AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
770 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
iN NEW YOUR TIMES ONLINE:


Hollywood Has a Setback in Controls for Digital TV

By AMY HARMON





Hollywood Has a Setback in Controls for Digital TV

By AMY HARMON



Hollywood studios seeking to impose electronic controls on digital television broadcasts suffered a setback yesterday as a coalition of technology and consumer electronics companies supporting their efforts crumbled in a cross-industry power struggle.


A long-awaited report that the studios hoped would provide the consensus necessary for anti-piracy legislation — and that members of Congress hoped would jump-start the stalled rollout of digital television — instead disclosed a host of dissenting opinions.


Hollywood executives have long maintained that they will not release their most valuable programming in digital format until they can ensure that viewers cannot copy those programs to the Internet. Makers of digital television sets blame the shortage of programming for slow sales of the devices, which are in fewer than a million homes.


The Broadcast Protection Discussion Group was formed last November to try to arrive at a proposal for a technological standard that consumer electronics and computer makers could build into their machines to protect digital broadcasts. And if there was general agreement on one point at the end of the months-long process, it was that such protection remained a worthwhile goal.


"The key agreement was that digital television should be protected from unauthorized redistribution," said Andrew G. Setos, president of engineering for the News Corporation's Fox Group and co-chairman of the group. "Hopefully work will now start on getting it memorialized as a federal mandate."


The studios and their trade group, the Motion Picture Association, sought to portray the report as a positive step forward that could still quickly result in legislation, or a Congressional directive to the Federal Communications Commission to supervise the regulation. But technology and consumer electronics executives said it was far too soon to think about adopting a voluntary standard, much less legislating one.


"May I say quickly that there is no consensus embodied in that report," said Tom Patton, vice president for government relations at Royal Philips Electronics. "None."


Philips, along with several other consumer electronics companies, complained that the studios' proposal would prevent consumers who use an updated device to record a program from watching it on one of the 30 million DVD players that are in homes today because the program would be scrambled.


The dissenters in the consumer electronics industry were also joined by Microsoft in objecting to the degree of control that the studios wanted to exert over which technologies would be deemed to meet their copy-protection standards.


"They were proposing criteria that were largely subjective," said Andy Moss, director of technical policy for Microsoft.


The basic idea is that broadcasters would include a digital "flag" in each broadcast, which would be detected by the technology in the devices and scrambled upon receipt. Digital programs that include the flag could be moved electronically between devices in the home, but not transmitted to the Internet.


Some device makers and computer manufacturers have been lukewarm to the concept, arguing that the expense and effort it requires would not prevent Hollywood's material appearing on the Internet.


And the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group that participated in the discussions, argued that preventing consumers from e-mailing an excerpt of a show over the Internet violated fair use rights under copyright law.


But the central stumbling block to arriving at a broad agreement on the proposal may simply have been a bid by the studios for too much control over carrying it out. Microsoft, Philips and Zenith all have copy-protection plans of their own that they would like to market to device makers. The studios, however, appear to favor one system developed by a group of companies that include Intel, Toshiba and Matsushita. Zenith is a subsidiary of LG Electronics.


Disenchanted by the informal discussion process, which did not involve clear procedures for resolving disputes or voting rules, several representatives from technology and consumer electronics companies said they would prefer any future discussions to take place in a forum sanctioned by the government.


That will almost certainly be one subject of debate when the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds an industry discussion on digital television next week.


"Frankly we're surprised," said Ken Johnson, a spokesman for Representative Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Republican who leads the committee. "When we looked at the report we said, `Boy, we've got a lot of work to do.' "




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This would mean that those worried about HDCP have little to worry about (for now). Leave it to the big guys to not get along (a lot like us sometimes)

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Unfortunately AJ, this still leaves the HD content broadcasting and distribution more in limbo than it was before. I hope against hope, that the studios suffer their comeuppance this time and that the government does step in and legislate some kind of accord or standard.


We know we are going to get something, now is the time for the consumers and the industry (read the latest issue of Widescreen Review) to get together and figure out the least onerous of the alternatives that are being considered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Wow.


*M*I*C*R*O*$*O*F*T* says *s*t*u*d*i*o*s* want too much control?!?


They will have to get it back together immediately, because this is happening with, or without, them.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
770 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is actually good news/bad news. Good that analog outputs for HDTV will be around a lot longer so everyones projectors isn't obsolete and bad because it means HDTV DVD and recordable programming is a lot longer wait.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,201 Posts
Thanks for the post, AJ. I do think that this is overall good news for the media industry.


Consumer electronics companies are rightly taking the side of consumer's fair use interests. And why shouldn't they? They certainly recognize that consumers demand a certain amount of flexibility in their viewing habits. If the products they build don't provide that flexibility then we just won't buy them.


I'm not scared by media companies' threats that they won't release high-definition material until reasonable copy protection methods are in place. (Understanding of course that "reasonable" is a subjective term.) Sure, it hurts us in our ability to entertain ourselves if they don't release the material. But it hurts them right in their pocketbook to run away from a market which will clearly be a profitable one if done right! (Less profitable than they might like, but profitable nonetheless. Positive cash flow is positive cash flow.)


That's a powerful incentive for them to find a middle ground that's acceptable to everyone. It may take awhile, but I think they will realize that the technology industry can't be bullied so easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,574 Posts
The studios are motivated by the desire to manipulate the consumer, and by greed.


Fortunately for us, and for them as well, greed predominates.


Once the studios realize that their dream of gaining total control over technology and the consumer is not to be, they may say that they won't distribute their content in HDTV format.


The half-life of threats such as this have proven very short.


Once they realize that there is a lot of money to be made on HDTV, they will relent, with a vengeance.


The question is: do they want to re-sell me HDTV copies of several hundred movies I already own on LD and DVD, or not? The studios will soon discover that they do, in fact, want to make some more money from me (and other similarly gullible consumers).


On the other hand, if the studios do succeed in controlling the technology, then they will have given pirates the biggest incentive they ever could have thought of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
AJ, thanks for the post.


It´s great, that the analog component device will be usable for HDTV; but for the HD DVD we have still to wait. (Also we have to wait for the players)


Just another background:


A few month ago, in a specialized German paper was written, that the " 11.th Sept" could be the "dead of HDTV, HD DVD and recordable programming" because the main efforts in this area has been concentrated in New York; maybe, this meaning will be connected to your post, also maybe will be a rumor;


hb
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,999 Posts
This is kind of an interesting note and rapper M&M (don't you like the way I spelled his name? Its a lot easier!) made the conscioues decision NOT to put copyright protection on his latest CD as it could have potentially handicapped his fans buying his music (I'm not one of them). Instead, a point was provien as sales of his CD skyrocketed even as his CD compilation was completely without protection.


I hope this little item makes itself a good proving point to this suffering from the RIAA suits, and it is equally applicable to the video/movie industry. BTW, here is the RS article if anyone is interested ...

http://rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=16051
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
280 Posts
I am probably a more fanatical DVD collector and movie-goer than most AVS members. I want HD-DVD's of all my favorite movies NOW and CHEAP. And to heck with this 1080p "ultimate" standard--I want 10,800x19,200 pixels, at least (not to mention projectors with 1,000,000:1 contrast ratios).


But I really think that most members of forums like these are not being fair to the movie companies. If you paid a hundred million dollars of YOUR money to make a movie, you would not want your profits on Hi-Def broadcasts and on DVD's sabotaged by cheapskates who want to record HDTV movies for a dollar apiece.


This is what I propose as a fair way to handle the HDTV "stall"--outlaw, under serious penalty, the recording of any commercially-generated, high-resolution video signal. Fine companies out of existence who provide any kind of hardware or software that makes such recording possible. Hunt down those who violate these laws. Seize their homes if illegal recording devices are found there, like busting pot farmers. Seize their wives too, and shoot their dogs.


In all seriousness, we need to reassure the studios that if they release uncopiable HD-DVD's, in abundance, that we will buy them and the display devices to watch them on. Competition will keep the prices reasonable. It is greedy of the consumer, not the studios, to want to make $1.00 bit-perfect copies of HDTV broadcasts and HD-DVD's. I will pay $25 for an HD-DVD of a movie I love, and will accept gladly that there is no way to copy it.


Mike
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
770 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I agree to a point. I have no wish to record a HD-movie off the air. I don't mind paying money to those due. All I want is do view HDTV without having to buy a new projector. Make that happen and I'll be happy. The only time I will want to record HDTV is sporting events, West Wing etc. The things I currently have to use my VCR for (yuck).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
The number of individuals on the class action list will grow with every day they wait to standardize the output and transmission standard.

This meeting sounds like a colossal waste of time.

I do not believe the government, which is controlled largely by special interest group dollars, will be an unbiased abitrator/facilatator.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,075 Posts
Simple solution: Price attractively and there's no economic incentive for piracy. Doh!


Dan
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,999 Posts
Dan, I couldn't agree more with you. Unfortunately, most decision-makers of large companies and trade organizations are completely out of touch with consumers and reality. The RIAA and MPA actions and attempt actions are only good examples of someone throwing a squeaky wheel around. Unfortunately/fortunately, not many are listening to them. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Quote:
outlaw, under serious penalty, the recording of any commercially-generated, high-resolution video signal. Fine companies out of existence who provide any kind of hardware or software that makes such recording possible.
Would this include time-shifting of broadcasts (HBO-HD and the like)? If so, as a Replay owner, I'd never go for that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,308 Posts
Im sure when they get the standards together, if it involves no analog outputs then someone will make a convertor with analog outputs.


I agree- if I made a $100m movie or even a $2 movie, Id want to protect my investment. They certainly have a right to do that. But some of the MPAA's suggestions seem a bit onerous to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,304 Posts
While I agree that Hollywood movies should have some protection I think Valenti and his MPAA lackies are going overboard. This is the same man who stated over and over again in the 80's that the VCR would be the death of Hollywood.


I think the MPAA's paranoia is getting out of hand. DVD is a great example. The encryption has been cracked for over a year. Do we see wholesale copying of DVD's? No. In fact it's just the opposite. I read in Widescreen Review that Pearl Harbor just became the biggest selling DVD to date.


I agree with AJ. I have no problem with Hollywood wanting to protect their work. I have a problem if this protection obsoletes millions of sets and projectors with analog inputs.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top