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Build Your Own TV Without Broadcast Flags

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the conscientious-objector dept.

Television 283

doom writes "An account of an event sponsored by the EFF, a "roll your own television" build-in. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has coverage in an article entitled Build Your TV!". From the article: "According to the FCC, the flag is going to ease the nation's transition from today's analog televisions to tomorrow's high-definition televisions. What exactly does it mean for a government agency to "ease" the transition from one kind of TV signal to another? In this case, it seems to mean making the entertainment industry feel very warm and fuzzy inside." The EFF's efforts against the flag have been covered before on Slashdot.

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283 comments

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So, in other words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833092)

The broadcast flag is a laxative. Sure, I can buy that.

Bush won't let this happen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833100)

Bush is a great president and he will not let this broadcast flag happen under his watch. I know liberal /. probably doesn't get this, but the Republicans are all about SMALLER gov't, people.

This is going no where as long as Republicans are leading this great nation.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833157)

In republican America , Broadcast Flags you

Re:Bush won't let this happen (4, Insightful)

ecotax (303198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833189)

the Republicans are all about SMALLER gov't, people.

Indeed, and about BIGGER corporations...

Re:Bush won't let this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833693)

Indeed, and about BIGGER corporations...

None bigger than the corporate run one we live under.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833255)

What, you think he's going to let some liberal hippy types to burn the broadcast flag? No way!

Re:Bush won't let this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833276)

Just like he has slashed government spending.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833766)


Well, he's made government _seem_, if not smaller, at least no larger -- until we have to give whatever part of the country tax-paying workers own to Japan, China, Saudia Arabia and Europe to pay off the debt.

Considering people's attention spans, it's a pretty sweet way to steal.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (5, Informative)

edremy (36408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833364)

Bush is a great president and he will not let this broadcast flag happen under his watch. I know liberal /. probably doesn't get this, but the Republicans are all about SMALLER gov't, people.

You've got to be joking [mediamatters.org] . (At least, I hope you're being sarcastic) Check the second chart down. Bush has increased nondefense discretionary spending faster than Clinton by a large margin, and that's *with* a Republican dominated congress. Of course, that's not even including the *huge* growth in defense and homeland security related spending, most of it stuffed into little-reviewed supplemental appropriation bills. ("Yeah, we need another $90 billion for Iraq. Don't count it against the deficit figures, please.") Just look at the absurd Medicare prescription drug coverage bill- any true conservative would have run from this screaming.

The Republicans today are all about huge, intrusive government. They want to make sure you're a good little consumer, worship the proper god and avoid the gay. Oh yeah, and don't worry about running up the deficit to 3rd world levels- we'll never have to pay that back...

Just sign me "Disgusted ex-Republican".

Re:Bush won't let this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833769)

This debate is a little senseless. Every administration, of whatever party, has overseen the growth of the government in one form or another. And virtually every one has overseen unprecedented growth, in that no previous administration had grown it that much.

It has nothing to do with Demicans, Republicrats, Whigs, or Bull-Meese. And it never will.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (3, Insightful)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833521)

Smaller govt my ass. Check the facts, baba. Government has INCREASED in every catagory since that facist has entered office. Taxes up, military spending up, # government workers up, etc. The only thing that is down is the value of the dollar.

Mod this parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833667)

I know, the grandparent was a troll, but at least it brought out someone with a grasp of the real facts.

Re:Bush won't let this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833764)

I voted Republican in every election for the last 20 years except the last one (I voted Libertarian). I finally came to realize that there is no difference between the R's and the D's when it comes to big government.

Don't believe it, name one federl program that has decreased in size since 1994 when the Republicans took control of congress. Name one federal program that has decreased in size since 2000. There are none.

Mike the anonymous coward

surely this is unnecessary? (5, Interesting)

dhbiker (863466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833107)

I thought that judges told the broadcast regulator that the flag was unlawful? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4290315.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Hence rolling your own tv would be entirely redundant?

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833268)

Just because it's not legal to enforce it doesn't mean that all the large companies making AV equipment won't design it in to their kit. Hence building your own TV - it's now entirely legal and will really annoy the FCC!

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (4, Interesting)

kinema (630983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833289)

The way I understand it is that the broadcast flag isn't illegal but the way it came to be mandated. The court said that the FCC doesn't have the authority to require it's implementation. This doesn't mean that Congress can't pass a bill making it law. Disclaimer: IANAL

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (2, Insightful)

dhbiker (863466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833383)

Sounds to me like the legal system is becoming a bit of a joke in the US when it comes to the big media companies.

I wonder if when you become a congressperson (gotta be PC ;-) ) you get training on how to "assume the position" whenever a big media company wants something made into law

thankfully here in the UK I can't see something like this happening (at least in the near future).

Individual European Union member states are not allowed to mandate receiver requirements and any copy protection system would need to be agreed at a European level.

I watch the patent debate closely, if that goes the wrong way I assume the EU will crumble to corporate pressure just the US is starting to now

assume the position? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833551)

see the legislatures position is smiling, holding out a hand for green insulation.

it's the average citizen that would do well to have a large supply of petroleum jelly on hand..

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833730)

I wonder if when you become a congressperson (gotta be PC ;-)

"Congresswhore" is gender-neutral and far more accurate. No need to insult actual people.

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (5, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833391)

They didn't say that. Slashdot managed to misreport what happened several times.

What happened was that the lawyer challenging the FCC went before the panel of judges, and they asked questions attacking his position. Then his time was up, and the FCC lawyer went before the panel, and the judges askwed questions attacking the FCC's position.

Judges do this all the time. It forces the lawyer in front of them to respond to questions he wishes no one was asking. If he has a good argument, he can provide good answers to the hard questions. It's just a technique to elicit information. It doesn't indicate anything about the judge's actual position.

Plus the court won't issue their ruling on the matter for several months still.

So the big hubbub was over nothing.

Re:surely this is unnecessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833477)

If you RTFA, you'll note that they also said these folks may not have the standing to even bring this suit in the first place. There's the rub.

I hope that's all it means (1)

ramdac (302865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833109)

But I'm not too terribly worried. There'll always be ways around that dumb flag.

Re:I hope that's all it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833206)

But I'm not too terribly worried. There'll always be ways around that dumb flag.

My favorite is alt.binaries.hdtv. It is good and bad as it HDTV takes up gigabytes for a two hour movie yet the best way to get the HDTV broadcast is online. I can't buy a HDTV Disk; there are HDTV vcrs but who wants that. Therefore the market needs to step up and produce HDTV media that consumers want. As it is I'll get it online.

Re:I hope that's all it means (1)

Atrax (249401) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833423)

But I'm not too terribly worried. There'll always be ways around that dumb flag.

Yeah, but if all the major manufacturers are signed up, you're left with crappy third world hardware or warranty-void gear. whatcha gonna do when it screws up? demand a refund?

Good Ideea (1, Insightful)

puiahappy (855662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833111)

I think it`s a good ideea to make your own tv, but it has some bad parts two, you cand blame anybody else :)

Re:Good Ideea (-1, Flamebait)

TLSPRWR (711680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833252)

I think it`s a good ideea to make your own tv, but it has some bad parts two, you cand blame anybody else

Like blaming your elementary school teachers for not teaching you how to spell and type, or double check before posting...

Re:Good Ideea (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833363)

I think it`s a good ideea to make your own tv, but it has some bad parts two, you cand blame anybody else

>> Like blaming your elementary school teachers for not teaching you how to spell and type, or double check before posting...

Oh come on! It's completely unfair to blame his teachers!

We should be blaming his parents for not drowning him at birth.

What exactly does it mean... (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833114)

It means we're going to transition from a time when we have a constitutional right to record shows to a time when we don't.

Re:What exactly does it mean... (1)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833321)

eh? Where exactly is the "right to record shows" in the Constitution?

um, what? (2, Informative)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833344)

Where exactly in the constitution does it give you the right to record shows?

p.s. The constitution does not grant rights to individuals. Instead it limits the rights of the government.

Re:um, what? (1)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833455)

Where exactly in the constitution does it give them the right to restrict it?

Re:um, what? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833522)

It doesn't. Guess what... this is not a constitutional issue. See great grandparent post.

Bill of Rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833510)

Check out the 9th Amendment in your French copy, JeanBaptiste.

Re:um, what? (3, Informative)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833516)

Why do people, who have NO experties in an area, feel the need to talk about an area.

In the United States we have a United States Supreme Court. That Court interprets the Constitution and statutes. It has interpreted Article. I Section. 8. Clause 8 to have limits on monoplies associated with IP. The limits are called "fair use."

These rights were enacted by Congress in TITLE 17, CHAPTER 1, 107 of the US code.

Based on the Courts' interpretation of both the Constitution and the code, they held in the case of Universal v Sony that citizens in the US have a fair use right to record shows.

Does that answer your question?

Re:um, what? (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833561)

Well, I certainly have no "experties" in spelling expertise!

Re:um, what? (1)

jim_redwagon (845837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833687)

phew! thanks for clearing that up! i was sitting here thinking "what the heck are experties? are they some new fangled thing i'm way behind the times on?"

Re:um, what? (3, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833838)

Fair use is a defense, not a right.

The right you're looking for is the right of free speech; it's the same right that the creators of the show rely upon to record it the first time, even before broadcast.

Re:What exactly does it mean... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833399)

Sadly, this is what many Americans equate rights with.... 'You've got a right to cable TV... You've got a right to download music for free.... Consitution... what's that?'

Wha? (5, Informative)

wang33 (531044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833120)

I thought the courts slowed/stopped the fcc from mandating anything like this? References in reverse chronological order

Like here /. Story One: Broadcast Flag in Trouble [slashdot.org]
Or Here /. Story 2: Court Says FCC Out-of-Bounds With Digital TV [slashdot.org]
So why are we worried?
Wang33

Because they won't give up. (5, Insightful)

jimbro2k (800351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833165)

Just like software patents in Europe, the forces behind this (well-funded forces) will not give up until they succeed in implementing the lockdown of all media. A court ruling is just a minor speedbump in the process.
In Europe, even after near-unanamous votes against software patents, they are still about to become reality.
The court merely ruled that the FCC did not have the implicit authority to order the flag. All that is needed is a lay giving the FCC the explicit authority. That kind of law is easy to purchase.

Re:Because they won't give up. (1)

jimbro2k (800351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833183)

Misspelt law not lay, tho that may be another way to get what you want... :)

Most people don't understand what the court said (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833250)

Because the Reuters article says that while the judges felt the FCC overstepped its authority, they may not rule against them.

"But it was unclear whether the judges would strike down the FCC's 2003 rule, since doubts were also raised about whether the American Library Association and other opponents had legal standing to challenge the rule in court."

The judges may rule that these groups don't have legal standing to bring the suit, so it will take consumers to sue and most likely that won't be able to happen until AFTER July 1 when consumers can reasonably say that they have been harmed by the flag. No one can say they have been harmed by the flag until it goes into effect.

Re:Wha? (2, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833333)

So why are we worried?

Because the EFF wants you to be worried.

The more worried you are, the more likely you are to donate to them.

Kit TVs (5, Interesting)

necrodeep (96704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833126)

Seems to me that this could be the begining of a Kit TV era. Kits that would include a broadcast flag 'chip' that could be mistakenly left out by the user. At least that would be one way to skirt the system - albiet legal ramifications would likely exist with this model - I'm sure others will be fourthcomming.

Re:Kit TVs (3, Insightful)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833162)

Kits that would include a broadcast flag 'chip' that could be mistakenly left out by the user.
They'd more than likely find a way to make it so that the kit TV wouldn't work without the broadcast flag chip installed.

Re:Kit TVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833195)

you assuming the hardware manufacturer's care whether the tv has a broadcast flag chip in it...

it is the broadcasters that care, it just adds expenses to the hardware manufacturers, so i am sure that unless they are owned by one of the broadcasters, they darn well don't care if the tv has a chip in it.

Re:Kit TVs (4, Informative)

Arbin (570266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833197)

Won't be possible. There is a provision in the broadcast flag legislation that states the devices be rugged and difficult to modify. A simple little chip removal ain't going to happen.

Re:Kit TVs (2, Informative)

aug24 (38229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833212)

Nope: if you rta, you'll see that there is also a prohibition on models which are easily circumvented by the user. So no kit tvs.

J.

Re:Kit TVs (2, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833329)

The trick with Kit TV is that none of the single parts itself are able to receive HDTV, thus none of them falls under the provision. It's the sum of all parts that makes the receiver, and this one is never been "distributed", just the parts of it.

Re:Kit TVs (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833493)

It's certainly a possibility. Kits have been sold in the past in order to circumvent a law that bans "sale or importing".

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833503)

I wasn't around at the time, but I've heard that under prohibitions "wine" blocks were sold including instructions along the line of:

Warning: Do not combine this product with 1 gallon warm water, mix thoroughly and let steep in a warm place 3 hours or an illegal beverage may result.

Mass system integration on chip (4, Interesting)

awfar (211405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833550)

To be economical, HDTVs must shoot for massive integration on chip. Digital TV means exactly that.

Unless you have access to xray machine, the ability to open a chip and identify and inspect traces, and just generally reverse engineer the chipset, and then reprogram it, it is a sealed component and will be very difficult to circumvent.

Not saying it couldn't be done, but a frontal assault would be extremely difficult, so as always, a backdoor located would be the approach.
But they know that.

We've seen this before... (5, Insightful)

Kimos (859729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833130)

This flag is going to be like any copy protection that we've seen to date. Those who want to steal will just get around it, and those who don't steal will be extremely inconvenienced.

Re:We've seen this before... (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833320)

It is exactly like the copy protection found on all audio CDs. Audio CDs include two flags for copy protection. The first marks the disk as copyright, and the second marks it as original. A copier that fully complies with the specification will allow copies to be made from CDs with both flags set. The copy will then have the copyright flag set, but not the original flag. Copies of the copy are then not permitted. CDs without the copyright flag set may be copied, whether or not the original flag is set (although the original flag should be unset in the copy). Technically, copying music from a CD without maintaining this flag is in violation of the DMCA...

ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833132)

"... very warm and fuzzy..." just like the picture on your homebuilt TV.

Courts (3, Interesting)

cyberfunk2 (656339) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833133)

If things keep going the way they did on that last court opinion, we may not have to deal with this sillyness.

Seriously though, I predict broadcastless recievers will become as common as regionless DVD players, and that it'd be another enormous flop.

Re:Courts (2, Informative)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833178)

I agree it will likely be a flop. People are just too used to recording shows on TV. Either there will be quiet ways around the problem (like in your regionless DVD player example) or a major backlash which will get Congress to change the FCC's direction.

But, before that happens, the Court opinion is meaningless. All the Court said was that the FCC might not have authority from Congress. Thus, all Congress has to do is to give its authority. Even with Congress, that could take less than a month.

Re:Courts (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833280)

or a major backlash which will get Congress to change the FCC's direction.

What major backlash? There aren't enough people w/HDTV yet (nevermind HDTV+recorders) that the broadcast flag would matter.

People will get their HDTV+recorders and say, "oh, we can't copy that, it makes sense, there's no such thing as timeshifting and fair use!"

They were smart about the flag... They did it before HDTV became entrenched. That way there would be no backlash because no one would know any different.

Re:Courts (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833357)

As I wrote in another post: Broadcast flags are a port of a larger system to lock down ALL content. Eventually it will be illegal to have analog outputs on TV and TV devices.

http://www.tvtechnology.com/features/Masked-Engi ne er/f-MO-Earth_to_congress.shtml

And why do you think people will think "it makes sense" they can no longer record. For decades we've been able to record shows, and suddenly we won't be able to, why would we suddenly accept that. THAT makes no sense.

Re:Courts (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833784)

Eventually it will be illegal to have analog outputs on TV and TV devices.


I hate to pick at nits, but given that the TV screen is an analog output, I get the feeling that will probably not happen.

I'm not going to take it anymore (4, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833135)

I'm not gonna to take it anymore. I'm gonna toss the damned boob tube out the window.

Re:I'm not going to take it anymore (2, Insightful)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833434)

Yes!

I saw that nice bumper sticker "Shoot your TV". After some thought, I realized that this was meant entirely seriously.
I do not have a TV (never had, never will), and I keep hearing people say "Yes, but I only watch nature documentaries and the news...".

Chaps, the TV is like heroin. You get drawn into it. You can't help it. It's like a TV in a bar. Even if you hate it, your eyes find it again and again.

Get rid of it.

You want to see a movie? Get yourself a nice big TFT (they're getting really cheap), and watch a DVD (or, better, Xvid) off your PC.

Re:I'm not going to take it anymore (2, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833770)

Good man/woman, agreed.

I have a TV but have nothing in the form of an aerial or lead in my flat, so i don't even get a slight temptation to watch it. the result? Sometimes i can be bored, but instead of watching mindless tv, i sit and read and/or educate myself about something. Not bad really.

Any Canadians know... (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833152)

... if we can buy non-BF ready TVs in .ca after they become illegal in the US? It's ~10% the size of the US market but it'd be nice to have HTDV for watching DVDs etc.

Re:Any Canadians know... (2, Insightful)

pseudosocrates (601092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833227)

Or, we could

1)Manufacture non-BF ready TVs in .ca after they become illegal in the US.
2)Open a store at the border
3)...
4)profit!

Re:Any Canadians know... (2, Insightful)

dJCL (183345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833256)

I'm not sure you need the 3) ...

but if you really want one(and yes I know the joke) - then 3) open online store

Anyone know if the US law would cover a small, indipendent, Canadian company that has no US presence, shipping un-flagged equipment into the US?

I'm sure we could find room for people like the guy in the article who makes cards for hdtv tuning that currently lives in the states.

Besides, I don't have the money or the channel list to warrant a HDTV purchase right now, but I will want it in the future to replace my current tuner.

Anyway...

Re:Any Canadians know... (1)

KiroDude (853510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833302)

Instead of stopping the shop from selling, they will stop people from importing those. It's easier I guess.

Re:Any Canadians know... (1)

jim_redwagon (845837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833795)

i live and work about 8 minutes from Canada, so if this is true, i'll start taking orders. of course, i'll be leaving the box there as i'll be just 'bringing my summer cottage TV home for the winter' ;) when customs asks.

and no, i don't own a summer cottage.

Re:Just don't buy ATI...One card for US+CAN (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833779)

From ATI:
Regarding Broadcast Flag:

There will only be one version of the card produced and after the date of the
Broadcast Flag institution the cards manufactured after this date will support the feature.
I do not know if Canadian broadcasts will have a similar limitation.

Regards,

Rick Carman
Customer Care
ATI Technologies, Inc.
http://www.ati.com

who are they pandering to? (4, Insightful)

MrLint (519792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833163)

"According to the FCC, the flag is going to ease the nation's transition from today's analog televisions to tomorrow's high-definition televisions."

Funny the only thing the broadcast flag is meant to ease is the minds of the media fatcats.

Sarah (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833188)

'ALL I WANT is to make a high-definition copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, save it on a DVD, and loan it to my friend," says Sarah Brydon, looking up from a long table covered with half-built computers.

Err... what's wrong with this picture? Women don't look up from tables covered with half-built computers... do they?!

Re:Sarah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833444)

Women don't look up from tables covered with half-built computers... do they?!

They do if their name was Steve before the operation...

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

MakeMyFS (798173) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833237)

TV builds YOU!

Well unfortunately, it happens much too often in many other parts of the world...

Mod Chips (4, Interesting)

mkraft (200694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833253)

So when do we start seeing mod chips for TVs?

Ease the transition? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833278)

Can someone explain the FCC's comment that the broadcast flag will ease transition to HDTV?

How can the FCC beleive that a technology designed only to prevent useability will be a benefit to end users in any way?

Re:Ease the transition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833335)

It's not consumers they're talking about, it's manufacturers and broadcasters. The broadcasters are having anything but an 'easy transition' to hdtv, and in theory a broadcast flag would help them accept hdtv more readily.

The problem is, only the market will determine hdtv acceptance. It will be slow until critical mass develops--who would buy an hdtv set if there were no channels to watch with it? Who will broadcast hdtv if nobody is buying hdtv sets? The broadcast flag won't affect this acceptance rate.

Let them have their broadcast flag (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833281)

Surely the 'ease the transition' bit is like the regional coding for DVDs. If you remember the entertainment industry was so paranoid it insisted on this before launching.

Then a short time afterwards it was bypassed and everyone lived happily ever after.

That's exactly what will happen with the broadcast flag. Let them have it. If the entertainment industry thinks this will achieve their objectives then let them have their illusions - it won't make a damned bit of difference at the end of the day.

BAH (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833298)

BAH, for some reason I thought, cool, its got some legal dealings, but its going to be a cool tech article...schematics and such

Disappointment ensued...

Just another slashdot legal article in tech's clothing...

This isn't about HDTV (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833299)

The broadcast flag is a part of a LARGER system to keep us from recording ALL programing.

The way broadcast flags are mentioned its all about stopping HDTV programing from getting on the net. It makes it sound like we'll still be able to record our analog shows.

However, analog outputs will be soon be illegal on all television devices. Thus, this is about locking down ALL content.

http://www.tvtechnology.com/features/Masked-Engi ne er/f-MO-Earth_to_congress.shtml

Re:This isn't about HDTV (2, Insightful)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833396)

> However, analog outputs will be soon be illegal on all television devices. Thus, this is about locking down ALL content.

That's going to make TV awfully hard to watch...

OK, I know what you meant, but seriously, ultimately people have to watch it or listen to it, so the analog hole can never really be closed, only made more inconvenient.

Eventually, congress will require that loud noises and bright flashing lights happen at the end of all copyright-protected content, so that the people who just watched it won't be able to remember it. Remembering is copying, and copying is theft!

Upcoming DIY kit seminars: (2, Funny)

deacon (40533) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833361)

Electroshock machine

Lobotomy apparatus

Automated Librium making apparatus

Hell, if you want to make sure that your brain never gets to do anything without some sort of institutionalized coercion, why stop at making a TV?

I hear you cry: "TV is good for me, and you are just a humorless crank for criticizing it!"

To which I reply: Alcohol and Heroin addicts say much the same thing about their brain-restraints of choice.

If the thought of someone criticizing your TV watching makes you angry or defensive, you need to get help.

Re:Upcoming DIY kit seminars: (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833512)

a-freaking-men. After graduating from college, I never got around to ordering cable. And, oddly enough, I dont miss it. Theres a random show or two I'd like to see (athf, southpark) but I'll grab an episode or two from the net to tide me over till I get the dvd. For now, my tv is used for playing my xbox and piping video from my PC to play Worms Armageddon. Some of my friends say me having a tv is a waste, but then they hang out, have a good time, and realise they dont need cable either...

Re:Upcoming DIY kit seminars: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833542)

If the thought of someone criticizing your TV watching makes you angry or defensive, you need to get help.
Whoa, calm down there. Many people get angry or defensive when you criticize anything they do. It's a sign of thin skin, not addiction. A sign of addiction is when someone replies with: "You're right, but oh well." I know this because I know smokers and in fact am one myself.

Incidentally, if you want to convince anyone of anything, you might want to stay away from the straw men and ad hominems. If you're only interested in ranting, that's okay, but netiquette suggests you use the "<rant>" quasi-tag to indicate such.

Build my own VCR... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833368)

Building my own TV without the broadcast flag may be fun, but the real point of this exercise is building a recording device without the broadcast flag.

"build?" (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833390)

They have a pc with an off-the-shelf capture card stuck in it running MythTV. All the talk in the article about computer "guts" spread all over the room got me thinking they were actually doing something new and cutting edge. I'm not sure what this article achieves, beyond lamenting the broadcast flag throughout.

Dan East

A suggestion: (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833405)

I stopped watching TV years ago, and with a few rare exceptions, I do not miss it at all.

Of course, they canceled one the exceptions ( farscape ), further reinforcing my decision.

That's the only way things will change: Vote with your cash, or in this case, your unwillingness to deal with their crap. You may think you *need* your TV, but you don't.

Re:A suggestion: (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833565)

agreed. As i posted earlier, i did the same when i graduated from college last may. Dont miss it one iota. Its kind of liberating really, not having to be home to watch a show, or invest money for a pvr so that i dont have to be home, etc.

VDR: Mature code and hardware to build on (2, Informative)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833425)

The televisions created at the Build-In are also computers, and they contain a TiVo-like device called a personal video recorder (PVR) - you can use them to pause a show, record it, sample it, and even save a copy to DVD. Using the TV she builds today, Brydon won't have any trouble loaning her friend a copy of Buffy.
Under the name of VDR [slashdot.org] , there is one GPLed code base for a range of hardware setups, with strong backing by a leading IT publisher and development centered in Europe (i.e. out of the reach of FCC policies, and yet still threatened by software patents [ffii.org] as well) that is proven to work very well and has just celebrated its 5th anniversary - worth having a look.

Grape-juice bricks... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833451)

While I applaud this as a demonstration and hope it will have some effect in educating the public, the mere fact that hobbyists can evade a technical protection measure is not, in itself, of much social importance.

During Prohibition, Californian vineyards openly marketed bricks of compressed, dried Zinfandel grapes, together with a strongly worded warning to the consumer explaining that they should not any circumstances mix the grapes to five gallons of water, five pounds of sugar, and yeast.

If the **AA's can create a climate of fear and create the impression that legitimate fair use is illegal, they win--even if devices that circumvent the broadcast flag become as available as marijuana.

Maybe it doesn't matter (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833456)

One of the examples given is about having a copy of a TV show to watch on a trip overseas. Given the size of the screen you're probably using, you won't be able to tell the difference between a high quality hdtv recording and a lower quality (like the current analog) one.

The last time I checked, the cable operators weren't excited about the greater quality of hdtv, they were excited about the ability of a digital signal to squeeze more channels onto the co-ax. The quality would still be poor.

Anyway, there are few movies where I find the inconvenience of going to a theater worthwhile. (The theater gives me much better quality than my 22" tv of course.) Based on that, I don't care if I can only record analog quality signals. They're 'good enough'.

With hdtv, I and many others would be over-served consumers. As long as we can record low quality, we don't care.

I wonder (4, Interesting)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833508)

How long before the broadcast flag is used to avoid recording news? This government seems more than a little bit inclined to consider images of, say, Guantanamo bay or prisioner torture sensitive information...

I only hope this idea doesn't catch.

Tuner, not the TV- Broadcast flag misunderstood? (1)

falzbro (468756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833608)

First off, It's not the TV that needs to be "built from kit", it's the tuner. Why try to build a projection device when it's likely much less expensive and simpler to just tune and strip broadcast flag from a signal?

That said-

Grill me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the Broadcast Flag is that it exists to prevent copyrighted material from being "ripped" to something such as a PC's hard drive.

I have an HDTV, and an HDTiVo. Both obey the broadcast flag and encryption (HDCP) via its digital interface- HDMI. When the FCC/whoever decides to "broadcast-flagamaphone" a show, I will see it just as it's intended, in all of its HD glory.

If however I were using the Component/Analog outputs from my tuner (TiVo), the broadcast flag will force the TiVo to downres it to 480p on the analog connections, but it may remain in 720p/1080i/1080p on its digital path.

Yes, very early HD adoptors with analog-only inputs will have to get new sets- but all sets prior to about 2 years ago didnt support 720P as n input or display format, so they're likely going to do this anyhow.

So who's hurt here and what are we whining about?

--falz

Re:Tuner, not the TV- Broadcast flag misunderstood (3, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833802)

I'm hurt here. I use MythTV to record HDTV, much like you use your HDTiVo. However, because MythTV is open source, it is impossible to have it encrypt the outgoing signal using HDCP, even if I'm using a DVI connection to my HDTV.

Further, I have a CRT-based HDTV, and when using the DVI input, it has far too much overscan. If I use component output, then I can adjust the overscan, but I can't with DVI, so going digital isn't the best option.

And even further, my TV has only one DVI input, so if I have multiple HD sources, then I have to recable my TV to change sources (like, say, a HDTiVo, satellite receiver, and broadcast ATSC tuner).

Broadcast Flag (1)

RagingChipmunk (646664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833616)

In this age of technology, the broadcast flag should be implemented to prevent copying, but, also to block according to content. Parents should be able to block anything they deem as unfit for their children, and the people who object to various deptictions of lifestyles/cultures should be able to use this flag as well. I want the flag to automatically block 'crappy shows' from wasting bandwidth on my set. Will any senator sponsor that provision?

Oh wait - we already have this 'content' flag, its the green button on the remote that says "OFF". What if we all started using it? Nevermind the goofy grass roots "Just turn it off" stuff, but, what if enough people just get turned off by the bullshit that comes through the tube: PayPerView, InfoMercials, Commercials, crappy content sitcoms, and now: the no-copy flag with the requirement of a digital TV set.

The broadcast media players are betting heavily that you and I will ingore the "minor inconvience" of upgrading the TV set, not be concerned with the video-taping prohibitions... What if they're wrong? What will happen if there's not enough viewer base to support high-cost productions like today - will TV switch to an all-channel-pay-per-view model? Will some networks fail, or just crumble into perpetual crap like today's FM radio? Will TV commercials goto a higher ratio of commercial vs. show time? Or will competitive economics drive it the other way - bringing back more show time?

The TV wasteland may just get more devoid of meaningful content, and it will be shown brilliantly in HDTV on $3000 sets, with $150/mo subscriptions. Ah the future looks so bright!

Bending Unit 22 (5, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833642)

Bah, screw you guys. I'm going to build my own TV, with hookers ... and blackjack.

In fact, forget the TV ...





And the blackjack.

People will stop watching TV (1)

ArticleI (842868) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833670)

If people can't record their shows and do what they want with their recording, less people will watch TV. Due to the internet, video games and arguably terrible shows, many of the younger generation, specifically young men, are watching significantly less TV.

USA Today has a fairly old article here [usatoday.com] .

Excerpt from the article: "They're watching television when they want to watch television," says ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne.

Build your own tuner (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833755)

I'm curious about something regarding the pcHDTV card. Obviously it will soon be illegal to sell the cards, but is there anything stopping them from selling [or even better, giving away] the plans and schematics and perhaps even the parts to build one yourself?

I'd LOVE to get one, but I don't know if I'll be able to come up with the money by the time they're illegal, so if I can't, will plans be available to me to build my own?

Of course, the best option would be for the court to tell the FCC to shove the broadcast flag up their collective @sses, but I'm not holding my breath.

ender -

i'm no hardware modder... (1)

usernotfound (831691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833786)

...but couldn't we just find the chip on the circuit, find out which digital output pin says *you can record this*, and just patch in that signal perminantly to whatever is recieving it?

The UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11833816)

What are we going to download now?
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