to isolate updated keys; Then, of course, the encryption routines themselves can be regularly updated. Hacked or not, it would make it extremely difficult. Remember, there's no such thing as perfect security, only perfect deterrents.

Re:Begging to be hacked! (1)

Thornburg (264444) | about 5 years ago | (#29443293)

It's possible to stay secure if the encryption keys are re-distributed regularly. While it would be possible to hack, it would require regular scanning to isolate updated keys; Then, of course, the encryption routines themselves can be regularly updated. Hacked or not, it would make it extremely difficult. Remember, there's no such thing as perfect security, only perfect deterrents.

I think the GP's idea was that once you hack any given program, you can post it as a torrent or whatever, and that program is "in the wild" at that point. I don't think they're trying to stop people from "stealing" the broadcast, but from redistributing it afterward.

Re:Begging to be hacked! (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 years ago | (#29443633)

Indeed - it's trivial to generate the huffman dictionary given the input data and a copy of the TV listings.

That's not really the point.

The point is that anyone distributing such a dictionary is infringing the BBCs Database Right - which is akin to copyright for databases.

Teh only way you can get a legitimate copy of this database/key is to agree to the BBC's terms and conditions - which require DRM.

It's - largely - to stop TV recorders saving to DVD or something.

It has the incidental effect of making anyone using linux and a DTTV card to recieve the broadcasts act illegally - but...

Re:Begging to be hacked! (3, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | about 5 years ago | (#29443969)

>>>It has the incidental effect of making anyone using linux and a DTV card to recieve the broadcasts act illegally

I match your DRM and raise with a semiautomatic aimed at the nearest MP.

Re:Begging to be hacked! (3, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | about 5 years ago | (#29443903)

They know that. The important part is that it makes you a criminal in a way you weren't before.

target? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | about 5 years ago | (#29442745)

Who is this going to thwart? People recording and burning discs and the ones that would have easy access to the workarounds when they inevitably hit the market.

Re:target? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29442849)

It's all about the huge move by content creators to a pay per view/listen model. Come back in 10 years or so and it'll already be happened. The rumblings for this model have been around for a few years now. The politicians are gradually being bought or placed, it's just a matter of time before Big Media charges us for each use.

So let me just tell them to "piss off" now.

I'll give them comments: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29442761)

FUCK DRM

Modern DRM is non-scientific (1)

taddyhatty (1037918) | about 5 years ago | (#29442861)

There is no mathematical proof of DRM or Randomness, yet.

First of all, that's the matter.

A definition of randomness is a definion of a humanity.
A definiion of DRM is a definition of mathematical legal.

Evil or Stupid can't contribute such works.

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (2, Funny)

bcmm (768152) | about 5 years ago | (#29443019)

You remind me of Gene Ray, except that I agree with your basic sentiment.

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443039)

Time Cube?

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | about 5 years ago | (#29443063)

Not to mention:

If there are pixels on screen, it was at some point routed through a video driver. Assuming they can't re-write monitor hardware, that presents a static, unchanging vulnerability. One node in a system that paid for HD, and it can foward the pixel data elsewhere.

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443417)

What the FUCK are you talking about?

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 5 years ago | (#29443805)

Mod parent up.

Re:Modern DRM is non-scientific (1)

risk one (1013529) | about 5 years ago | (#29444075)

You are educated stupid! The 4-corners of the 24 hour day rotate simultaneously inside a single cube.

God creates from opposites, not ONEism. The harmonic cube form will prevail.

Bad summary (5, Informative)

yoriz (979805) | about 5 years ago | (#29442943)

BBC uses a simple huffman compression to reduce the volume of the EPG data. By that, they violate the DVB standard and thus are contemplating whether they should ask for licensing fee and treat it as a proprietary extension to the standard, or whether they should publish all details and ask for it to be integrated in the DVB standard.

Re:Bad summary (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443705)

Wrong. Read the actual letter. The compression algorithm used is freely available. The compression look up tables have been tuned to specifically work well on the EPG data and as such are copyright the BBC.

The BBC is suggesting that they be allowed to only give the tables to STB manufacturers that honour the DVB equivalent of the broadcast flag which prevents copying recorded programs off PVRs. Thus giving STB manufacturers a choice: allow the user to copy shows off the box, or allow the user to have an EPG, but not both. Guess which one 99.9% of consumers actually want.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444277)

Is that why digital TV stopped working for me last week? I can only receive analog on my main tuner now, and whenever i retune it it finds nothing, although the secondary tuner can still receive stuff (I hope that doesn't try and auto-retune itself and lose everything).

Hooray for the BBC - clever move (4, Insightful)

mattbee (17533) | about 5 years ago | (#29442983)

Just from the summary, this sounds like the BBC are proposing a tiny, insignicant technical change to their metadata broadcast and presenting to rightsholders as a complicated and cast-iron DRM solution. Of course it's nothing of the sort, will probably never get implemented, and if it were, sounds like it would be trivial to work around (if only by getting your listings data from an external source, of which there are several!) So I think this is just singing a song the rightsholders want to hear; I'm pretty certain nobody technical at the BBC gives a hoot about implementing DRM, and would see it as an unwelcome obstacle to doing their job.

Re:Hooray for the BBC - clever move (1)

badfish99 (826052) | about 5 years ago | (#29443219)

Actually, the metadata (program times, etc) can be downloaded for free, in machine-readable form, from one of the BBC's own websites: they also supply the data from all their rival broadcasters. So programs like mythtv get this data for free.

There's a disclaimer that it's for personal use only: I think they are at the same time providing the data feed free to everyone, and also selling it to Microsoft for use by their media player program. I hope they're charging Microsoft a lot of money for it.

Re:Hooray for the BBC - clever move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29444031)

That's the whole point of this move: Any company can get the listings for FREE, but ONLY if they agree to implement DRM in their STB. Currently there is a loophole: They can just use the DVB standard EIT packets instead. So the BBC wants to encrypt them to close the loophole.

Re:Hooray for the BBC - clever move (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#29444289)

Like how iplayer had bullet proof DRM, it obviously got the content providers to sign off. What's interesting is that it was broken as soon as they released iPlayer for iPhone however I'm yet to see much piracy coming from iplayer rips, well nothing that wasn't getting ripped anyway. I think this is exactly the same deal, they are selling DRM to the content providers knowing that it won't work for long (secrets keys, lol), however it will get them to play ball and when there is no negative impact, as the content will undoubtedly be american and so already be on TPB before it hits the UK airwaves, they won't kick up enough fuss to get some real DRM.

What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (4, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | about 5 years ago | (#29442985)

Forgive my Yankee naïvate, but doesn't the BBC have a mandate to serve the public interest, since they're funded in large part by compulsory license fees charged to all television owners? I'd be interested to know how they're justifying this request to regulators and to the fee-paying public.

Schwab

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (4, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 5 years ago | (#29443157)

The BBC is only required to broadcast to the British public free of charge, not to provide their titles for free (hence they charge for DVDs and such).

They also don't exclusively show content they have full rights to. For example sporting events, Hollywood movies and so on have restrictions on how they can show them.

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | about 5 years ago | (#29443737)

This is incorrect. The BBC is not free of charge. That's where the compulsory licence fee goes. Sure, it's not protected by a smart card but it's no different IMO. Now as for itv, channel 4 and, recently on satellite, channel 5, they are free in that to the best of my knowledge, they receive no revenue from the forced licence fee and generate revenue from adverts. Sorry for the huge paragraph, /. isn't iPhone friendly.

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (1)

master811 (874700) | about 5 years ago | (#29443347)

It's not compulsory unless you watch live TV. Using your TV for games consoles or playback of pre-recorded content (DVDs etc.) doesn't require a license.

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (0, Flamebait)

The Outlander (1279696) | about 5 years ago | (#29443599)

incorrect unfortunately. you have to have a licence for equipment capable of receiving television broadcasts. Even if you only use your tv for games playing or film watching your are required to obtain and maintain a licence unless of cause you remove the tuner (disabling still leaves you in sticky water)

It's not compulsory unless you watch live TV. Using your TV for games consoles or playback of pre-recorded content (DVDs etc.) doesn't require a license.

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (1)

growse (928427) | about 5 years ago | (#29444049)

As I commented to a different poster, you're incorrect. You need a license if you watch or record TV as it's broadcast. From the TV licensing site:

You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. It makes no difference what equipment you use - whether itâ(TM)s a laptop, PC, mobile phone, digital box, DVD recorder or a TV set - you still need a licence.

Re:What Part of "No" Don't You Understand? (2, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | about 5 years ago | (#29443361)

I'd be interested to know how they're justifying this request to regulators and to the fee-paying public.

Since Ofcom _are_ the reguator, you can do the former by reading the letter.

In the end it's whether the content providers are bluffing, and really would refuse bids from the BBC for premium events if they refused to go along.

Uhm - No, thanks. (3, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 5 years ago | (#29443069)

The BBC is paid for by license payers - not taxpayers, but it's a similar arrangement. I'm not even sure they should be allowed to sell DVDs back to us in the first place, since we're the ones who paid for them to be made, but I absolutely draw the line at letting them digitally protect the content I paid for. They can digitally protect it when they're footing the damn bill.

Obviously this doesn't apply to third party shows they buy in, but for their own stuff, absolutely no protection at all, thanks.

government serves wealthy business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443087)

not the working man.

This is the "labor" government controlled BBC ? right?

Modern "liberal" political parties may rely on the workers and the poor for votes but make no mistake ... they serve the rich college boys that they are.

Correct me if I'm wrong (0, Redundant)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 years ago | (#29443095)

But doesn't the UK taxpayer (or at least TV watcher) PAY already to see these programs? To make matters worse, don't they HAVE to pay for it even if they don't plan to watch the BBC but only non-BBC TV programs?

How greedy can a public broadcasting company be?

BBC wants DRM on HD? (0, Offtopic)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 years ago | (#29443177)

omg wtf bbq?! imho ttyl! what is this fox news? i thought only internet cats had this problem.

Get stuffed BBC (3, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 5 years ago | (#29443223)

First the BBC expects me to put up with rubbish SD quality digital television called "Freeview", analogue TV picture and audio is being deliberately degraded to make Freeview look good before the analogue switch off. Then as soon as a few* people** watch the "test" transmission from satellite of some BBC content in HD, they want to cripple it.

Go f-off BBC, like others, I pay a huge amount in a compulsory BBC tax every year for a progressively worse service and worse programming content. Freeview (digital tv) being pushed by the BBC is rubbish, DAB (digital radio) also being pushed by the BBC is also rubbish, now you want to turn HD into cr@p.

BTW, we don't want the HD channel wasted with hundreds of hours of pointless Olympics in 2012, shove that cr@p on your Freeview instead.

* Seriously, there can't be many with HD satellite in the UK....

** I got my Linux box to work with watching satellite HD. Ironically Windows is very problematic with HD and numerous flakey video watching / recording applications (even the paid stuff).

Ok, I don't see how this works practically... (2)

colinnwn (677715) | about 5 years ago | (#29443279)

First I am a little surprised that the British TV market is big enough, TV manufacturers would be interested in dealing with the code, regulatory requirements, and litigation risks to failure, of a single network's DRM request, just to sell TVs in that market. Though now that every TV basically contains a computer, rather than custom silicon, perhaps the code requirements are minor.

Second, is BBC the only supplier of TV programming in the British market (aside from satellite)? If there are other minor networks, that want to specify their own DRM or just don't want to participate, I'd think the TV manufacturers would be apoplectic.

We pay the TV Licence. (2, Interesting)

lattyware (934246) | about 5 years ago | (#29443315)

The BBC's content is our content. Give it to us unmolested please. It's not like people are not going to let the BBC show their series unless there is DRM there.

Content providers (2, Informative)

RalphSleigh (899929) | about 5 years ago | (#29443379)

Given the Beebs previous actions with the iplayer, I am going to believe for now this is only because the content providers have requested it. The BBC does sometimes show imported shows like The Wire, Heroes, etc. The makers of these shows are probably reluctant to let the BBC broadcast them in HD without any sort of copy protection*. This is the same problem that made them use DRM on the iplayer, first windows only and now the adobe stuff. (They had the cross platform air application out the same day adobe released air, and even published a news story on their website talking about how some people had broken the windows DRM they were using and what the program was called hint hint nudge nudge.)

*because then us Brits might put them on bittorrent, instead of downloading the American ones that are released months/years earlier. The only time I ever saw a show from here first was some of the last Stargate SG1, because Sky (a UK satellite TV outfit, not free or unencrypted) didn't have the mid season break. Look at the channel ident from any torrent to get a good idea of where it aired first.

National broadcast denmark (1)

pinkishpunk (1461107) | about 5 years ago | (#29443457)

here in the denmark the national broadcaster are planing to send hd over dvb-t without any drm, would have through that if any nation broadcaster would stand aganist this deadend drm it would have been BBC.

Clarification (4, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | about 5 years ago | (#29443553)

I'm not entirely sure what the actual reasoning behind this is. It seems as if:

  • The rights holders won't let the BBC and other free-to-air networks broadcast their stuff in HD without DRM
  • None (or very few) of the current Freeview/Freesat (DVB) hardware supports their DRM
  • In order to get the DRM-compatibility out there ASAP the BBC have come up with the idea of trivially encoding their EPG data and then requiring hardware manufacturers to implement the DRM if they want a license to use the "keys" to the EPG data (Note that this is not the same as the EPG data being protected by the DRM)

It's a clever idea but I can only assume that some or all of the non-terrestrial networks operating in the UK have already agreed to the demands of the rights-holders, otherwise the BBC (and other free-to-air networks) could simply refuse to do anything about it - after all, the content providers aren't going to get very far if they refuse to allow their stuff aired on any networks because none of them will broadcast it with DRM in place.

As a license-payer I can't say I like it, but with the info I have I can't see that the BBC has much choice in the matter; either they and the other FTA networks agree to broadcast some or all HD content with DRM or the idiot content providers won't sell shows to them any more.

Inhouse Algorythm or 3rd party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29443589)

I wonder if the DRM algorythm is inhouse produced or if they are going to use a thrid party like Alpvision, Dolby's Cinea, Digital Rapids, Teletrax, VeriMatrix, and others...

Another nail in the coffin (5, Insightful)

charliemopps11 (1606697) | about 5 years ago | (#29443947)

These large media companies better learn quick that they are not going to save their industry by making it harder to access their media. As it is now, to get media I have to buy equipment, have it installed, get the dish pointed correctly... it cuts out during storms. Cables isn't much better. The force me to order channels in "Packages" so 90% of the channels I get are either espn (dont want) or home shopping network. I have absolutely no option to get rid of these channels. When I want a DVD they delay the release for months, but will release it in other country's first. I can't order it from those countrys becuase of my DVD players country code. Then they release 1 version of the movie... wait 6 months and release an extended version of the movie... then wait another 6 months and release a directors cut and then even a "Series" pack where you can get all the sequels. OR... I can go to a torrent site... click on the movie. 8hrs later I have the full, directors cut, with all the extra features, in english and I don't have to drive anywhere. Talk about a service I'd be willing to pay for. Oh wait, they wont let me pay for it. Morons.
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