[mythtv-users] Preparing for HDTV in 2005
Michael T. Dean
mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Tue Aug 17 19:07:41 EDT 2004
Brandon Beattie wrote:
>I'm not sure the status on the following, but I know the MPAA was trying
>to get a mandate passed that required all HD equipment to auto-check for
>connections to blacklisted equipment and if connected to one it is to
>shut down output. This is unfair, but the MPAA can buy that monopoly.
They basically have it. First some background, then the reason they
have it. (Oh, and the obligatory, IANAL, but as I understand it...)
Because it's so difficult for the government to make changes to
regulations, the FCC included an addendum to the broadcast flag regs
with a table (Table A) of authorized technological protection measures.
In theory, they will be able to make changes to Table A much more easily
than changing the regulations themselves.
Currently, there exist four technologies that are expected to be
included in Table A when the broadcast flag ruling goes into effect on
July 1, 2005. These technologies include DTCP (Digital Transmission
Content Protection) for secure transmission of compressed content over
electrical connections (i.e. between components or even computers); HDCP
(High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) for secure transmission of
uncompressed protected content over an electrical
connection used for displays (i.e. DVI-D); CPRM (Copy Protection for
Recordable Media) for secure storage of compressed content (i.e. writing
an authorized copy of a program onto a hard drive or DVD); and D-VHS for
secure storage of uncompressed protected content (i.e.
writing an authorized copy of a program onto a hard drive or tape).
These four technologies are often called "the 5C technologies" after the
5 corporations that created them, Hitachi, Intel, Matsushita, Sony, and
Toshiba (note, there's a lot of non-Hollywood in the 5C). The DTLA
(Digital Transmission Licensing Adminstrator - http://www.dtcp.com/ ) is
responsible for licensing the technologies and ensuring appropriate
usage (basically, making sure that companies do not add back-doors or
other security holes/weaknesses to the system).
So, what does all this mean? Well, the 5C technologies only perceive a
system to be secure if every component of that system is 5C-compliant.
If a system is perceived to be insecure, the 5C-compliant devices on
that system must down-sample the digital content to no greater than 480p
Since revocation of a technological measure from Table A requires
proving it to be less effective at protecting content than other Table A
technologies, it can be assumed that technologies that are less
effective at protecting content than the initial Table A
technologies--the 5C technologies--will not be added to Table A.
Therefore, all Table A technologies--on July 1, 2005 and beyond--will
almost definitely perceive any system containing components that are not
Table-A-compliant as insecure and down-res the content.
When you couple this idea of down-res if insecure (i.e. not
Table-A-compliant) with the ability to revoke technological measures
from Table A, it makes it impossible for devices you legally purchase
that use measures that are later revoked to be grandfathered in--you'll
have to either never buy new components or buy all new components every
time a measure is revoked. (Which is a good thing and a bad thing--it
means it's very unlikely for manufacturers to do away with analog
connections.) See my post at
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/78371#78371 for more
Therefore, we'll have to take our content--which is broadcast in a lossy
digital format--and decode it to analog, then re-encode it in a lossy
digital format (that has problems with compression of encoding artifacts
introduced in the first encoding process). However, like you said, come
July 1, 2005 (or, possibly shortly before), I expect to see the MPAA
doing their "A/D converters are copyright-infringement devices" dance again.
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