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Discussion Starter #1
Widescreen Review Issue 55 (December 2001) Editor's Couch -News Changes/Component & IEEE 1394 p.22 Video Technical Editor Greg Rogers Comments: Just as we are going to press with this issue, a broad group of satellite and cable TV providers (including DirecTV and Echostar DISH network), consumer electronics manufacturers, and content providers, have agreed to use the Digital Visual Interface (DVI) standard for transmission from HDTV set-top boxes to displays, and high-bandwith digital content (HDCP) for HDTV content.


RDave
 

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They still have got to provide some way to record content, if only rebroadcast OTA, and DVI/HDCP ain't it. Even Silicon Image, sole maker of DVI/HDCP chipsets, recognizes that (or at least they did). In the diagram at the top of the last page of this whitepaper, they show recording devices connected to a DVI/HDCP equipped STB with 1394/DTCP, which is how Echostar has talked about doing it.


They're not going to get around Sony v. Universal--the high-court gave us the right to timeshift free OTA broadcasts, and 85% of viewers receive these through cable and DBS STBs.


While your DISH 5000+Modulator works, I can't see how they can stop you from recording (unless, somehow, they can stop it from receiving the HD broadcasts altogether). Since the Modulator has to be tapping the MPEG stream before decoding, it should proof against downrezzing. Of course, they won't service these anymore.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Mike,


where does this leave the DTCP (5C) group? Since the systems are incompatible, will we just end up with incompatible equipment? A copy protection format war?


Also wouldn't the Dishnetwork signal be eventually encoded with the DVI copy protection, even though it is received through the Dish 5000/modulator?


Dave
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RDave
where does this leave the DTCP (5C) group? Since the systems are incompatible, will we just end up with incompatible equipment? A copy protection format war?
DVI/HDCP and 1394/DTCP are only "incompatible" in the sense that they cannot plug into each other. I've voiced the thought many times in these forums that they could be made to work quite elegantly together, preserving the best features of both, by placing a single DVI/HDCP output on the STB which contains the only MPEG-2 decoder in your system, and feeding all digital video through it with coax (from your cable headend or satellite dish) and 1394/DTCP connections from VCRs, PVRs and DVD player/recorders. The MPEG decoder in the STB could decode video for every other device. Placing MPEG decoders in everything just to have DVI/HDCP outputs just raises the price of everything without reason. It also perpetuates the rat's nest of cables behind your system, which 1394 interconnection works to clean up. However, using DVI as the video connection standard allows STBs for proprietary transmissions to support arbitrary compression standards (though of course they'd still have to translate them into MPEG for recording).


1394/DTCP is layered on a set of standards for connecting your A/V network with FireWire that is hugely useful and fully endorsed by the CEA (they helped to develop it). I can't see them omitting it from the video stream. I don't know how much significance I'd read into that print article--it must have been ready for press two or three months ago. Things are changing constantly. In mid-May, a little over six months ago, the CEA announced their whole-hearted support for DTCP--just a few weeks ago they announced that they'd finished the logos for marking 1394/DTCP capable products--certainly since that article was written. We hear these announcements from the press all the time. Until we actually see announced product specs with DVI/HDCP connections, I'm going to take everything anyone claims with a grain of salt.


There has been some talk of making DVI/HDCP networkable, so that it could replace all the functionality offered by FireWire--this is a great plan, but it could take years to spec out.
Quote:
Also wouldn't the Dishnetwork signal be eventually encoded with the DVI copy protection, even though it is received through the Dish 5000/modulator?
The signals come to the box encrypted with DISH Network's proprietary system. Encryption of the DVI/HDCP transmission to the display must be done in the STB. It uses secret information unique to the chipsets in both devices--the same is true of 1394/DTCP. So, the decrypted form of the data must exist in memory buffers in the box waiting to be reencrypted into the home A/V network copy-protection system. The licensing agreements for the copy-protection systems specify standards of physical "robustness" (tamper-proofness) that devices which employ them must live up to to prevent all but the most clever and well equipped hacker from accessing that internal information. (TI's chipset for 1394/DTCP actually decodes DIRECTV as well, so the decoded information never exists outside of the chips--similar things could be done with DVI/HDCP chipsets for DIRECTV and Echostar).


The DISH 5000's HD Modulator option obviously accesses the decrypted stream--the only other way it could work is by re-encoding the analog HD outputs into MPEG-2, and it was far too inexpensive for that (it would also be a silly-assed design). Now, unless they've made some specific prearrangement to disable that access, which would make them owe new equipment to the few people who bought these, this should continue to work.


-- Mike Scott
 

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This subject comes up every now and then and is a valid concern. Look at the facts:


1) All components have been off the store shelves for at least a year. (yeah, there still may be a few lost in the stock room that people continue to find).


2) It is claimed Dish will not service a 5000 modulator. They still provide replacement receivers. This could be challanged under product laws.


3) There are probably less than one thousand of the systems alive.


4) Dish has always had the ability to shut down any receiver. They know who has what because serial numbers must be registured upon activation.


5) While they could change the data stream for HDTV channels that leaves them with a far larger problem then the 5000s. All the 6000s would also need to be upgraded as well.


I think it's not worth the effort to do anything about it. I don't think the program suppliers care either otherwise they would have pushed for some relief by now. These systems will die off and once a protected home recording system arrives, these devices will probably be forgotten about.


All I can say is that if you have one, build a library now while you still can. Those tapes can never be "shut off". Don't spend three times the retail price on EBAY either. It's not worth it.


There will be pre-recorded HDTV material available soon. Tapes at first followed by HD-DVD in a couple of years if not sooner. If the same SDTV model is followed, the stuff will be reasonably priced and rentable. Once that happens, the need to record premimum material will not be improtant. What the MPAA needs to realize and perhaps they have is the average HT person is not trying to steal from them. They just want more material to watch. Now the way to do that is record it and build up a library. AS HDTV moves forward, this will not be an issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Glimmie
2) It is claimed Dish will not service a 5000 modulator. They still provide replacement receivers. This could be challanged under product laws.
People have actually posted that Echostar have refused to service them. Their service contract states that they have a right to choose to replace it with another product, or pay for it in lieu of servicing it. Will anyone actually take them to court over this, and risk having to pay Echostar's cost of defending themselves if they lose? It'd be cheaper to buy all new equipment built to conform to whatever copy protection emerges--no matter how costly your current system, it's nothing in comparison to the potential legal fees and court costs of such a suit.
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4) Dish has always had the ability to shut down any receiver. They know who has what because serial numbers must be registured upon activation.
But do they have a database linking Modulator owners with their DISH 5000s? There must have been many, many more DISH 5000s sold than Modulators--it was their top-of-the-line product, before the 6000. Disabling and replacing them all would be economically unfeasible, and would probably piss a huge number of customers off.


Unless they built something into the DISH 5000 specifically to turn off the Modulator's access to the decrypted MPEG, I think that these devices are safe, for as long as they last. Of course, I could be wrong :).


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Glimmie
[...] There will be pre-recorded HDTV material available soon. Tapes at first followed by HD-DVD in a couple of years if not sooner. If the same SDTV model is followed, the stuff will be reasonably priced and rentable. Once that happens, the need to record premimum material will not be improtant. What the MPAA needs to realize and perhaps they have is the average HT person is not trying to steal from them. They just want more material to watch. Now the way to do that is record it and build up a library. AS HDTV moves forward, this will not be an issue.
I totally agree. I'd much rather not do the silly monkey dance with my $3000 worth of equipment (Dish5000+HDadapter+HTPC+bunch of 80Gigharddrives) and not have to constantly buy $200 hard drives, and instead either rent the HD-DVD for like $4 (and not copy it - how many times do i want to watch the same movie anyway?) or buy it for $30.


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Moaz
 

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I am not suggesting they will do this but I would not be at all surprised if Dish had the capability to download software that could disable the modulator. This could probably be done such that anyone who did not receive the update would eventually not be able to receive certain broadcasts.


But for those who did receive the update then certain broadcasts might not be available through the modulator.


This is just speculation on my part but I don't see any major technical reason why they couldn't do it if they really wanted to.


- Tom
 

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Huh. Not ever having been a DISH subscriber, I didn't realize that they could upgrade the software of their boxes dynamically (though that makes sense). I'm no longer so sure that the Modulator is safe.


Disabling them completely (except for CBS for a subset of customers, what do they offer in HD except stuff that would probably be protected?) would make them have to refund the cost of at least the modulator, or refund or replace the 5000+Modulator for people bought them together for HD, but they may be few enough that they'd be willing to shoulder that financial burden.


-- Mike Scott
 

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The whole discussion is stupid, IMO. I really think DN has more important things to think about than working on putting changes to a data stream to sabotage a few of their customer's HDTV modulators on DISH 5000s. In business, work projects and results are usually ROI based. What is the ROI of sabotaging ones own paying customer base? Really! some of you people need something more important to occupy your time. I'm back to enjoying my HT and viewing my HDTV on the DN5000/modulator. I'd bet that we stand a greater chance of DN going out of business than suffering through some attempt of Charlie sabotaging his own HDTV customers.
 

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Don, I agree 100%. I just just saying this to Todd on the phone last night. Why give dish ideas anyways?


Don, you going to get a DTC100? It works great. How about

a UM? Go uma.


dave
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
I really think DN has more important things to think about than working on putting changes to a data stream to sabotage a few of their customer's HDTV modulators on DISH 5000s. In business, work projects and results are usually ROI based. What is the ROI of sabotaging ones own paying customer base?
You're right--there's no direct ROI here, Don. Businesses regularly do lots of things with no direct ROI, to maintain good relations with their customers, suppliers and the communities that they operate in. DISH decided to "sabotage" all of their DISH 6000 customers by building in a downrezzing capability. If they actually do disable the 5000+Modulator combination, they'll be doing it for the same reason--because the members of the MPAA have made it a precondition for reselling their content. If they were no longer allowed to carry HBO or any of the other subscription movie channels or sell pay-per-view movies, DISH would be, as you said, out of business. Hollywood doesn't need them--if people can't view movies through DISH, they'll view them some other way.


The DISH 5000+Modulator is a much bigger security hole than all of the HD analog output devices from DISH and the DIRECTV OEM partners that have already been booby-trapped, because it emits an 8 VSB remodulation of the broadcast MPEG-2 stream. This can be and regularly is easily captured and stored on computers by people who've obtained inexpensive products for this purpose, in the precise digital form in which it was delivered to the 5000, sans encryption. That is Hollywood's worst nightmare.


The other devices have been partially disabled when there's no easy or inexpensive way to capture their HD output and digitize it--just a potential to do it. It's being done with the DISH 5000 today, every day, by people, many of whom have archived extensive collections of films at this point, in original broadcast form that will practically never degrade. Any and all of these people are free to further compress that content in a way that produces little objectionable loss and post those files on Gnutella. No one can stop them.


If I was on the MPAA committee (or whatever) that's hell-bent on preventing the easy pirating of digital content, the DISH 5000+Modulator would loom large in my sights. I can't imagine that they're not aware of it.


-- Mike Scott
 

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There is also this longstanding nonsense that DISH is no longer servicing faulty HD modulators.


They no longer SELL them; that much is true. But yes, they are quietly replacing the rare faulty ones.


In fact, one such replacement occurred last month.



If anyone needs the 5000/HD mod please pm me.


I have sold several on ebay but still have a few left.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tmitchmd
They no longer SELL them; that much is true. But yes, they are quietly replacing the rare faulty ones.
If that's true, then fine--I was referring to the experience described in this thread from a month ago, where a forum participant was told in no uncertain terms by DISH that they wouldn't service his 5000, just replace it with a 6000. He never posted that he'd gotten any satisfaction from them, so I'd assumed that that was their official policy.


-- Mike Scott
 

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OK, Mike. You have your gloom and doom theories. But, since you said what you would do if you were in charge of the MPAA. I will say what I would do. I would increase the size of the pie for the MPAA core membership. I would enlist the expansion of first run movies in a PPV premium form and have that be run by the local theaters in a community. The basic difference between the way you would run a company is you would concentrate on ways to piss off the customer base while I would work on ways to make them happier with more options to spend their money for stuff they want to buy.

I do believe that Charlie is just doing what his customer base wants. Don't know whether you have ever talked to him or his upper management but I have and I can assure you that Charlie and company is very much interested in making their subscribers happy with DishNetwork. I suggest you attend trade shows where you will have the opportunity to speak with DishNetwork management and express some of your concerns and get some direct answers. Obviously, I can't tell you your ideas will never come true but maybe after talking to the people who make these decisions you will come away with a more positive outlook and positive theories.
 

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Quote:
Don, you going to get a DTC100? It works great. How about
Dave- I have had a DTC-100 since they first came out. Why you ask? Don't have any reason to track down the UM receiver. No interest.
 

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Don --


You may think of my theories as "doom and gloom", but I don't see them that way. Of course, I haven't bought any of the equipment that won't be able to view premium content when they turn copy protection on, so I can't share you point of view. Once the copy protection issue is resolved, all equipment will be built to those standards and almost all people who buy it will be able to do all the things they're doing with the non-copy-protected equipment now.


I'm not speculating that the Echostar or DIRECTV or any of the providers wants to incorporate copy-protection in their new products or to partially disable any of their deployed products. I'm speculating that they won't be given any choice. Did they or did they not build downrezzing capability into DISH 6000, as it's been reported that they did? Do you suppose that they did that in an effort to make the customers who bought them happy?


I don't think that the studios care about pissing the 150,000 or so people who've bought HD tuners off, or even about pissing off the buyers of the 1.5 million DTVs sold without copy-protected connections. Except for their probable inability to watch premium prerecorded content in HD, I don't even think most of those people will be pissed off. The MPAA members didn't sell any of that equipment, and they spoke up, asked for and were promised copy-protection by the FCC and the CEA long before any of it was manufactured.


Your PPV-out-of-local-theaters concept has merit, I guess, but it doesn't solve the MPAA member's problem with digital media theft. Without copy-protection, people would simply copy those films and trade the copies around and few people would ever buy them. (First run yet--they wouldn't even want those timeshifted; possibly not even temporarily rewind-buffered by a PVR). There's just no way to make it secure enough.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Don, was wondering if you are going to convert your DTC100 to

a record machine from 169time. I didnt ask the question right the first time.


dave
 

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Mike- I think you need to realize that the MPAA is NOT a regulatory agency. They simply propose ideas that they feel is representative of their core membership. They are only in power when the membership follows their guidelines and when the broadcasters do the same. The NAB is a similar situation. My complaint has always been that the NAB allowed the MPAA to step in and muscle their way in the NAB's turf. When the NAB began to go in a different direction than what some broadcasters wanted, these members pulled out. Didn't mean they were off the air, just that NAB became a lesser representative of the industry. IF the MPAA starts to ruin the profits of its core membership by being able to control issues in the industry the same will happen to them and, as an organization, will wither and die. I agree with you that the MPAA does not concern itself with the few HDTV consumers opinions yet. However, they will not do anything that will piss off their membership on a large scale. If you consider that organizations like the MPAA and NAB are about Power and control and that the only way they have this is that it is granted to them by their members, voluntarily then you may see their rise to power in a different light.

You are not the first to proliferate the gloom and doom theories at a time when it is not a current event. This stuff has been talked about ever since I became a member of AVS. It's the same line of thinking that had everyone of your mindset scared to death that our Dish5000/mods would stop working because all the broadcasters would switch to COFDM and DN would shut us down. That didn't happen either, won't happen and the whole argument was just stupid yet many wasted much of their lives worrying over it. Others, like myself, simply enjoyed our HT's with HDTV and had some fun rebutting the gloom and doomers pessimism and fear of something that was akin to preparing for the Y2K disaster by moving to the hills.


Dave- I told Richard that I would be a candidate for the DTC-mod once it was able to record to the PVHD1000 any and all DirecTV HD channels and that it could be retrofitted by me so I would not have to send in my DTC-100. Since that statement, based on the track record of 169Time, I would add that they would need to establish credibility and track record as a normal shipping company before I would do business with them. Just curious- Are you working for them as a sales arm of the company now? I haven't kept up with 169 in the last month so my knowledge of where they are at is dated.
 
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