[LINK] US FCC to allow blocking STBs

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Sun May 9 09:03:43 AEST 2010

Jan, et al.

As far as I know, but don't quote me on this, it's only possible *if* 
the output interface supports DRM features. HDMI is one such interface.

And that would also mean that the movie just wouldn't be made available 
to people with old TVs / STBs that didn't have HDMI interfaces, I guess.


Jan Whitaker wrote:
> [not sure how they can technically do this, but 
> then again, it may be confusion by the writer]
> FCC allows blocking of set-top box output
> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100507/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_fcc_movie_recordings; or
> http://tinyurl.com/36c5q5n
> By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer Joelle 
> Tessler, Ap Technology Writer – Fri May 7, 7:15 pm ET
> WASHINGTON – Federal regulators are endorsing 
> Hollywood's efforts to let cable and satellite TV 
> companies turn off output connections on the back 
> of set-top boxes to prevent illegal copying of movies.
> The decision by the Federal Communications 
> Commission, announced late Friday, is intended to 
> encourage studios to make movies available for 
> home viewing on demand soon after they hit theaters or even at the same time.
> Bob Pisano, head of the Motion Picture 
> Association of America, said the FCC's action 
> will give consumers "far greater access to see 
> recent high-definition movies in their homes."
> But critics warned that the FCC order could 
> prevent 20 million Americans with older, analog 
> TVs from seeing these new-release movies at all. 
> That's because the order allows the studios to 
> limit delivery of new movies to only those households with newer digital sets.
> In addition, critics say the blocking technology 
> could prohibit legal recordings on some video 
> recorders and other devices with analog connections.
> "We are unsure when the FCC has ever before given 
> private entities the right to disable consumers' 
> products in their homes," the Consumer 
> Electronics Association said in a statement. "The 
> fact that the motion picture studios want to 
> create a new business model does not mean that 
> functioning products should be disabled by them."
> Public Knowledge, a public interest group, said 
> the FCC "has succumbed to the special-interest 
> pleadings of the big media companies."
> The FCC prohibits the use of so-called 
> "selectable output control" technology, which 
> encodes video programming with a signal to 
> remotely disable set-top box output connections. 
> The FCC granted a waiver from those rules on Friday at the request of the MPAA.
> Allowing movie studios to temporarily prevent 
> recording from TVs could pave the way for movies 
> to be released to homes sooner than they are 
> today. The FCC said the waiver is therefore in 
> the public interest, because the studios are 
> unlikely to offer new movies so soon after their 
> theatrical release without such controls.
> Companies such as The Walt Disney Co. have been 
> trying to shorten the time between theatrical and 
> home video releases, partly to benefit from one 
> round of marketing buzz and partly to head off 
> piracy. With DVD sales declining, studios are 
> looking for new ways to deliver their content 
> securely while still making money.
> In its decision Friday, the agency stressed that 
> its waiver includes several important conditions, 
> including limits on how long studios can use the 
> blocking technology. The FCC said the technology 
> cannot be used on a particular movie once it is 
> out on DVD or Blu-Ray, or after 90 days from the 
> time it is first used on that movie, whichever comes first.
> Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
> jwhit at janwhitaker.com
> blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
> business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
> Our truest response to the irrationality of the 
> world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
> ~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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