Broadcast Flag — The FCC’s Jolly Roger

Just getting up to speed on the recent broadcast flag ruling, and it’s as depressing as I had feared. Nutshell version: Devices capable of handling HDTV streams or signals must incorporate an FCC-approved encryption module by July 2005. In other words, government-mandated and controlled PC and television design.

“the order “totally eliminates the ability to send that (HDTV) data over a PCI bus to a Firewire port or to a digital VHS recorder–except in analog format.”

This means you can’t use something like a Hauppauge card to record a digital TV stream to your hard drive — that would be giving the consumer way too much flexibility in the way they work with media.

And if you don’t care about HDTV, remember that this is a slippery slope. The consumer’s ability to work with recorded media is now regulated by the government, and enforced by hardware vendors. HDTV first, anything the entertainment lobbies want regulated next.

The question is, what exactly will happen to media in the presence of the broadcast flag? As I understand it, you’ll still be able to record, but that recording will only be playable on the same device that did the recording. That means no taping Trigger-Happy TV and lending the tape to a friend. You get the picture.

Get your HDTV receiver or capture card now, before they’re gubmint-crippled.

bIPlog has more.

Music: Astralasia :: You Never Blow Your Trip Forever

6 Replies to “Broadcast Flag — The FCC’s Jolly Roger”

  1. It’s stuff like this which makes me wonder why I should continue watching TV in the first place.

    For example, for over a year now I’ve been living w/o cable or satellite despite a very limited and snowy antenna reception, and I still procrastinate changing this situation.

  2. Time Shifting.

    That’s what I find myself doing more of these days.

    What do I mean? I download episodes of series that are GOOD, such as Farscape, 24, DS9, Babylon 5, and so on, and watch them when I feel like it.

    Or, renting DVD’s, ripping them at my convenience to divx, also works.

    When are the media companies going to come out with a new model where it becomes affordable for everyone to do these very things, while still allowing the artists/creators to share in the profit? I doubt it will ever happen in my lifetime.

    So for now, I time shift, and liberate media to/from friends.

  3. And a recent loss:

    Emusic no longer allows unlimited downloads. The sex appeal of the service has been lost… no more unlimited downloads:

    http://www.emusic.com/messages/qanda.html

    I’ll take my dollars elsewhere to find new, legal, music.

    Eh, the bitrate was poor anyway…

    A friend at work has a friend who lobbies government over hdtv. The plan is to make all regular tvs incompatible with hdtv signals, so we’ll all need new tv sets to even watch tv. And with the government regulating that hdtv be a standard… industry gets away with their evil scheme under the umbrella of uncle sam.

  4. Anyone want to make book on how long it takes for the broadcast flag encryption to be cracked? One day these people will learn that annoying your market is *bad* and that annoyed hackers have more time than paid encryption people.

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