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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think the hysteria about copy protection has reached an absurb level around here. I would like to point out that there are some natural market forces at work that will serve to constrain the MPAA and the HDTV broadcasters.


Firstly, there is no reason whatsoever to copy protect OTA broadcasts of network series programming. I rarely watch such today without time shifting through a VCR. I have a life and I'm not going to fit it to the prime time television schedule. If they deny me the right to watch a time shifted program, I will not watch the program at all, nor the commercials which constitute the network's revenue.


Nor is there any reason to copy protect live news broadcasts, which are practically the only programming I watch live. These are also supported by commercial revenue.


By the way, commercials themselves are a form of entertainment I frequently enjoy. If I find a particular commercial entertaining, I may watch it several times - as long as each viewing produces a chuckle. When the entertainment value subsides, I relegate said commercial to the same "fast forward" that more mundane commercials get about 5 seconds into the first viewing.


As for whatever the MPAA or the movie studios want, I couldn't care less. I simply will not watch a theatrical movie which has been:


1) Edited for content and to run in the time allowed.

2) Altered to fit my screen shape, even if this "only" means that a 2.35:1 OAR has been cropped or P&S'd to 1.78:1.

3) Sliced and diced into approximately 12-minute segments shown between 3 minutes of commercials.

4) Mixed down from 5.1 digital channel sound to stereo or even Dolby Surround or Pro-Logic.


Since none of the OTA broadcasts of theatrical movies meet these criteria now, I never view them. Instead I go to theaters and rent DVDs, and then decide, based on the entertainment value of that particular movie in it's original, unedited form, whether I will add the (legally purchased) DVD to my relatively small collection of excellant films.


Now I certainly resent the offensive implementation of 5C/DVI/HDCP as much as anyone, and I own an HD-capable analog projector (the NEC VT540). I will never own a piece of equipment which contains a 5C/DVI/HDCP system as long as there is any viable HD receiver and display alternative, not costing too much more. If it developes that I have no viable alternative to get HD content, and I'm forced by economics to purchase such equipment, I'm still not going to arrange my life to view programming on anyone's schedule but mine - which means I'll dip into my existing video collection a little more, and watch a little less HD television, and a lot fewer broadcast commercials.


This attitude has already affected my equipment purchases. I recently was strongly tempted by a fully functional HDTV which was a viable alternative to replace a two year old analog WEGA in another room in my home. It was the RCA model 38310, a gorgeous 16:9 direct view CRT with a 38" tube and built-in OTA and satellite HD receivers. The deal killer was: no A/V outputs, thus no way to timeshift HD programming through a VCR or PVR. This was a deal-killer, I'll wait until I can buy a set with HD PVR capability. Get the message, RCA?


Get the big picture? If the consumer does not buy a product due to a lack of features, or watch an OTA broadcast because the broadcaster caved to the demands of the MPAA when they set copy protection flags in the program, the product manufacturer or the broadcaster will feel the pain on the bottom line. The ultimate power is the consumer, and in case you are wondering, you the videophile hobbyist have far more clout than most people - you understand the purpose of a $3000-$20,000 HD display and you are willing and eager to spend your money for such. The purchaser of one $3500 HDTV such as the one above does more for RCA's bottom line than 10 purchasers of $350 SDTVs at K-Mart.


So back up your convictions with your pocketbook. They will listen. Squawk about your beliefs if venting makes you feel better, but it is how you spend your money that will interest them even more. It's kinda like politics - fools listen to what a politician says, the wise man looks up his past voting record to discover what he truely believes - or to decide if he has principles at all.


Gary McCoy

(A/V hobbyist and consumer for 4 decades)
 

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That is a very interesting article. If you have not posted it to the Hardware forum, you should. It has everything: the humor of watching the chest-pounding creators of the "impenitrable wall" embarassed before their weapon is even utilized in its intended domain... The embarassment that the DMCA is to our nation - see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil... The impending underworld that may surpass anything we have seen before...

Thanks!



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Gary, as far as I can tell, they're only talking about using encryption for premium movies on cable and satellite. They're not talking about doing this on OTA broadcast. There are signs that some portions of the industry (the MPAA) would like that to happen, but zero indication that it's likely. The only agreements by network providers have been with the cable and satellite companies.


The other thing that will be affected is the ability to play back recorded HDTV on a PVR at full resolution.


Those are the two relevant points of discussion for this new encryption scheme -- premium movies on satellite and cable, and the ability to time-shift HDTV and view it at full resolution.


I also think there's no way to boycott the scheme. The digital connections and encryption chip will be on all new hardware for one reason -- it's CHEAP to include it. Whatever the digital jacks and encryption chip cost, it's going to be less than the D/A-A/D converters they're using now to move an HDTV signal from one device to another. You won't be able to buy any hardware soon that doesn't have the new digital inputs. And if manufacturers continue to include analog in/outs on new HDTV hardware at all, it will be the cheapest, lowest quality converters they can get away with, because videophiles will want to use the all-digital links for best image quality. That's exactly the current situation with CD players and audio receivers, and it's about to happen to high-def video.


You still have some consumer power; you can choose not to pay for encrypted PPV movies on your cable or satellite system. You can choose not to subscribe to premium movie channels that might encrypt HDTV movies, like HBO and Showtime. I think that's all the leverage we have, if we want to boycott this scheme. But those high-def movies in 16:9 aspect ratio are going to be hard to resist. Even if they down-res them to 480p on current non-encrypted hardware, it's going to look like a DVD. It beats making two trips out to the movie rental store.


By the way, I do think it's likely that the new encryption will extend to other content besides premium movies, once more channels move to full HDTV. The studios get continuing, post-run revenue from sales of popular series like "Friends" on DVD's. They have a very good reason to protect high-def versions of those shows. Your point about network shows being supported by commercials is a good one, but you're ignoring post-run revenues from other sources.


I'm probably sounding like an apologist for the MPAA with all these posts here, but I just think it's important to understand what they're talking about doing. Don't waste your time worrying about things like OTA broadcast, when that's not even going to be affected by this.


Here are some links to get started, for anyone who is just tuning in to these threads:
http://www.latimes.com/technology/la...819jul26.story
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010725/0322.html


This .pdf file is in a funky slideshow format, but it's the best introduction I've seen to the hardware aspects of the new scheme:
http://www.dtcp.com/data/dtcp_tut.pdf



[This message has been edited by foldedpath (edited 08-15-2001).]
 

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Quote:
So back up your convictions with your pocketbook. They will listen. Squawk about your beliefs if venting makes you feel better, but it is how you spend your money that will interest them even more. It's kinda like politics - fools listen to what a politician says, the wise man looks up his past voting record to discover what he truely believes - or to decide if he has principles at all.
It makes me angry that I am forced to vent. However, this has been very cleverly posed and it's a very complex thing to explain to the common consumer, that, in essense their previously hard won "fair use rights" will now be at the mercy of the content providers. For those of us that currently have an investment in equipment having gone on the assumption that the existing methods of distribution would continue and we could use our investment in the way it was intended? We apparently will be screwed. Or at least I certainly don't feel the "benefits" will be worth the price. The majority of early adopters have no idea this is happening. They don't all hang around here listening to people like me rant and rave so they can join the chorus.


Freedoms or consumer benefits are gained via sweat and money. They are lost by ignorance and apathy.


Now, the people that are currently buying "HDTV ready" sets for the most part have no clue that the sets they are buying will be of limited use in the not too distant future.


This is not like screaming fire in a theatre when there is no fire. This is like screaming that the whole theatre is sinking. Of course the theatre is so large and the rate of desent is so seemingly gradual that no one notices until its too late to shore it up.


That being said, It is our "job" to make as many people aware as possible. It may seem like something between mental masturbation and again screaming fire in a theatre yet my contention is, like DIVX, this 'Smooth DIVX" is something that people need to be aware of.


Breifly back to your politition analogy, hollywoods "voting record" scares the hell out of me.


The finger pointers and name callers (PARANOID!) that somehow belive in a benevolent hollywood or that market forces will solve it all are IMHO very mistaken. An informed consumer is one thing.


The agreed on system depends on consumer ignorance to be sucessful.


Larry


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DFAST is EVIL! BOYCOTT ANTI-CONSUMER 5C/DVI/HDCP/DMCA MANUFACTURERS!

Join Electronic Freedom Foundation http://www.eff.org/


[This message has been edited by videohot (edited 08-15-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Larry, ever hear the term "You're preaching to the chior!"?

This Forum is full of educated consumers who fully understand the implications of the proposed copy protection scheme. Most like me are in violent agreement with you.


You would be better off standing on a street corner inside a clamshell sign expressing your obviously heartfelt views on 5C/DVI/HDCP.


But I'll just bet - you'll spend more time explaining "HDTV" than you will "HDCP", and most listeners will lose patience and walk away before you get to the second term. They are the same people who will buy analog SDTVs on absolute final clearance sale in 2006, and think what a great deal it is.


Gary
 

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Gary


Thats not exactly how I read the applicable section of your last post. There are a surprising number of people that have posted on related threads that seem to REALLY believe in the benevolence of hollywood and the good guys winning via the marketplace.


We might possibly get through to them what they are losing.


I will often get asked what kind of TV someone should get when they are buying a new one. I have a bunch of non HD geek friends.


A chorus we are not at this point. A few voices yes. A few might even tell their neighbors or more importantly maybe someone might do a piece on PBS for example. Something even beyond a footnote and the end of the evening news.


Larry





Its said usually about people tho it applies to concepts as well. It doesn't matter what they are saying as long as they are talking about it. Even here an idea gets lost in yesterdays threads.




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But does Joe Sixpack *ever* decide these types of issues? When it comes to the introduction of these types of new consumer technologies towards the high end, has Joe Sixpack in the past ever made the difference? I'm not accusing, I'm asking. Or do the literati make the difference because the it becomes obvious early on that they won't play, and then through osmosis get their bad vibes on the technology out to the hoi polloi who then stay away?


I keep having to come back to the bazzillion arguments we've had during the 'why isn't there more HD' phase we've been in. And that argument is that it only makes a difference to us. If that's true, then a non-time shiftable medium that they already don't care about isn't going to appeal much to Joe Sixpack.


Of course, one could make the argument that the copy protection stuff is going in, regardless of whether HD is involved or not. If you really want to be cynical about it, you could say that the Hollywood is using HD, which it doesn't really believe in anyway, as a way to get copy protection into the system, which they can then begin to engage regardless of the resolution of the content under control.



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If it don't have a control port, don't buy it!
 

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I would not underestimate the desire of consumers for quality. The history of CE in the last 50 years has been pretty amazing from the point of view of consumers' demand for quality, and getting it.


I also would not underestimate the importance of the marketplace. The motion picture industry has repeatedly learned that it must provide content the way that consumers want it, not they way that they might envision. The history of the introduction of television is a great example, with studios turning bitter opposition into partnership and finally ownership. Cable is another example: did you know that there was a time when movie theatres ran industry-sponsored anti-cable-tv commercials? VCR's, DVD's, and satellite are also solid examples of consumers winning out over motion picture industry conservatism and stupidity.


I claim:


1. Customers are going to want HDTV, and going to demand it, and going to get it. I am talking about ordinary folks, not videophiles.


2. Customers are going to want to own copies of HD movies. They will be willing to pay for them, just as they have with VHS and DVD's.


3. Customers will want recording capabilities for HD. Efforts to overly restrict this will prove counter-productive.


The MPAA is being ridiculously overreactive and paranoid; this is their history. They will get over it, they always have.


The most important thing for us to do is to point out the benefits of HDTV and the quality it offers. Everything else will follow.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The literati all chose Beta VCRs because they were in fact better quality than VHS.... I'm not trying to change the subject, the point is that when enough people get exposed to HD, there will in fact be a groundswell of demand for such - and whoever has an attactive offering at that time will make a killing. My next door neighbor bought an HDTV out of the blue after viewing a football game in a bar.


It seems to me, the most attractive HDTV offerings are those that don't obsolete every other piece of video gear the consumer owns. He'll want to use his VCR, his TiVO, his camcorder, and his interlaced DVD player. None of these have DVI outputs. HD displays do now and will continue to have analog SD inputs - and just maybe analog HD inputs as well. Remember you cannot today buy any gear with the 5C/DVI/HDCP built in. The longer this situation continues, the less chance the MPAA will ever succeed.


Gary
 

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In the September 2001 issue of SGTHT Joel Brinkley, as an addendum to a previous review, has this to say about the Panasonic TU-HDS20 digital TV receiver:


"...Instead, the TU-HDS20 has Macrovision and CGMS-A HDA, another copy-protection system," and "...It's an analog equivalent of 5C," and even further, "...Panasonic couldn't explain it, but surmised that 'Macrovision got confused and erroneously put up that message.'" (here Panasonic is referring to the unit displaying up a message saying the show was copy-protected while Brinkley was viewing OTA signals with the set to upconvert programming to 1080i).


Does anybody else knows about this Macrovision analog copy-protection scheme?...


-THTS
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Macrovision is the original copy protection system created to prevent duplication of VHS tapes. It has a long checkered history and has been applied to the analog outputs of VCRs, Laserdisk players, DVD players, and even TV monitors. It also spawned several generations of "Video Stabilizers" whose purpose was to defeat the Macrovision system by restoring the sync signals Macrovision attenuated. The Macrovision developers and the box builders have been battling for a while - there have been at least five generations of each.


The only application to this discussion is that any HDTV tuner or settop box probably has Macrovision applied to the output - the idea being you can then make a single analog copy of the content, which in turn cannot be duplicated. At least, that's how it's supposed to work - often it messes up legitimate first generation or "fair use" tapes.


Gary
 

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The history of CE in the last 50 years has been pretty amazing from the point of view of consumers' demand for quality, and getting it.
Are you sure you don't really mean 'features' and 'low price'? I can't see how the average Joe out there has ever really had a boner for high quality.



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Dean Roddey

The Charmed Quark Controller
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www.charmedquark.com


If it don't have a control port, don't buy it!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dean Roddey:

I can't see how the average Joe out there has ever really had a boner for high quality.
To your point, witness the mass appeal of DBS services.



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The button is labeled "Play", not "Pay". STOP the MPAA!

Our Silent Angels

Please visit The Manny Page!
 
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