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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do I have to run out and buy an HDTV receiver now to get over-the-air HDTV before they are all pulled in favor of ones with copy protection? Or will over-the-air not be affected by these new schemes?


And if I do buy one now, will it still work forever or will the stations eventually stop transmitting unprotected signals, making my receiver useless?


Finally, if I buy it and it has DirecTV, and I eventually get DirecTV (assuming I get one which doesn't require a contract), will it always work with DirecTV or will it be junk once the copy protection is adopted?


Does anyone know? Thanks!
 

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Those are 3 good questions the public has a right to know before buying into HD. All I can say is they are still selling the same old stuff.


If GM, Ford and Chrysler sold gasoline powered cars today knowing, full well, that in 1-3 years all the gas pumps were going to be shut off and only electric cars would be supported, I think it would be WWIII if they didn't make things right. Unfortunately, we are on a much smaller scale, and our equipment may still work to some extent, but not to the same extent for which we purchased them.


Seems things are changing constantly. By the time TV's have the 2 dozen interfaces in place, there won't be room for the cord to plug it in. :confused:


Terry
 

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Peter,


The questions you ask have been debated in various threads for many months now. The problem we all have is a lack of hard facts. Even with the recent HDMI announcement none of us knows why only two studios supported the standard and what the issues are that prevented all the other studios from endorsing this needed standard.


Remember that no matter what happens none of our current boxes will ever be junk or obsolete. They will always be able to receive the downrezzed HD signal thats equal to the best resolution we see today from a progressive DVD player and thats pretty good even if not the full HD standard. With my Marantz projector that displays 720P, a true HDTV feed is better than what I see from DVDs but there is not enough difference to complain about IMO. The improvement of a downrezzed 480P feed from what we now see via a NTSC signal is still a major difference.


There are STBs that have been announced that have DVI/HDCP interfaces. Some may be available in 3 months if we are lucky. I finally got tired of the promises and just bought what was available right now. But no one knows what will happen if the DirecTV/E* merger either goes through or is prevented. Remember that E* has been experimenting with the MOXI technology that could possibly change the DirecTV roadmap if the merger happens.


No one really knows, that's why so few are buying HDTVs and far fewer are buying HD STBs today.
 

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They will have to do something for existing owners or there are going to be a lot class action lawsuits against the manufactures. They will not be able to make everyone obsolete overnight. That just does not make any sense. Who would risk running out and buying another STB or HDTV? They could change the standard in another 6 months or a year.
 

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Peter,


I firmly believe that you can buy an OTA receiver now it will be fully capable of receiving any OTA HDTV broadcast for the next 5-10 years, at least. The only way it would become partially obsolete is if the FCC allows OTA broacasters to broadcast encrypted video signals, requiring special receivers. I do not see that happening.


A DirecTV STB is more of a gamble. I believe they will support their current STBs for a few years, at least. At some point, they are going to require "secure" outputs for their highest-value content. Hopefully, only PPV-type programming will be affected, but I woudn't bet on it. Personally, I wouldn't even buy the new STBs that are coming out this Fall, because they don't have the proper connections for recording. They most likely won't have watermarking security on the analog outputs, so unless you expect to have a display with DVI/HDCP input in the next few years, I'd be concerned about future compatibility.
 

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The main point of the so-called "broadcast flag" part of HDMI is to prevent Internet distribution of protected material.


There is so much disagreement across the allied industries concerned that the whole issue of digital rights management may turn into a Tower of Babel unto itself.
 

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OTA should be good to go forever. The broadcast networks aren't stupid and any advantage they can have over cable and satellite is good for them. They WANT you to record "Alias" and "Raymond." They get ratings credit when you do. Sure, there might be the occasional Sunday Night Movie that's downrezzed, but I doubt it. By that point, Hollywood's milked all the $$ they're going to get out of the film.


Primetime and sports will probably move toward HDTV. Daytime may go multichannel. But I don't see copy prohibitiion taking effect with broadcast TV. There's a "fair use" precedent. And 2.3 million of us ready to join a class-action suit if our TVs are rendered obsolete. .


Doc
 

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I'm with Dr Don.


I doubt OTA HD will ever be protected; and if so it will not be for a very long time; at least until DTVs have penetrated over 75% of the market. (By that time the STB will be dirt cheap or all TV sets will have intergrated DTV tuners while costing the same as analog sets)


OTA programming can only be 'flagged' to prevent output of HD to unencrypted connectors (RGB/Componate). Those of us that bought sets with intergrated HD tuners are pretty safe.


The problem is that most of us (including myself) bought the HD tuner separate from the TV without an encrypted interface.


My opinion:

Aside from feature films, there no concern to protect the content of most OTA broadcasting. Most of it is transitional (local news, soap operas, sitcoms) and is of little value to reproduce. Even major broadcast events that showcase HD (superbowl); is made for a single viewing. There isn't a 'pirate' market for such programs, because it's already been given away to the public at large.


In the end, it's up to the broadcasters to set these HD-protect flags or not- and so far it would be against the interests of broadcasters to spend big $$ to produce something in HD and to restrict the viewing to secure HDTVs sets only. Especially when they consider they have a hard enough time justifying the cost of doing an HD broadcast to start with.
 

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OTA broadcasts will not be downrezzed because they are paid for through advertisements. It is the CABLE/SATELITTE/PPV HD material that is at risk.


Do not worry about OTA.
 

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Quote:
Do people know for sure that OTA is not and cannot be copy protected? And even if not, will it always be that way?
Well first off; HD protect and copy protect is not the same.


The "HD protect" flag means do not expost HD in full HD resolution on unencrypted connectors. That means no HD output on exposed analog VGA/RGB/Componate connectors. All STB will downres the same program to 480p/i, so you'll still get to view it (though not in HD).


"Copy protect" is a media control flag, which means do now allow the program to be copied at all. It has nothing to do with the program being in HD or not. If a HD recorder gets this signal it will prevent it from recording. (sure it, screws up fair use, but what the hey). All media recorders have to obey these media control flags. HD-STB's don't have to worry about it because most of them are not recorders.


As far as OTA encryption is concerned:

OTA will never be encrypted. The FCC will not allow broadcasters to encrypt DTV on a channel that was given to them for free. Besides, decryping it would require the receiver to have a key to decrypt against (kind of like a HU card for decryping DirecTV).


all DTV recievers sold to date expect non-encrypted OTA, in fact there are some OTA-only STB (Samsug) and have no provisions to accept a key-card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well cable and sat are paid for by subscription fees and that doesn't seem to make a difference.


I already wrote to the DOJ's anti-trust division about this. We'll see if they reply.
 

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I'm intrigued by all the assumptions that are being made. The real issue is digital rights management and it is far broader than simply HDMI replacing DVI.


We can't assume any of us knows what will shake out of this mess. Remember that Sonic Blue is under a new court order to moniter their subscribers use of their digital video recorders, and to turn the data over to the entertainment companies suing it on the claims of copyright infringement. Are we so very sure that the Sony decision to freely allow video taping of OTA broadcasts will apply to digital recording ? I know that regardless of how I personally feel I'm not very certain of the outcome. Every week I find that Blockbuster is selling another multi video tape series of some previous OTA series. There will surely be the desire on the part of the studios to limit our ability to make these tapes for free.


We have congress, standards groups and industry groups that so far have failed to agree on anything except on some technical issues. The broader issues of digital rights management have not been totally agreed upon in any instance I'm aware of.


BTW, it is not the broadcasters that will make the copy once/twice/never decision on a program. It will be the rights holders. Broadcasters will merely have the ability to salute and follow orders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So let me see if I have this straight:


If I buy an OTA receiver now, to use with my HD-ready analog component video TV, the day may come soon when the OTA broadcasts are copy protected, and I can no longer watch any 1080i on my TV?


Same with HD-DVD, right? If they make 1080i DVD, they won't have component outputs?


So this industry monopoly is essentially making my TV useless for 1080i viewing?


And this is legal, HOW?
 

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Peter,


I disagree with your assessment. As Carl says, replace "soon" with "eventually" in your OTA prognosis. Or replace it with "over my dead body" :) Also, I would be shocked if the industry decides to make it illegal for HD-DVD to have component outputs. I'd be a little less shocked, but still very surprised, if the component outputs were anything less than HD with all HD material.


The reason for my optimistic forecast: There are a variety of HD video watermarking schemes (a digital equivalent of Macrovision) that can be used, if necessary, to secure analog outputs (saving analog displays from any obsolescence). There could easily be supporting legislation for a given scheme as was done with Macrovision, which would clear the way for hi-def video recorders with analog inputs (saving old STBs from obsolescence). Even without supporting legislation, some brands of watermarking can be effective deterrents against widespread illegal distribution. Recent statements by Larry Blanford of Phillips have made me more confident than ever that watermarking is in our immediate future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I hope so. Still, I think we should operate as anticipating the worst case scenario. A letter from a few lawyers wouldn't hurt. I'm going to be contacting consumer watchdog organizations soon and encourage people to do the same.
 
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