What are the real FCC rules regarding encoding and encryption? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Due to the small drive size on the Comcast/Moto 6412, I've been trying to offload HBO and Showtime recordings to D-VHS (JVC) for later viewing. But the deck throws an error when I try to do this. However, I can record shows that appeared on non-pay channels (CBS, NBC... etc).

As I understand the FCC rulings, premium channels (HBO-HD, ShowtimeHD, CinemaxHD etc..) are supposed to be set to "Copy Once" and that the recording to the Hard Drive of the STB does NOT count, this means I should be able to record these shows to D-VHS.

So I called Comcast, the CST I spoke with had no clue what I was talking about, of course, but he went and asked a technician. This technician gave him some BS line about how digital copies over FireWire were "perfect ones and zeros" and are not allowed because somebody might try to sell the tapes on eBay. (ahem)

I explained that I understood the rules to be as follows:

OTA networks - no copy restrictions
Premium channels (HBO etc) - copy once
Pay-Per-View and On-Demand - copy never

I tried explaining that our local (Provo, Utah) Comcast had set the flags incorrectly and had set Premium channels to copy never. The CST kept saying that the technician was very familiar with the FCC rules and the channels were set correctly. The technician is supposed to call me back within the next 24 hours.

Am I wrong? Could somebody point me to the FCC ruling regarding this issue. Thanks.

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post #2 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:28 PM
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You are correct about the general nature of the rules. The encoding gets set at your local headend, I believe, or at least it can be screwed up by the engineers at the headend.

The tech will know nothing about this, but maybe you can get him/her to call the headend and talk to an engineer, even do a three way conversation with you on the line.

This is such a commonly asked question, I am going to make a stickie with this and other, related FCC rules.

The answer is in the following thread, but I am going to copy the rule in the next post.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=438767
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post #3 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:33 PM
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As originally posted by michaeltscott:

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, §76.1904:
Quote:
§ 76.1904 Encoding rules for defined business models.

(a) Commercial audiovisual content delivered as unencrypted broadcast television shall not be encoded so as to prevent or limit copying thereof by covered products or, to constrain the resolution of the image when output from a covered product.

(b) Except for a specific determination made by the Commission pursuant to a petition with respect to a defined business model other than unencrypted broadcast television, or an undefined business model subject to the procedures set forth in §76.1906:

(1) Commercial audiovisual content shall not be encoded so as to prevent or limit copying thereof except as follows:

(i) To prevent or limit copying of video-on-demand or pay-per-view transmissions, subject to the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section; and

(ii) To prevent or limit copying, other than first generation of copies, of pay television transmissions, non-premium subscription television, and free conditional access delivery transmissions; and

(2) With respect to any commercial audiovisual content delivered or transmitted in form of a video-on-demand or pay-per-view transmission, a covered entity shall not encode such content so as to prevent a covered product, without further authorization, from pausing such content up to 90 minutes from initial transmission by the covered entity (e.g., frame-by-frame, minute-by-minute, megabyte by megabyte).
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post #4 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:35 PM
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So for your situation, it's subdivision (b)(1)(ii) that applies: encoding to prevent copying is allowed, but NOT as to first generation copies. Thus, the encoding for HBO, INHD, etc., must allow first generation copies.

Typically the way it works is that the recording to the DVR's hard drive is NOT counted as the first generation copy. Rather, the copy on your D-VHS recorder is the first generation copy (so you can't make any backup copies of your D-VHS tape).
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post #5 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:41 PM
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Can you make a live recording of HBO HD via firewire to D-VHS, as opposed to playing something from the 6412's hard drive which has been previously recorded?
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post #6 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 08:55 PM
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Also, can you dump an INHD recording from your 6412's hard drive to D-VHS?
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post #7 of 39 Old 01-25-2005, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the excellent info, sorry I asked a common question, I tried searching but didn't come up with the answer (probably my bad searching).

I'm going home right now, I'll check on the direct recording and let you know.

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post #8 of 39 Old 01-26-2005, 01:35 PM
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SonomaSearcher --

The idea of a sticky posting giving pointers to and explanations of the FCC regulations about Plug-and-Play is an excellent one. I and others here go over this stuff again and again for people, which I don't mind, but it'd be nice to have a permanent post that we could just point them to.

Make sure that, besides §76.1904 above, you also include:
  • §76.901(a), the rule stating that all rebroadcast OTA must be positioned in the basic tier (i.e., they can't charge you extra to receive the HD locals);
  • §76.630, the rule prohibiting encryption of anything in the basic tier;
  • §76.640, which contains the rules stating that they must support CableCARD and that they must supply an STB with recordable 1394 connections for lease upon request.
It would also be good to discuss the Broadcast Flag, how cable has to represent this by asserting EPN in the stream and how some of the STBs with 1394/DTCP outputs seem to be ouputting such content without encrypting it, or setting the 1394 packet EMI field to the appropriate value, causing some equipment to be unable to handle Broadcast Flag'd rebroadcast OTA television as received through 1394 from a cable STB.

There are some threads in this forum discussing the efforts of people who have used these regulations and letters to the FCC to get results from their cable providers; you might want to look them up and include pointers to them in the end of your post. You may have to search the archives to find these.

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post #9 of 39 Old 01-26-2005, 09:22 PM
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Are all these provisions in force now or is their date for compliance?

Ken Elliott
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post #10 of 39 Old 01-26-2005, 11:23 PM
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They are all in force now. There is one provision that I didn't mention in §76.640, the requirement to provide both 1394/DTCP and DVI-or-HDMI/HDCP connections on all new boxes that they buy for lease, which doesn't come into affect until 1 July this year. (I also believe that §76.640 specifies that new boxes have to use CableCARD for conditional access, but the language is kind of vague).

§76.630 and §76.901 are quite old. They predate digital television but have been held to apply to it.

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post #11 of 39 Old 01-27-2005, 06:35 PM
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So basically come July 1 of this year Firewire will be well on its way to being universal when it comes to cable set-top boxes?
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post #12 of 39 Old 01-27-2005, 09:49 PM
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Yes. But I'd say that the days of the cable STB are numbered. HD DVD recorders are likely to have built-in tuners, HDDs and DVR functionality and CableCARD V2 slots from the word say go. The prototypes that some of the manufacturers have been showing look like that, and that type of integration has already shown up in SD DVD Recorder/TiVo combos.

The FCC is requiring a gradual phase-in of ATSC tuners on televisions, which are likely to end up being all CableCARD tuners on televisions of any size, by and by.

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post #13 of 39 Old 01-28-2005, 07:21 PM
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Will HD DVD recorders with built-in tuners and DVR functionality be REQUIRED to offer Firewire? I guess what I'm thinking is paranoid, but I've always thought Hollywood would like to get rid of Firewire. Is that a POSSIBLE scenario or will we always have Firewire?
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post #14 of 39 Old 01-28-2005, 08:11 PM
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No commercial consumer product is required to have Firewire--only STBs leased by cable service providers. (There is a phase-in of DVI-or-HDMI connections on televisions). So far as I know, all HD DVD recorders with built-in tuners would be consumer products. Whether or not you get a Firewire connection on such a thing would be driven by the market, though I'd expect them to have them, if only in that they would enable transfer of SD and HD camcorder recordings onto disc.

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post #15 of 39 Old 01-28-2005, 09:21 PM
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Of course the connection could be configured to transfer SD and HD camcorder recordings ONLY to disc. As long as I live I'll always believe that Hollywood DOESN'T want to interfere with TIMESHIFTING but WOULD like to end ARCHIVING. The only way to do that is to NEUTRALIZE firewire--as long as you can LOCK a recording inside the recording device you can END archiving--if Hollywood could end archiving then people would WATCH and PURCHASE more prerecorded material. First we had the analog hole. Now watch as Hollywood gets rid of the Cable set-top box ARCHIVING hole by phasing out Cable set-top boxes and then by LOCKING down HD-disc-recorders so they can TIMESHIFT, but not ARCHIVE--maybe they'll be a little less draconian and let people ARCHIVE for a fee. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I smell a rat. Are my fears without merit? Is an HD ARCHIVING future guranteed?
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post #16 of 39 Old 01-28-2005, 10:57 PM
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You're just paranoid. Those CableCARD-tuner equiped HD DVD recorders will not need 1394 to create archival copies of television, any more than your VCR does today. You set the timer, it goes off, it tunes its internal tuner as programmed and records from it directly onto hard removable media, no 1394 cable required. Some of the prototypes of HD DVD and Blu-Ray recorders being shown have DVRs integrated (Toshiba's had a terabyte of HDD built-in). From one these, you could casually timeshift things onto the DVR and archive at will by copying from the DVR onto the integrated HD DVD recorder, no 1394 connection required. The same sort of thing is happening today with the integration of SD DVD recorders and DVRs for analog television.

1394 is only necessary for recording from standalone tuning devices or for recording onto record-only devices like the current D-VHS decks. Whether you can buy an STB with a 1394 connection from which to record to your D-VHS deck in the future will completely depend upon the existence of demand. Any tuning STB that you lease from a cable company, however, will have to such a connection, including DVRs, and I expect that these will have Archive-Copy-One-Generation-Then-Delete functions for saving things on the DVR to hard removable media.

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post #17 of 39 Old 01-29-2005, 01:38 PM
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As long as I can archive I'll be happy and disc is certainly better than D-VHS tape so who cares about Firewire in the future? Well maybe the computer people wouldn't like to see it go, but I'll let those people fight whatever wars they have with HD Recorder manufacturers!
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post #18 of 39 Old 01-29-2005, 09:50 PM
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It's quite possible that the "computer people" will have cards that allow them to make recordings of DTV--apparently there was a prototype Windows XP MCE HTPC with a CableCARD slot shown at CES (see here). I'm fairly certain that those cards will "tether" those recordings to the PC that they were made on, with, possible, a Archive-Copy-One-Generation-Then-Delete function, and 1394/DTCP output of EPN-Asserted-Copy-Freely content.

Not all OTA DTV will be marked with the Broadcast Flag or marked with any of the cable protection modes. I doubt that anything on PBS will be, for instance, and Mark Cuban has sworn that HDNet will never be protected (I don't know how that's working out in practice). Those things should end up being recordable onto a computer in the clear and thence uploadable unto the Internet, all free and legal. These copy protection mechanisms must not interfere with that, or believe me, someone will raise a stink.

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post #19 of 39 Old 02-17-2005, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
It's quite possible that the "computer people" will have cards that allow them to make recordings of DTV--apparently there was a prototype Windows XP MCE HTPC with a CableCARD slot shown at CES (see here). I'm fairly certain that those cards will "tether" those recordings to the PC that they were made on, with, possible, a Archive-Copy-One-Generation-Then-Delete function, and 1394/DTCP output of EPN-Asserted-Copy-Freely content.
Amazing but I can't help wondering what level of security would be needed for cable companies to allow Cablecard on PCs. I imagine that it will require Microsoft's new NGSCB platform which requires hardware encryption of the CPU, motherboard, graphics card, and sound card. Supposedly it will be one of the main "features" of Microsoft's next OS.


Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
Not all OTA DTV will be marked with the Broadcast Flag or marked with any of the cable protection modes. I doubt that anything on PBS will be, for instance, and Mark Cuban has sworn that HDNet will never be protected (I don't know how that's working out in practice). Those things should end up being recordable onto a computer in the clear and thence uploadable unto the Internet, all free and legal. These copy protection mechanisms must not interfere with that, or believe me, someone will raise a stink.
OTA DTV is always copy freely but I expect all OTA channels to use the broadcast flag for everything (even PBS). Also HDNet has been copy once for a while now.
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post #20 of 39 Old 02-17-2005, 11:04 PM
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I expect that all commercial broadcasters will use the BF as well--they asked for it. However, I think that at least some of the material produced by PBS will not be BF'd since the stated purpose of the Broadcast Flag does not apply--there's no local interstitial advertising for people to avoid by downloading it and I don't know that they resell their programming to international commercial broadcasters for whom its value is diminished if it's available for download. They do earn a certain amount of income selling recordings of programs (I've ordered them myself); if folks could just freely download a copy sales of these might be effected, but that's going to happen with the advent of HD DVD recorders no matter what.

We'll see.

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post #21 of 39 Old 03-29-2005, 12:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
Not all OTA DTV will be marked with the Broadcast Flag or marked with any of the cable protection modes. I doubt that anything on PBS will be, for instance, and Mark Cuban has sworn that HDNet will never be protected
Can you provide a link or reference to the Marc Cuban info as the entire Time Warner Cable System has 5c enabled on HDNET (unless its a market or two where they don't have it on by mistake).
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post #22 of 39 Old 03-29-2005, 02:52 PM
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My Guess/Hope is that just like DVD's someone will come up with a hack or bypass of the hole 5c/BF system once it becomes more mainstream. It is now pretty easy to copy a DVD unprotected to your hard drive.

Also, I think, there will have to be products and technology that ignores these rules for TV stations. How can they produce highlights of sporting events or anything else of value shown only on cable in HD/Digital. They are going to need to make more than one copy of something and there will have to be some device or receiver that allows it.

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post #23 of 39 Old 03-29-2005, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BradleyGreen
My Guess/Hope is that just like DVD's someone will come up with a hack or bypass of the hole 5c/BF system once it becomes more mainstream. It is now pretty easy to copy a DVD unprotected to your hard drive.

Also, I think, there will have to be products and technology that ignores these rules for TV stations. How can they produce highlights of sporting events or anything else of value shown only on cable in HD/Digital. They are going to need to make more than one copy of something and there will have to be some device or receiver that allows it.
There's no doubt that people will someday break 5C, if someone hasn't already. However, 5C is an active, sophisticated authentication and encryption protocol for communication between devices exchanging media, with some built-in protections against snoop-and-spoof tactics and the theft of certificates (encryption keys are generated dynamically, so they can't be stolen, as was the case with the breaking of CSS, the pitifully weak protection on DVDs). It will require a non-trivial approach to break it and devices to break it will be non-trivial to manufacture and expensive to buy. Also, anyone manufacturing or distributing them faces hefty fines under the DMCA. I doubt that making such devices to sell to consumers will be worth it, but, who knows?

Media is not provided to broadcasters in the form that we get it, over the air as ATSC, NTSC or DBS or over cable--they get a feed directly from the network which they can add local spots and their station ID to.

HDTVFanAtic --

I'm sorry, I missed your asking that question. I read Mark Cuban making that claim in some interview in the past, but I just did some searching looking for it and I seem to have misquoted him. From an interview in a Washington Post article:
Quote:
Washington, D.C.: What do you think about local stations concerned over viewers receiving national feeds of HDTV networks (which affect satellite users more)? How much is copy protection concern slowing growth of HDTV?

Mark Cuban: I think local affiliates and their networks should be able to work out deals to address any issues over national distribution of a network feed. That is a better option than losing the viewer to a competitive network

as far as copy protection,
HDNet wont copy protect any of our original content. I think the fuss being made over copy protection of HD content is a joke that politicians play on us to get more money from the hollywood lobbies.

One thing I have learned, is that the number 1 job of a studio head is to keep his or her job. THe easiest way to do that is to create a boogie man that only he or she can respond to. That boogie man is internet piracy

next thing you know, the same idiots will outlaw pockets in trousers and purses to prevent shoplifting...
So, "the promise" is only pertaining to "original content" (note that the article is only 9 months back). I wonder if 5C copy protection actually goes on and off on cable systems around these programs?

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post #24 of 39 Old 05-06-2005, 09:36 AM
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I don't understand how people can say that they're sure 5C will be broken. How can this be compared to the weak 40 bit CSS encryption on dvd, which I'm sure the creators knew would be broken? With present technology, I think it's possible to design "unbreakable" protection, at least into the foreseeable future. For example, public key encryption with RSA has been around for almost 30 years and that hasn't been "broken" yet and probably won't be for a very long time. They might find some minor security holes in 5C, but it is possible that the solutions to exploit them would be prohibitively impractical.
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post #25 of 39 Old 05-06-2005, 08:33 PM
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Looks like a federal appeals court threw out FCC antipiracy rules:

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050506/D89TTCB00.html
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post #26 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott
Yes. But I'd say that the days of the cable STB are numbered. HD DVD recorders are likely to have built-in tuners, HDDs and DVR functionality and CableCARD V2 slots from the word say go. The prototypes that some of the manufacturers have been showing look like that, and that type of integration has already shown up in SD DVD Recorder/TiVo combos.

The FCC is requiring a gradual phase-in of ATSC tuners on televisions, which are likely to end up being all CableCARD tuners on televisions of any size, by and by.
Ok, a question regarding CableCARD's. My Sharp Aquos, has a CableCard tuner. With the CableCard I get all the digital and HD channels I'm subscribed to, but can't access PPV or On Demand channels. Is this a limitation of the CableCARD or my cable company which would rather rent me a box?
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post #27 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dendawg
Ok, a question regarding CableCARD's. My Sharp Aquos, has a CableCard tuner. With the CableCard I get all the digital and HD channels I'm subscribed to, but can't access PPV or On Demand channels. Is this a limitation of the CableCARD or my cable company which would rather rent me a box?
It's a limitation of CableCARD, it's a one-way device only. CableCARD2 is supposed to be a two-way device but I have my doubts if it will ever come to realization as the cablcos are dragging their feet on it. Plus, I'm not sure CableCARD2 will even work in the current CableCARD slot for two-way communication.

This is an interesting article about the state of CableCARD,

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000343040219/
The Clicker: CableCARD and OpenCable - Engadget - www.engadget.com /
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post #28 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 06:53 PM
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"CableCARD V2" or the M-card, will work just fine in the current single-stream devices--they're designed specifically to be backward compatible. They will not, however, deliver any new functionality. The major piece of interactive Plug-and-Play is not multi-stream CableCARD--it's the OCAP platform which is implemented in the host (television, STB, etc).

After reading that Engadget article, I hunted down this FCC decision, giving the cable providers yet another year to stop distributing leased equipment based on proprietary conditional access. This is just sad--that deadline is set some 11 years after the original order was issued.

This leaves me with serious suspicions that one or more of the FCC commissioners are in the pockets of the MSOs. The CEA is obviously not putting nearly enough funds into their own lobbying efforts.

I have to disagree with the Engadget guy. He thinks that CableCARD will end with V1 since the MSOs don't have to have an interactive solution before 1 July 2007 and that we'll probably be onto something else by then. We may all be onto phone-company-provided FTTH by then, but the cable companies won't--all they've got is cable and presumably the FCC won't go away.

Mike Scott (XBL: MikeHellion, PSN: MarcHellion)

"Think of the cable company as a group of terrorist (sic)." -- hookbill
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post #29 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeltscott

After reading that Engadget article, I hunted down this FCC decision, giving the cable providers yet another year to stop distributing leased equipment based on proprietary conditional access. This is just sad--that deadline is set some 11 years after the original order was issued.

This leaves me with serious suspicions that one or more of the FCC commissioners are in the pockets of the MSOs. The CEA is obviously not putting nearly enough funds into their own lobbying efforts.

This is one of the reasons why I don't hold out a lot of hope for CableCARD to go much further, I think it's going to be a casualty of a give and take type of negotiation over other issues.

What aggravates me personally is that my current display has a CableCARD slot that has replaced an additional component or digital input that I could have made some use of. CableCARD without DVR functionality is worthless to me.
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post #30 of 39 Old 07-08-2005, 03:52 PM
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If I bought the Sony PVR recorder which does not have firewire. I should be able to record always all shows on the locals OTA broadcast stations and keep it there as long as I want, Correct?

and a player like this should (if things are setup correctly with the cable company), always record HBO and such on to the harddrive and keep it there as long as I want. Correct?

And for PPV, non demand, be able to time-skip the show, but not store permantely the show, correct?

And if so on all three, Is it likely to remain the same for the coming years? Thanks
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