|Originally posted by Don Landis
I think you need to realize that the MPAA is NOT a regulatory agency. They simply propose ideas that they feel is representative of their core membership. They are only in power when the membership follows their guidelines and when the broadcasters do the same.
I fully realize this--I've pointed it out to others in these forums myself. That's why I generally use phrases like "the members of the MPAA". If the MPAA had the power to control their members, they'd present a much more united front on the issue of copy protection mechanisms. Some of them wouldn't be publically endorsing DVI/HDCP while Sony Pictures Entertainment, their Columbia-TriStar Motion Pictures Group and Warner Brothers have licensed DTCP, and five other major studios hedge about DTCP, trying to pressure the DTLA into adding features to prevent the retransmission of OTA television. But the one thing that they do seem united in is their fear of the implications of digital media and their determination to take firm and sometimes drastic measures to protect their profits in the face of this.
|IF the MPAA starts to ruin the profits of its core membership by being able to control issues in the industry the same will happen to them and, as an organization, will wither and die.
Like I said, its not the MPAA insisting upon copy-protection, but its individual members--all of the "major" motion studios. They've all made statements in support of one standard or the other, and I haven't heard a single one of them say "Oh, I don't care about the threat of digital IP theft--I want to give the consumer the ability to copy and recopy my digital media any way they want because I think that that's the way to make a profit today."
The number of people who've purchased DTVs to date are a tiny
portion of their market--many more people buy analog sets in two months (at least 30% more) than have purchased DTVs in three years
. That number of DTVs sold continues to grow, but if DTCP gains acceptance (pretty much the only thing on the horizon which will let us record DTV at all, legally and at consumer prices), many of those people will be convered, having bought 2002 Sony and Mitsubishi integrated sets. Even the significant percentage of the market to date who've bought Mitsubishi's older upgradeable models will be covered (for an additional fee, of course).
Not all of the people who won't be able to watch premium content in HD on those monitors will care. I've personally explained this issue to several people who were in the market for widescreen HD sets, and most of them have decided that they're sufficiently satisfied with the increased PQ of progressive-scan DVDs on such sets that they're going to make their purchases when they're ready anyway, and accept image constraints for premium HD content. I don't understand this attitude, but it's true. These are intelligent folks, too--one of them, one of my closest friends whom I've known for 20 years holds an MD and a PhD in Biochemistry and researches metabolic diseases of children. I went over this issue with him (and an EE friend of his that I'd just met who owns a widescreen set) while I was at his home for Thanksgiving dinner, and he still mostly doesn't care, though he seemed a bit more alarmed about the prerecorded media issue. The only people I've managed to really concern are techies and A/V salespeople who've already bought sets (and I'm sure that the A/V salespeople continue to sell the non-copy-protected stuff with equal enthusiasm).
|I agree with you that the MPAA does not concern itself with the few HDTV consumers opinions yet. However, they will not do anything that will piss off their membership on a large scale. If you consider that organizations like the MPAA and NAB are about Power and control and that the only way they have this is that it is granted to them by their members, voluntarily then you may see their rise to power in a different light.
So many of their individual members have all voiced sufficient fear of losing control of distribution of digital media in the press that I don't believe that any action that the MPAA recommends to prevent unauthorized and uncontrolled copying of their IP will be against any of their members wishes. Reduced profits are better than no profits at all and that is the threat that they're up against. And I don't think that they face any reduction of profit--can you tell me that, if your DISH 5000+Modulator is disabled and they try to trade you a DISH 6000 for it, you're going to stop watching feature films altogether?
|You are not the first to proliferate the gloom and doom theories at a time when it is not a current event. This stuff has been talked about ever since I became a member of AVS. It's the same line of thinking that had everyone of your mindset scared to death that our Dish5000/mods would stop working because all the broadcasters would switch to COFDM and DN would shut us down. That didn't happen either, won't happen and the whole argument was just stupid yet many wasted much of their lives worrying over it. Others, like myself, simply enjoyed our HT's with HDTV and had some fun rebutting the gloom and doomers pessimism and fear of something that was akin to preparing for the Y2K disaster by moving to the hills.
By all means, enjoy your HD equipment! I'm only pointing out that the DISH 5000+Modulator is the largest security hole in the currently deployed distribution of subscription and pay-per-view digital media. They must have sold at least a few thousand of these things--DBS has to this point been the easiest way to get premium HD content. I initially believed that there was no way for Echostar to disable this combo--if there is a way, I personally think that pressure will be brought to bear by the content providers to make them use it. Your opinion may differ--so be it. Peace.
-- Mike Scott