[mythtv] TiVo versus MCE versus my cable company

Brad Templeton brad+mydev at templetons.com
Thu Mar 3 22:43:35 UTC 2005

On Thu, Mar 03, 2005 at 05:15:24PM -0500, Joseph A. Caputo wrote:
> Not true.  The 'robustness' clause of the Broadcast Flag mandate 
> specifically prohibits them from releasing something potentially 
> crackable, basically meaning that the protection has to be hard-wired 
> into the silicon.  *All* software and firmware can be hacked.  The FCC 

I just can't read it that way.  Ain't nothin' that's not crackable if
you put enough effort into it.  I mean it's not even that expensive
to buy a raw HDTV encoder card that takes analog inputs, it's just
not in the consumer products region.

However, we are talking about cablecard, not the broadcast flag, so
I am not sure what the BF mandate has to do with this option.  When it
comes to the BF, since vast numbers of non-compliant cards are already
out there, one hardly needs strong security there since since the genie
has already escaped from the barn.

It's the cable and satellite companies who will be demanding more
security -- no that their own systems have been non-crackable.

> modchips.  If I had to guess, I'd say that they will include at least a 
> rudimentary Palladium-like capability to lock down the platform.  
> Anything short of that would be hacked pretty quickly.

Those among them who know any engineering know it will be hacked.
Until you have palladium level circuitry built into the memory
controller and CPU interfaces.   And frankly, even then.  The
video stream has to flow over the memory bus unencypted at some point
or another.  A determined hacker could capture it.

Even worse in audio, where the USB speaker spec is popular.  Unless you
plan to refuse to play on all existing USB speakers, want to tell me
how you can stop me from getting at the digital audio streams with
all the TCPA in the world?

Palladium programs will be able to insist that your video driver is
one they trust, ditto your audio driver but you can only go so far.

DRM systems don't prevent data from getting out.  They do two things:

    a) They stop ordinary users from conveniently copying the data,
    and slow advanced users down.

    b) They allow creation of industry cartels for media related
    hardware and software, so that nobody can come in with competing
    tools without joining the cartel first.

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