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FCC Allows Blocking of Set-Top Box Outputs

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the big-mama-deciding-which-kid-to-favor dept.

Government 288

bth writes with this excerpt of an AP story as carried by Yahoo: "Federal regulators are endorsing Hollywood's efforts to let cable and satellite TV companies turn off output connections on the back of set-top boxes to prevent illegal copying of movies. ... In its decision Friday, the agency stressed that its waiver includes several important conditions, including limits on how long studios can use the blocking technology. The FCC said the technology cannot be used on a particular movie once it is out on DVD or Blu-ray, or after 90 days from the time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first."

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288 comments

ORGAsM!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134380)

The government is going to make me CUM

^ Gross ^ (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134446)

In all seriousness, we are going to see what we saw ten years ago with DSS hardware customizations and what we see now with Dish Network. Some crafty Koreans reverse engineer the "legit" hardware and build much improved hardware sell it dirt cheap with the security removed (e.g. make them programmable to get free satellite) and a slew of added features that the guys with the hardware monopolies never implemented...

Funny now that there is competition from this gray market, the "legit" IRDs have kind of copycatted them albeit without the security removed. ;)

mod parent up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134500)

I happen to receive pirate satellite and what she/it/he (???) says is true. Once someone pops in with "unblocked" hardware everyone will buy that receiver..

PREDICTIONS ARE IN (5, Insightful)

deathcow (455995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134398)

1) pirates unaffected
2) legit consumers annoyed and prevented from seeing their movie

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (5, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134572)

3) legit customers resort to piracy
4) MPAA cites increasing piracy to justify further usability-sacrificing restrictions
GOTO 1)

(really, you could flatten this loop anywhere, but the only realistic place to break out of it is at step 4)

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (4, Insightful)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135176)

(really, you could flatten this loop anywhere, but the only realistic place to break out of it is at step 4)

The problem is that the only one of those things most execs give a flying damn about addressing is (1). If along with their new DRM they added amazing new capabilities--say creating a mobile device with apps and sleek form factor that plays your protected content anywhere, to address (2), or giving an online store to easily purchase content to fix (3)--then that wouldn't be half bad. Unless of course Apple does that, in which case fuck all.

But seriously. I have an iTouch with some limited content on it, and will be upgrading to its bigger cousin when I have the money to spare. It does kind of bother me that I can't take my iTunes-bought video and put it on various devices--along with other objections--but the iPhone OS model, which is culminated in the iPad, is really an object lesson for people who think that suing is the only way to stop piracy.

Yes, iPhones get hacked, and yes, they only operate with iTunes, and yes, apps and music are still stolen a lot in spite of their efforts. However, the biggest advantage they have over the *AAs is that they give you compelling reason to use their products. And hey guess what! The consumers love them for it.

And no Apple bashing, please. This isn't comparing Apple to Linux, Microsoft, or Google. It's comparing them to RIAA/MPAA. I think we can all agree they're better than THEM.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (5, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135486)

Why is it any more OK for Apple to lock down a handheld media device than it is for the MPAA to lock down your set-top-box?

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134630)

Pardon my ignorance, but as somebody who hasn't watched cable TV since '06 and never leased a box, how would that prevent somebody from tapping off of the one line that still needs to go to the TV from the cable box? Or would it?

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (2, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134684)

The idea is the signal is encrypted so it's a bit more complicated. Fortunately these guys [hdfury.com] have done all the dirty work for you if I understand this correctly.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135430)

The idea is the signal is encrypted so it's a bit more complicated. Fortunately these guys [hdfury.com] have done all the dirty work for you if I understand this correctly.

Wait, the signal from the STB to the TV is encrypted? Are you sure you don't mean the coax from the wall to the STB? I don't think most TV's are smart enough to deal with non-pathetic crypto.

As for tapping off the STB-TV line, if it isn't HDMI, you could do that but you might have trouble getting full HD. If it is HDMI, you've got to fuck with the hardware/firmware/drivers to persuade the STB to send a signal at all, unless its broadcast flag is off in the first place.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (2, Informative)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134694)

Presumably the only remaining working output would be HDCP-encrypted HDMI output, that's what would be connected to the TV.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134792)

that'll be fucking awesome, since my piece of shit cable box from FIOS still can't handle a simple HDMI handshake despite the issue having been raised over two fucking years ago, so I'm still stuck with fucking component.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135066)

Yes, they'll awesomely fuck you over by disabling the component output, leaving you with no usable output, and thus preventing you from capping (or watching) anything.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135288)

HDCP, worst idea ever. 4,500 dollars worth of 'HDCP Compliant' media equipment, and I still had to buy AnyDVD-HD just watch the movies I bought on BluRay and HDDVD. In fact, if I didn't have AnyDVD HD, I would, in software, be blocked from watching my HDDVDs even now. IANAP (pirate). Now its going to be even worse.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134880)

1) pirates unaffected

Its better than that. Pirates should be celebrating.
What this means is that the MAFIAA thinks they can do day & date releases on Pay-Per-View and in the theaters.

However, there will always be at least a handful of people with the means to capture such PPV transmissions and distribute copies on the net. So it means no more need for crappy camcorders in the theaters and the consequent risk of the recently legislated crazy-ass sentences for getting caught doing so. Now, the pirates can comfortably record new theatrical releases in the safety of their own homes and their hundreds of millions of friends on the net can all download new theatrical releases in HD-quality long before the movies are released on bluray.

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135322)

bluray

Am I the only one who sees that word as "blurry" unless it is capitalized "BluRay"?

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135410)

bluray

Am I the only one who sees that word as "blurry" unless it is capitalized "BluRay"?

Maybe you're seeing a bit blurry?

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135114)

Great! Just like the stupid Region Protection of DVD and BD. What about all the honest people like myself who buy original movies in other countries because they can speak the language?

Re:PREDICTIONS ARE IN (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135328)

For disks just buy a region free player. They're like fifty bucks on Amazon. All the effort of encoding disks and getting manufacturers to play along goes down the drain with one mouse click.

Best DRM (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134402)

Federal regulators are endorsing Hollywood's efforts to let cable and satellite TV companies turn off output connections on the back of set-top boxes to prevent illegal copying of movies

Good. Turning off ALL the outputs will certainly prevent those movies from being copied. I've always thought that such an approach will be the ultimately successful DRM the companies are looking for.

Re:Best DRM (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134512)

And with all those outputs turned off, people are just going to abandon Cable and Satellite TV altogether. Upon finding it harder to watch what they want, the cable companies' customers (imminent ex-customers most likely) will just download their content... legal or bootlegged. Most consumers don't really care - they'll follow the path of least resistance and rationalize their behavior.

Re:Best DRM (1)

lindoran (1190189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135018)

not likely but whatever... the problem here is that people who buy into ppv content use it much like a video rental service. those who legitimately want the movie long term go and buy it from the store; download it as you say or rent the DVD from red box or netflix and copy it. So basically this will not drive those who are legitimately using the service away, and the few customers who use the service to steal first run DVD's will have to go another step to do it.

Re:Imminent Ex-Customer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135334)

My daughter gave up cable when they required a box that broke her Replay. They are now changing my cable so that I MUST have a box. In so doing, they are "upgrading" my service so I can't see HD without a physical switch, I get lot fewer channels, I have to use their crappy remote (I like mine), and I have to find a place for an ugly piece of equipment I don't want in my bedroom. This change will likely terminate any remaining desire I had for cable.
I don't understand why they have to keep changing things to more and more annoy their paying customers until they drive them away. Do they perhaps prefer to have NO customers so they don't have to pay their customer service employees and can ask for a bailout?

Re:Best DRM (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134976)

It's called a brick at this point. I've got a pile of them in the back yard, which I could slap a sticker on, call them HD quality set-top boxes. or even better Quad HD, and make a tidy profit.

They won't turn them all off (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135432)

Just all the analogue ones. The media industry is convinced that HDMI with HDCP is completely uncrackable and thus what they need to go with. Output over HDMI only, and then nobody can capture your signal.

Of course there's plenty of ways around that, HDCP is not particularly good encryption and has been broken in numerous ways. However they are convinced if they can just get everyone on it, things will be great.

However that screws over anyone with an older display. If you have a display that was made before HDCP came in to play (or before they had digital inputs), you are SOL.

So what will happen is pirates will simply get around it and distribute the content, legit consumers will get screwed. Same as always.

Here's a hint consumers... (4, Interesting)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134412)

Pay for something else!

Could it be that Federal Regulators might actually want you to stop subscribing to crappy services?

Adam Smith would be so proud.

Re:Here's a hint consumers... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134614)

Could it be that Federal Regulators might actually want you to stop subscribing to crappy services?

Puhleez! They can't even decide on a secret handshake let alone anything that would be in the consumer's best interests. All Federal regulators want is to remain Federal regulators (until they get a better paying job in the private sector where they can lobby their replacements).

Saw it coming... rolled my own (2, Informative)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134450)

Tactics like this are exactly why I prefer systems like MythTV [mythtv.org] for windows and EyeTV [elgato.com] for Mac. Heck, I can much more easily expand my storage space [promise.com] and install commercial skipping scripts [google.com] with those, so I'll just roll my own PVR.

For sources, you can get clear QAM service on most cable systems, including broadcast digital HDTV. And there's things like Boxee, Hulu, Miro and of course, bittorrent.

Re:Saw it coming... rolled my own (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134788)

It really sucks that you can't use it with cable or satellite HDTV though.

Re:Saw it coming... rolled my own (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134966)

Don't know why not. There are HDMI capture devices out there, and it takes all of a few minutes to build an IR blaster and attach it to a serial port or whatever.

Re:Saw it coming... rolled my own (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135382)

It really sucks that you can't use it with cable or satellite HDTV though.

Sucks for MythTV users? Are you kidding?

If the cable company doesn't let customers watch the TV shows, then the customers need to download the shows via bittorrent. Once the customers download all their TV, then .. um .. what service does the cable company provide? Oh, right: nothing. Result: save money!

Sucks that they are actively trying to save me money by telling customers

I know you have been sending us money month after month for years, but we really really want you to stop. Really, we are committed and will do whatever it takes to stop having you as a customer, because cutting off our revenue is job #1 here at Comcast, and job #1 for our upstream providers. We can't supply quality programming unless our partners have our assurance that they won't be paid.

? You're right, it sure does. It sucks for them. Or rather, their stockholders. Presumably management gets a good enough kickback from the DRM snakeoil salesman and set top box manufacturers, that it doesn't suck for those individual people. And I guess that's what really counts in business today.

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134466)

in related news...I cancel my cable subscription...i used STB with Firewire out to my mythtv box, however I didn't really need to watch that show in HD...So now i'll just grab the SD feed.

Bad sign (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134482)

I was hoping the FCC might be on the *consumers* side and protect *us*, like they are supposed to be. I hope this is not a precedent as they move into regulate public data communications.

Re:Bad sign (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134766)

I'm sure we'll soon be hearing about concessions like the FCC says it's OK for providers to turn off some ports, such as port 5060 TCP/UDP, port 6667, port 6881, and whatever port Skype uses.

At the same time their pushing their own telephone/VoIP + cable bundle as hard as possible

Re:Bad sign (4, Insightful)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134786)

I'm not sure why you think the FCC is there to protect consumers. It's not. It exists to look out for business investments. The FCC in my lifetime has consistently sided with "big business" over private interests. This isn't exactly odd however. The FDA is similar in it's function, if not it's charter.

Re:Bad sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135074)

Bwahahahaha. Protect us? Oh dear, that is funny

And the only reason the FCC are interested in net neutrality is because it gives them justification for their continued existence.

Finally (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134520)

Slashdot fixed the fucking "reply" button. Stop tinkering with the live version of the website, you idiots!

I turned off all the inputs on my set-top box too. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134524)

I got fed up with the crappy bug-ridden set-top boxes Shaw Cable distributes up here in Canada, and cancelled my service.

They too used to offer firewire output on the Motorola boxes, but decided to disable them one day. After a lengthy discussion with their tech support, I decided it was in /my/ best interest to cancel my account and forgo any future dealings with these yahoos. The money I saved by *not* paying for HDTV allowed me to pay for a pretty fat pipe instead (not from Shaw, mind you) and a reasonable HTPC to boot. Mostly all my content comes from Demonoid or Torrent Leech now. I can watch anything I want in just under an hour off TL, or typically under 2 hours off Demonoid.

In fact, I've saved so much money, I actually don't mind going out and buying good movies that I enjoy. I almost never unwrap them or play the disks, but I don't mind supporting the people who make good things happen that genuinely entertain me. I've actually watched more movies and bought more movies as a result of this then I ever have before. And I can pretty much do what I please with the disks afterwards, too (rip them to PMP, archive them on my media server, etc).

-AC

No this is good. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134536)

Law makers have now passed a law that really doesn't affect anyone, yet Hollywood is probably sipping from the schampagne.

Really who copies something from the outputs of their set-top boxes? Anyone here? (legit question) Pretty much every set top box has recording features built in down in Australia where admittedly the industry is a bit different, but isn't this the same in America?

As long as TiVo can still record your movies, surely you can wait 90 days or till the DVD comes out before you say ahrrrrr I be takin this of the intanet.

Re:No this is good. (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134900)

A lot of cable subscribers still have analog televisions, since a digital TV is not required if you don't subscribe to your cable provider's HD channels. By turning off the analog outputs at Hollywood's notice, these subscribers won't be able to watch these movies. You don't have to want to copy the content in order to need those analog outputs to stay turned on.

Re:No this is good. (4, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135338)

Good. Then the average person who doesn't understand the whole debate will now get the message that they are being fucked with loud and clear.

Re:No this is good. (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134902)

its not about COPYING from set top boxes; its about 'analog holes' and how big media hates it.

I cancelled my direct-tv about a year ago. I had an hour long chat with the 'disconnection dept' or whatever they're called when they try to salvage a 'leaving' customer. (edit: its called 'retentions').

they had the nerve to advise me to use an analog capture box since I told them the whole reason I was leaving was because I couldn't save the shows on MY disk. twice, before, I've had tivo's die and take their drives (encrypted) with them. never again. so I told them I wanted to go with mythtv and that their direct-tv box was very anti-myth (non-friendly).

they even told me there was an hdmi 'sniffer' that I could buy at newegg (??) that would let me tap into their stream. I told them that, at best, it would be for non-encrypted signals over hdmi and almost all their hdmi is encrypted (not talking about qam; but the hdmi interconnect, here).

I JUST KNEW that at some point, they'd turn on 'the switch' and even if I bought one of those hdmi sniffer boxes, I'd be out of luck. I told them that their whole model was not working for me and anyone else my age and younger. told them goodbye. they lost me for good.

the analog hole is to stop myth-tv guys as much as the 'pirates'. I just want to time shift things, not keep them. but I can't even do THAT, now.

cable and satallite tv are dead to me. I'm late 40's and even people 'my age' have had enough with this crap.

Re:No this is good. (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135082)

Sure they are sipping from the Champagne because once you have the ability to do something it's far easier to lobby for expansions of that ability, than it would have been to get it as they really wanted it to be in the first place...

Why? (3, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134544)

Um, how exactly does this those folks downloading content off the net?

Oh, wait. It doesn't. Instead, it gives me one less reason to use an STB, and one more reason to ditch cable.

With every passing year I consume less and less commercial content. Hollywood's most effective DRM to date has been their adversarial attitude toward their customers; they can't seem to figure out that I'm not going to pay for what I can't enjoy. Funny, that.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134634)

> Hollywood's most effective DRM to date has been their adversarial attitude toward their customers

That, and the abundance of crap movies getting produced there.

Re:Why? (1)

lonecrow (931585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134756)

I wanted to patch my DVR through my 27" iMac to have TV available in that room. The block outputs made it kinda useless. If the firewire port wasn't blocked it should have been trivial. So instead I have the DVR in my bedroom and I bought a $150 tuner for the iMac. I can still record TV with the tuner software but as yet I don't have guide information available so that I can scan ahead and choose what to record.

So ya blocking ports on $600 DVR's prevents copying so people have to buy $150 tuners instead. Sense making it is not.

Re:Why? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135156)

I can still record TV with the tuner software but as yet I don't have guide information available so that I can scan ahead and choose what to record.

Can't you do it in the old way by reading a paper or online TV guide and then manually programming the start/stop times (like I do with a VCR)?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134844)

The cable TV industry will just go the way of the music industry. People got sick of the value they got from the products they purchased. They got sick of albums bundling killer with filler and singles offering nearly nothing. People have been sick of TV quality for a long time now and it's only getting worse.

What gets me most is that the TV industry is willing to keep on taking and taking and expecting customers to put up with it. There's more advertising than ever on cable/broadcast, they jack up the volume, and it even invades your purchased content. Have they not learned anything from other industries? What do they think will happen aside from customers abandoning them?

It's a classic feud except ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135148)

In most feuds no one remembers who fired the first shock but I clearly remember a time before DRM of any type. Security was a direct response to piracy. People have always done some copying like mix tapes but it was when they started to hand out copies to friends so they didn't have to buy that Hollywood responded. Be upset fine but it was a provoked response and most respond by stepping up piracy so it's a cold war and it's not going away. Also all these threats by everyone to never buy just means that one day we may all face a total lack of material to either buy or pirate. It's easy to be a Karma whore and point out the evils of DRM and greedy Hollywood but most of those that try to point out the other side just get modded down. This utopia of free high quality movies, music and games may sound great but no one has explained where it's all supposed to come from? Advertising annoys people and rarely is a major source of income. People will say they are willing to pay a $1 but would like it optional. Well given the option all the examples I know people only paid a few percent of the time and even a $1 wouldn't fund a movie if everyone paid. Most Hollywood movies would need a 100 to 200 million paying to break even and some more. Let's put it this way if 5% actually pay the $1 then there aren't enough people on the planet to fund a film let alone ones with access to technology. Make films for 10 grand? Just how often have you seen a 10K blockbuster? There was exactly one that cost 15K and another that cost 35K. After that the numbers go up fast. El Mariache wasn't that big and it cost a hell of a lot more than the 8K quoted. That much wouldn't have paid for his film stock let alone processing. Let's face it the ones that won't pay aren't leeching off Hollywood but the ones that do pay. Go ahead and mod this down but it's the truth.

Seriously? (3, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134552)

I mean not for nothing, but I don't think I've ever seen a movie being distributed on the internet that's been ripped from a cable box. There isn't even a Scene spec for it. By time movies hit Pay-Per-View, there's almost always a version of the film circulating the internet. Maybe somewhere, somehow, there's an exception, but the only piracy I could possibly see this deterring is Joe Sixpack using a set-top DVD recorder to lend to Frank Furter. Stopping piracy is one thing, but I'm wondering how much further this string of ridiculousness can go. Actually, that's probably a bad thing to wonder...

Re:Seriously? (1)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134720)

I would bet this is more prevalent on the internet for TV shows rather than movies.

As more and more content is available online by legal means, e.g. netflix, broadcaster' websites, this decision will matter less and less.

Which is fine by me, i'm ditching my cable and hdpvr.

Re:Seriously? (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134822)

Actually, there is, it falls under TVRip on pretty much every torrent site that I've ever visited, and I've seen scene group .nfo files along with the releases there.

This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134576)

Is this for real or did I misunderstand what this is about?

These set-top boxes will be loaded with image identification software, given targets (but nothing that is on DVD already and some other phony limitations) and the scan the output continuously for a matches. If they find one they will scream "Hah, Pirate!" and cut the output. Oh brother!

And when they find something, they most certainly won't send that data back over the wire, right?!

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134722)

Completely off the mark :)

This is about cable boxes turning off all outputs except HDMI w/ HDCP for new movies on "on demand" video.

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134834)

What happens when the other outputs are what you use to watch the on demand video, and your TV has no HDMI w/ HDCP input?

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135192)

Get a converter? I know there is a HDMI->Component and HDMI->VGA converter and it would probably be possible to convert the VGA or component signal to S-Video or composite if needed.

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135308)

That's not HDCP compliant.

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (2, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135462)

Seems that there are devices that can decode HDCP to analog.

HDfury3 specifications:

Input: 2 x HDMI v1.3 (DVI 1.0 compatible) (Switch: Auto / PortA / PortB )
Output: VGA FEMALE output connector, 10 bit analog resolution.
Output format: Either RGB or YPbPr, dip-switch selectable
HDCP supported (Integrated HDCP decipher engine, Pre-programmed HDCP key) ...

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135508)

That completely defeats the purpose of the block in the first place. Why did MPAA bother?

Re:This seems absurd, did I get that correctly? (1)

Peter Steil (1619597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134748)

That is absolutely not the case. The proposed system here merely limits outputs of your STB for movies purchased from the cable co. (e.g. video on demand titles). So it's like renting a movie, only this way you can't make a backup copy. The disabled output is implemented on a per-title basis, and not just some wide blanket case. You can still pirate your movies as normal, this only stops people that actually record from the STB outputs.

Looks rather weak to me logically (4, Insightful)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134602)

The FCC said the technology cannot be used on a particular movie once it is out on DVD or Blu-Ray, or after 90 days from the time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first.

Wait, wait. What?

So let me get this straight... once the movie is released on DVD or Blu-Ray, the technology is not allowed to be used on it? As in, this only (theoretically) affects... what, just the movies that hit PPV a week or so before they hit DVD/Blu-Ray? That's it?

I mean, that's weak not just from a technological standpoint. That's weak the whole way around. Do people actually pirate movies off of PPV to any extent to make this even worthwhile? Do people actually USE PPV that much? I thought it was all DVD/Blu-Ray copies or leaked theatre reels or whatnot.

Wow. That just seems... sad.

Re:Looks rather weak to me logically (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134940)

I've had access to cable tv almost all my life and I don't ever remember my parents buying PPV (nor have I ever purchased PPV).

Re:Looks rather weak to me logically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135076)

The FCC said the technology cannot be used on a particular movie once it is out on DVD or Blu-Ray, or after 90 days from the time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first.

Wait, wait. What?

So let me get this straight... once the movie is released on DVD or Blu-Ray, the technology is not allowed to be used on it? As in, this only (theoretically) affects... what, just the movies that hit PPV a week or so before they hit DVD/Blu-Ray? That's it?

I mean, that's weak not just from a technological standpoint. That's weak the whole way around. Do people actually pirate movies off of PPV to any extent to make this even worthwhile? Do people actually USE PPV that much? I thought it was all DVD/Blu-Ray copies or leaked theatre reels or whatnot.

Wow. That just seems... sad.

I have a feeling that the FCC just threw them a bone. Basically, I can only see this as applicable to try and prevent Screeners (i.e. copies of the movie which are released on disc to reviewers and other people before the "official" release comes out) from being ripped. Often screener copies are released before the movie comes out at the earliest, and before the official consumer copy comes out at the latest. These are usually the most badassed pirate copies, as they are 100% quality (not counting a message which might appear on the screen or a watermark).

If it stops there, then that's perfectly fine. Preventing Screener leaks (like the x-men wolverine fiasco) while keeping their god-damned hands off my property rights is just fine.

Re:Looks rather weak to me logically (1)

kb_one (615092) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135342)

I wonder if this is the start of a slippery slope situation. The goal here wasn't really to combat piracy but to assert control over cable box output. Now that they've justified one situation to block output (no matter how weak) they now have something concrete to point to the next time they want to block output. Basically, once one action to limit your rights is legal, how far is it until another action is deemed legit. So on and so forth.

Re:Looks rather weak to me logically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135414)

TFA points out that the case for this waiver mostly applies to a potential future service where studios are offering first-run movies via PPV. In the current, typical distribution model it doesn't really serve much purpose since, as you point out, the waiver will have met it's expiration condition by the time it could be applied. It will actually be interesting to see how theater owners react to it as it has the potential to be putting them out of business.

This is actually great news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134606)

The FCC has affirmed that cable companies cannot completely disable these outputs, and I doubt that any company has the resources to implement their solution yet (out on blueray/dvd or the 90 day rule). I suspect that older boxes aren't even capable of such fine grained control. Frankly, even if they did, I can live with that solution anyway - the vast majority of movies that I'd DVR would be out on dvd or bluray already. The only movies that I can even think of that hit the cable channels before that are those made specifically for TV, and most of those suck anyway.

Re:This is actually great news. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134856)

The cynic in me says they'll disable the outputs entirely on older boxes, and if you complain, support will tell you it's a problem with your box, go buy the new fancy box that they have finer-grained control over.

Wayne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134636)

Wait, so I cant run Audio and Video through my Home Theater Receiver anymore? Or am I understanding this wrong? Even if I could, what prevents me from getting a digital to analog converter and running it through there?

Seems to Me... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134646)

1: Rip the content by all means necessary and have it out on the BT sites within hours of release.

2: Go to the FCC and point out how this did nothing to prevent piracy, while annoying everyone in the process.

3: SoC dies the death it should have died long ago.

4: Profit!

And if this doesn't work, vote for the other party next election.

Government knows best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134710)

Let's pass net neutrality so the same group of half-wits can regulate our Internet too.

In no way do I see this foolproof plan introducing any unforeseen repercussions.

Change "US" to "MPAA" or "RIAA" (1)

crackerpipe (1770368) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134762)

And be done with it. Sick of the facade. Actually, it's not just that crew. Any organization with the money to work all three branches plus media; $$ for attorneys to set precedents, $$ for lobbyists to work congress, $$ for executive campaign contributions, and $$ for advertising, is eventually going to get what it desires. The only group after all of them are the voters, and we are way down the food chain. All that stuff about suing their own customers indicates these organizations consider consumer opinion last and believe we will continue to keep buying their products even though they sue us. We very well might.

Money Slips Through The Fingers of Greedy Hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32134826)

Heaven for bid they get the shit together and get all those movies online and rentable at a reasonable rate (e.g. $.99 or so). They would make make more money than ever. They haven't out yet that the market is telling them something. If there is a lot of piracy going on it is b/c prices are too high and availability too low. But no, greedy execs are too short sighted. They rather pay a bunch of lawyers and bride government officials and ruin average peoples lives. Makes them feel important and in control.

How is this different? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#32134840)

I have Verizon FIOS Cable and Verzion disables all output ports all the time. They also disable all of the inputs, even the anynet port because they hate people with HTCs. Won't everybody just do this now? In fact I've never had a cable company that enabled any of the ports on their boxes (although I've only had Cox and Comcast), so maybe this is just more common in other parts of the country. It's always kinda sad to see a USB or IEE1394 port, try it out, and discover that it's not even electrically active. I was wondering why STB manufacturers even bothered.

Re:How is this different? (1)

musturd (1806102) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135242)

I'm pretty sure that the FCC (or FTC) required cable companies to have output ports from their cable boxes so that consumers aren't forced to use the cable company's DVR (they can use TiVo or capture cards). If you complain to your cable support I think they are required to open them for you. I can't find any exact laws at this time, unfortunately.

How about my 5 year old DLP set? (2, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135046)

My 6 year old DLP set is hardly old technology, yet it does not have HDMI inputs. It only has unencrypted DVI inputs and analog inputs.

If all the unencrypted outputs are disabled, how do I connect my HDTV to the set top box?

I refuse to throw away a $4000 television because big-content has a piracy problem. I have an antenna on my roof, and it does a damn good job of getting me 40 digital channels for free. Cable companies should be very careful where they tread. The internet and an antenna satisfy almost all of my TV needs.

-ted

Re:How about my 5 year old DLP set? (1)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135146)

Until they manage to convince the FCC that antennas must use a set top box.

Re:How about my 5 year old DLP set? (1)

ProfanityHead (198878) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135248)

Hate to mention this but the "$4000 television" is now worth about $150-$250. I have a 7 yr old Sammy DLP, same boat.

Re:How about my 5 year old DLP set? (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135344)

That's why the FCC made this decision the way it did. Actually, it seems like a really fair decision to me.

They did not say Hollywood could cut the analog (or unencrypted digital) signal any time they wanted. DVDs will be the same, and your Comcrud DVR can't disable it's non-HDMI output when HBO plays Spiderman 2 or some other previously released movie.

This is only for movies that aren't available otherwise in the home, and only for a limited time. As Ars Technica said, this was designed explicitly so that you don't lose functionality. If you can watch it today, you can watch it next month and next year.

When Aladin 4: Jafar Gets a Haircut comes out next year, Hollywood can choose to put it on PPV in a way you won't be able to watch, but after 3 months (or when they release it on DVD/Blueray, whatever is first), they have to stop doing that, and allow you to watch it.

It only effects new content. Compared to what Hollywood has been demanding, this is extremely fair and reasonable. It's unnecessary and anti-consumer, but it's not that bad. Just like I now have to wait an extra 30 days to get some stuff from Netflix, you'll have to wait a little longer for some content.

Re:How about my 5 year old DLP set? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32135384)

Ok, I demand that you give me all of your money? Too unreasonable? Well let's compromise at only 10% of your net worth? Compared to what I'm demanding, it's extremely fair and reasonable.

Re:How about my 5 year old DLP set? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135390)

You don't. That's why this is good. So far, people are getting the message they've been fed. "Pirates are evil, you need to accept bullshit to fight them." Now the average person will understand that the pirates are not affected by this, but that their multi-thousand-dollar HDTV rigs will now be useless once Hollywood is done getting all these controls passed.

Then, maybe, people will accept that this is just entertainment, and stop supporting this shit as if it was something important and worth our attention as a society. They'll stop spending their money supporting this crap and start living a life again. I have a dream, but I'm afraid it's just a delusion.

Why stop with just outputs? (3, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135330)

I'm surprised the MPAA hasn't asked for the ability to disable your friends' cars so they can't drive over to watch the movie at your house. That way, they'd have to pay to watch it at their houses. Obviously, for those without cars, they'd need a waiver to cap their knees so they can't walk, bike, or rollerskate over to your house. A waiver to jam sticks in wheelchair spokes should also be granted.

In related news... (3, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135370)

The FCC said the technology cannot be used on a particular movie once it is out on DVD or Blu-Ray, or after 90 days from the time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first.

In related news... the Copyright Act of 1790 granted copyright for a term of "fourteen years from the time of recording the title thereof", with a right of renewal for another fourteen years if the author survived to the end of the first term.

I'm sure they won't enable the technology to do this, and then change the terms out from under us once the technological means are present.

-- Terry

"...to prevent illegal copying of movies." (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32135484)

No. To prevent legal copying of movies. See Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.

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