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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hate to be so vague and I did a search here and on Google before posting this without result...


But did anyone else read a report in the L. A. Times (and elsewhere, I assume) a few weeks ago that had an update on what the powers-that-be had determined regarding current non-HDCP technology compatibility with new HDCP compliance providers?


I scanned the report myself and couldn't tell exactly WHAT it was saying about compatibility due to my limited understanding of the terminology in these matters, but it appeared to be saying that a decision had been made to dis-allow providers from scrambling images so as not to be viewable in at least some form of compatible quality level for today's non-HDCP monitors/TV's.


Just wishful thinking on my part, did I get it completely wrong or was it only a wet-dream gone awry?


I didn't keep the article and really thought I'd be seeing a thread or two here on it sooner or later. Well, it's later now, and I was just wondering if anyone saw the report and could explain it to me.


Thanks,

hitchfan
 

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The FCC recently ratified the cable "Plug and Play" agreement (signed in December 2002) which defines what is and isn't kosher for unidirectional (one way) cable services and for content distributors across the board, among other things. DVI/HDCP (HDMI) outputs will be required for all HD cable STBs as of July 1, 2005, and any new HDTVs labeled as "Digital Cable Ready" must have DVI/HDCP or HDMI inputs (this requirement will be phased in, in parallel to the OTA ATSC tuner phase in).


As far as what this all means for "legacy" analog HDTVs (those without DVI/HDCP inputs), selectable output control (SOC, i.e., cutting off the analog output) has been banned, but image constraint (downrezzing) is still up in the air for everything except OTA HD. In other words, DirecTV cannot turn on the SOC feature in their legacy HD STBs, but image constraint technology in existing/future HD STBs and other devices can in theory still be used for cable/satellite content (e.g., Firewire-based STBs allow for downrezzing, the new Dish 811 and 921 support downrezzing, etc.).


This FCC mandate really has nothing to do with HDCP, though, which neither required SOC nor image constraint from the HDCP source device even for HDCP flagged content. It's unfortunate that the entire image constraint issue wasn't ironed out, but it's a very contentious issue and it will probably take some time to reach a balanced go forward position.


Here are some blurbs about the FCC mandate, written in plain English without all the techno-babble:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-238850A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-238865A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-238850A2.pdf
 

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Alex,


I haven't been following the whole "analog" issue lately but I know you have. Would a safe summary be that those of us with HD equipment with only analog inputs will be able to see full-rez HD for the forseeable future? I know you have the holy grail of projectors and it only has analog inputs and since my XG also only has analog inputs I'm just a little curious.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by GScott
Would a safe summary be that those of us with HD equipment with only analog inputs will be able to see full-rez HD for the forseeable future?
Well, DirecTV can't SOC any programming, so that's a start. As for downrezzing, that "feature" is present in some currently and soon-to-be shipping product, and the FCC didn't leave me with a warm fuzzy...they could have easily made a policy decision on it's use, but they choose to hide behind the "Well, there are so many technical issues we can't get our hands around it" smokescreen thrown up by the PNP signatories. I would think that even worst case, downrezzing will only be allowed to be invoked on HD PPV and VOD. As time marches on, I'm less and less confident that when HD-DVD does show up, it will support non-constrained analog outputs.


There was never any doubt that image constraint would be disallowed for OTA HD, so the FCC taking the time to "rule" on this point seems kind of pointless...still, it allows them to say that they've attacked the issue. :rolleyes:

Quote:
Originally posted by GScott
I know you have the holy grail of projectors...
Sniff, sniff...my precious is for sale...we're selling our house in the states and living full-time in the islands, no room for a CRT...sniff, sniff. Oh, it's too painful to talk about...I'm all verklempt...talk amongst yourselves... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all.


Plain English, eh? OK.


Anyway, if I understand it so far, HDCP compliance will not be required on Over The Air HD broadcasts, but cable/satellite providers are not subject to those rules and can pull any deal with HDCP compliance they want or need to arrange..?


My feeling/gamble is that with all the plasmas, rear projection TV's and direct view TV's flooding the market right now out of Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club and everywhere else with DVI (sometimes) but RARELY with DVI-HDCP on the premise that these are the sets that will give us the fruits of the HD Promise Land and, considering the intense competition from all the OTA, cable and satellite providers for our attention, loyalty and money, NONE of them are going to be dropping the bomb to it's subscribers that they'll only be able to watch that Pay-per-view screening of Lord Of The Rings at a reasonable level of picture quality if they happened to have bought the latest, greatest, most expensive TV with that funny little doohickey input with the capitol letter code that not even the salesperson realized was on it or understood what it meant.


At least not for many years to come.


Or have I missed something really obvious, here?


Thanks again,

hitchfan
 

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Alex, is there a specific deadline for the FCC's "Further Notice", because if I'm reading the document in the first link right, there is nothing to prevent sat/cable from downrezzing non-broadcast programming at any time during the interim, other than providing 30 days notice to the FCC. Can this be correct?



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Palladin


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hitchfan,


Outside of plasmas and front projectors, it's pretty hard to find a display that does not support DVI/HDCP in the sales channels right now. Sure, there's a legacy base of some 4,000,000+ analog and non-HDCP capable displays out there, but in terms of a go forward basis, said base will quickly be dwarfed by HDCP-capable displays in probably 2 years. The biggest thing that the FCC did to protect the legacy base of owners was to outlaw SOC once and for all. As alluded to below, if a MVPD was forced to flag content for image constraint for whatever reason, it really wouldn't mean much. The biggest danger area is for future pre-recorded media, IMO...if HD-DVD only supports DVI/HDCP or HDMI (or Firewire/DTCP), a legacy owner would need to either junk their set or forgoe HD-DVD...that would suck for me, and a lot of others. No wait, I'm selling my legacy equipment as we speak, so I guess whatever I end up buying will be compliant...hooray for me. :)


Palladin,


No deadlines for round two (or take two, depending upon your view) were ever established, so yes, in theory, any MVPD can flag content for image constraint, and any image constraint-capable STB will then downrez said content, with only a 30 day notice to the FCC. The MOU signatories are said to be "hard at work" on ironing out the bidirectional details, which will be sure to address image constraint...I would hope that the FCC can rule faster than 10 months post submittal this time, though. :)


To the best of my knowledge, though, very little image constraint product is out there. No DirecTV HD STBs can do it, IIRC. The Dish 811/921 can do it. As for cable, I'm not really sure. On the other hand, any Firewire-based product that supports DTCP is capable of it...it's required by the DTCP agreement. All this said, will any MVPD start flagging for image constraint before the FCC lays down the law? I would say no way. I would also guess that the FCC will eventually rule on this issue along the lines of the DTLA encoding rules, so yes, at some point in the not too distant future, image constraint will become a reality in some shape or form for some types of HD content.
 
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