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How does TiVo see the Broadcast Flag?  

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
So I come to discover TiVoToGo supports the broadcast flag once I “upgrade†to digital cable. After a bit of research it seems the industry has gotten the FCC to essentially overturn the Sony vs Universal pictures ruling allowing for time and space shifting of recorded content by saying that digital content is somehow different than analog.

Part of the discussion of the broadcast flag is how it really is quite ineffective in stopping the digital recording of content because the content once converted to analog does not carry the broadcast flag and can subsequently be converted back into digital without the flag.

So I have two questions:

1) The 75 Ohm cable which carries the signal from my digital cable box is not digital is it? If it isn’t digital how does the TiVo “see†the broadcast flag and know to protect the program?

2) If I took the signal from my digital cable box and routed it directly to my TV and then used my TVs RCA cable video out and route that to the TiVo would the TiVo receive an analog signal and not protect the program? That would be legal correct? Since I would be recording an analog not a digital signal.

Does anyone know the answer to either of these questions?

Lee Burch
post #2 of 2
1. No, that's an analog signal. See below for more detail.

2. Yes, that's legal. Worth a try ... But more than likely, you would get the same result.

Without knowing exactly what Tivo is responding to ... and exactly what's getting inserted into your signal ... hard to know for sure.

However, my GUESS is that Tivo is responding to a Macrovision or CGMS-A tag.

My GUESS is that it's not Macrovision ... as that's pretty restrictive, would kill VCRs, and cant legally be applied to alot of content.

CGMS-A is an analog system ... some extra stuff in the VBI of an analog signal. Same place where VChip, Close Captioning, XDS, and other additional info is ...

MCE "respects" CGMS-A. There's restrictive settings like "copy never" and "copy once" ... but there's also a "copy freely" setting. MCE forces CGMS-A protected content (even "copy freely" content) to be be encrypted and not allowing you to burn it to DVD. However, under MCE you can transfer the content around.

My GUESS is Tivo is respecting CGMS-A by not allowing you to transfer to PC. Their protection on the PC is pretty weak ... so preventing transfer may be their only (percieved) option.

CGMS-A could be in the original video ... or it may be applied by a cable STB and inserted in the video. Same with Macrovision ...

Again, the above is all just a GUESS. Without knowing what's in your signal ... no clue if it's accurate. However ... it seems to make sense that they might go the same route/protection as Microsoft/MCE.

I beleive there are several products with legitimate uses that have the "side-effect" of removing CGMS-A flags (and Macrovision too).
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AVS › AVS Forum › Gaming & Content Streaming › Digital Recorders (PVRs) General › How does TiVo see the Broadcast Flag?