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Philips Targets Wireless TV Retransmission At Home 367

Posted by timothy
from the make-sure-people-can't-use-it dept.
cadfael links to this EE Times story, excerpting: "Philips is attempting to start yet another industry initiative to tackle digital rights management, this time focusing on the wirelessly networked home. 'At stake here,' said Leon Husson, executive vice president of consumer businesses at Philips Semiconductors, 'is the "free-floating" copyrighted content that will soon be "redistributed" or "rebroadcast" to different TV sets throughout a home by consumers using wireless networking technologies like IEEE802.11.'"
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Philips Targets Wireless TV Retransmission At Home

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  • by NecroPuppy (222648) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:17PM (#2837138) Homepage
    After all, I could just run coax to all the TVs in a house. Is this somehow different because it's wireless???

    I mean, whenever I buy a special package, i.e., a pay-per-view, I can watch it on all the TVs in the house...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:18PM (#2837144)
    I didn't used to think that people would pay for cable on a per-tv basis. Then along came digital cable and satellite programming which required installation of a decoder for each tv (or at least each tv that didn't want to watch what everyone else was watching at that moment).

    This tech will make its way into the market and content providers will quickly glom onto the idea. Customers will upgrade or face having 4 broadcast channels.
  • by kilgore_47 (262118) <.kilgore_47. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:19PM (#2837148) Homepage Journal
    Just when we were starting to like them for that whole red-book thing...
  • ROI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:22PM (#2837170) Journal
    Here's something I'd like Hollywood and their friends to think about: at some point protecting one's IP becomes more expensive than stopping possible pirating. And while the cost will be passed on to consumers, that just makes entertainment devices that much more expensive, meaning fewer of them will be sold with a lower profit margin.
  • by iGawyn (164113) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:22PM (#2837173) Homepage Journal
    The problem with this digital rights management solution, just like all of the others, is that they cannot force people to upgrade. Although there is a certain segment of the populace that will desire to own the latest and greatest everything multimedia, and therefore trip himself into owning devices embedded with DRM, the average American won't want to spend the extra money to upgrade.

    Therefore, unless you give them a major incentive, the RIAA/MPAA is foiled again. No upgrades means that all of the time they spent plotting up yet another scheme to control what we can and can't watch is ruined by consumer apathy.

    If they really wanted people to upgrade, they would (a) develop a new, proprietary format, (b) stop release of all current and future products on CD/VHS/DVD, (c) release ONLY on aforementioned proprietary format. Eventually, enough people would switch to make it worth their while.

    Even with this, though, people will find a way around the Digital Rights Management schemes, as they also do.

    To use a famous quote, "Where there's a will, there's a way." And when it comes to copying CDs, VHS tapes, or DVDs, there is most certainly a will.

    Gawyn
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:23PM (#2837180)
    At what point will some create an analogy quick reference card for these people. This is so stupid I may have a stroke. How is this ANY different from sneaker netting a VHS tape? I know its technically a broadcast, but from a REALISTIC standpoint? Big deal, my neighbor just MIGHT be able to pick it up, or he could just ask to borrow a videotape.

    Apoplexy now!
  • by tommck (69750) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:23PM (#2837181) Homepage
    Does anyone else remember when AT&T (in the old monopoly days) used to charge people for each telephone in the house??

    This certainly seems analogous to me. How can they justify this. It is effectively telling me what I'm allowed to do inside my own house!

    That's crap.

    T

  • DRM == defect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `etartsnefd'> on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:28PM (#2837218)
    One existing specification, called Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP), defines a cryptographic protocol for safeguarding audio/video entertainment content against illegal copying, intercepting and tampering as it traverses high-performance digital buses, such as the IEEE1394 standard.

    Once again, we are shown that digital rights management hardware is by definition defective. They seem to think their only protection from profit stealing pirates (gasp! seeing stuff on another TV?) is to make broken equipment.

    I, for one, will be voting with my wallet. F*** phillips, and anyone who follows them. I thought the hardware guys where on the side of logic and fair use...

    Maybe I'll write to them and tell them that I won't buy crippled equipment from them that purposely interferes with radio transmissions- and I think the FCC would also take issue with this.
  • by uncle isaac (542895) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:30PM (#2837234)
    The responses from many members of our community to this sort of development is as predictable as it is passionate: "how can they dare to take away our rights to the content we pay for?" Well, the truth of the matter is a little bit more complicated. Let's take a look at what Phillips and the IP holders are trying to do here before we jump to any conclusions.

    Basically, the large media companies want control over their content because they want to "keep the honest people honest." Though this sounds very Big Brotherish in nature, keep in mind the fact that if 80%, 90%, or 100% of the population could make unlimited, perfect copies of digital media to share with their friends, it would likely put the entire industry out of business.

    The part of DRM that many people here miss is that it is always breakable. And we geeks are the ones who will always have access to the knowledge, technology, and software that allows us to circumvent these schemes. And you may be surprised to hear it, but the media companies really don't care whether or not a few of us slashdot geeks, living in our parents' basements, can copy a DVD or decrypt a wireless feed from our satellite system. They care about tools, like DeCSS, that could potentially be used by millions of Windows-using lusers to rip them off, and that is the only reason why they cared enough to sue 2600 into oblivion.

    So, this is yet another area in which we can enjoy our superiority to average non-geeks. While they "pay per play" on their new HDTV sets and are forced to pay for content, we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We've worked hard for this right, and there's nothing "they" can do to take it away from us. We deserve it.

    -Isaac

  • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:31PM (#2837246) Homepage Journal
    What's the difference between buying a DVD player and putting it in my living room, or streaming the content to a wireless receiver at my TV??

    That depends. Am I the company that won't get to sell you the additional DVD player, or am I the company that won't get to sell you the wireless receiver?

  • Wireless video (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peel (242881) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:32PM (#2837250)
    I, as have many others, have been doing this for years. Back in the day when most households only had one VCR, there was a little gizmo called the rabbit that allowed you to watch the VCR on multiple TV's. More recently I picked up a little device from SmartHome that allows me to send audio visual signals through walls using a 2.4 Ghz signal. VIOLA! Wireless rebroadcasting of recorded shows. I have been watching taped recordings of shows as well as dvds on more than one tv in my house for some time now, I guess because there is no computer involved it's all ok. 2.4Ghz is so 1990s. -peel

    Computers never mkae mestooks. - Atari 800
  • by CDWert (450988) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:37PM (#2837291) Homepage
    This is mostly a moot point, until a TV can be so integrted as not to need an external source in this is all moot. The industry will not for 100 years agree on a standard for that. The signal leaves whatever device you are playing from AND MUST be understood by your common average dumb TV set, NTSC, PAL what have you.

    NOW that said that is the weak link and an Ideal place to transmit from or encode to an alternative Digital Medium, I just got Mplayer encoding right, and guess what was horking all kinds of signals off line, my 300 gig box is just about ready to start filling up with TV shows, movies, races,etc. I want, as soon as I can get the damm remote working with this box.

    Because of the above set up I dug out an OLD (15 year plus TV transmitter, I had , you hook it up and Channel 3 gets vid audio. Im too lazy to wire the upstairs and may be moving soon, so my 32" tv in the bedroom gets REBROADCASTED signaal. They sell these things on ebay for 30 bucks, they work like a charm, you could make your own with 1/3 of that in parts, no IC , all coils trimmers and pots.

    My computer has a tuner card as well, and antenna and I can catch anything I want off my "TIVO KILLER" EITHER via the network, or antenna, I would LOVE to put a box in my trunk and pump over 802.1b so my kids can watch flciks on drives, upload a playlist the night before from my computer in the house to my car in the drive. (I do plan on doing this with my MP3's)

    Sooooooo.....
    As long as a TV can understand the signal there is NO possible way (at present) to keep that signal from being rebroadcasted. With TONS of MONEY being pouredinto this sort of DRM research its amazing our TV sets dont cost $3000 !
  • by og_sh0x (520297) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:38PM (#2837297) Homepage
    Back in the 80s it was perfectly legal to use the wireless Rabbit (remember those?) to transmit TV signals from the living room to the bedroom. This went for broadcast, rented movies, etc. Heck, you can even legally transmit on the FM 88-108 MHz band as long as it follows FCC Part 15 (no external antenna, and under a certain wattage... 100mw I think). Considering that these allowances were made for home-based Fair Use usage, I would consider this a clear-cut violation of Fair Use rights just like copy protected CDs. If you want to make *public* broadcast over 802.11 illegal... Well it already is. Just like it would have been illegal to use the Rabbit back in the 80s to re-transmit cable for the whole neighborhood.
  • by sam@caveman.org (13833) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:39PM (#2837305) Homepage
    Is this somehow different because it's wireless???

    well, with coax, more than likely there isn't enough stray radiation from the coax to allow your neighbor to access your cable (of course we are all doing this anyway with splitters, etc, but that is beside the point).

    with wireless, you are rebroadcasting your cable signal to your TV. the rebroadcast will probably be available to your neighbors, at least in apartment complexes.

    ah, finally, free cable, without having even to drill a hole from closet to closet for the coax.

    -sam
  • by Iguanaphobic (31670) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:39PM (#2837308)
    So, this is yet another area in which we can enjoy our superiority to average non-geeks. While they "pay per play" on their new HDTV sets and are forced to pay for content, we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We've worked hard for this right, and there's nothing "they" can do to take it away from us. We deserve it.

    Until they start to cripple the computer hardware that your tools run on. Encrypt the BIOS, only allow DRM enabled OS's to access hardware, legislate open and free alternatives away as "enabling" devices that cost producers their IP. Forget fair use, that is already history. Welcome to the future, where you either work for a corporation or you're part of the problem. Get used to it!
  • by schon (31600) on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:44PM (#2837332)
    it would likely put the entire industry out of business.

    You mean just like Libraries put the publishing industry out of business? (If millions of people can borrow books *for free*, why would they ever pay for them?)

    Or the radio station will put live performers out of business? (Why would *ANYONE* pay to see a live performance, when they can listen to it for free over the airwaves?)

    Or the home VCR put the movie industry out of business? (Why would anyone pay $5.00 at a movie theatre when they can watch it at home?)

    This argument has been used for decades, (every time a new technology comes out, IIRC) and so far it's proven false every time. Stop crying wolf, nobody's buying it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2002 @02:48PM (#2837366)
    This is all about HIGH DEFINITION content, not existing content like today's DVD's which are:

    - standard resolution
    - digital content delivered via analog signals (for all consumer level DVD players at least)

    Until you have an HD set and HD dish/cable/OTA, this won't affect you.

    All future HD devices will have Intel's HDCP (the HD version of DRM) embedded, complete with certificate revocation lists so that devices which are hacked can be retroactively disabled. Believe me, this won't be a trivial hack.

    Welcome to the brave new world.
  • by sphix42 (144155) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:01PM (#2837451) Homepage
    >>It is effectively telling me what I'm allowed to do inside my own house!

    This has been a battle cry for pro-recreational drug use for a long time, yet it's still illegal.

    On a more on-topic note....I think this may be an attempt to prevent copying of digital content...not viewing.

    Who cares if you pick up your dvd and take it into the bedroom? I think what they really care about is if you transmit a dvd movie/whatever strait to your computer.
  • by Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) <tastybeefjerky@yah o o . c om> on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:02PM (#2837456) Homepage
    Hmm, maybe it's the fact that if your friend sneaker-nets the tape, your neighbor can't have that tape at the same time. Sure, they can sit together and watch it in the same room, but Person A and Person B can't watch the same tape at the same time in their respective apartments. Under this scheme, they can.

    I believe your strawman is on fire. You may want to put him out.

  • by sphix42 (144155) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:07PM (#2837485) Homepage
    >>Content owners, for example, can start charging consumers every time their digital content is re-distributed within the home, or viewed several times during a certain number of days specified by them.

    Sounds a lot like DIVX' game plan to me. If that's what they are really going for, I expect it to fail just as quickly.
  • by Pussy Is Money (527357) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:09PM (#2837500) Homepage Journal
    The difference is digital, which means no generational loss between copies.
  • by alcmena (312085) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:21PM (#2837560)
    Even though DVDs are protected, every movie released on DVD is also released on VHS. Add to that the fact that not every movie available on VHS is available on DVD yet. The entertainment industry is not stupid. They know that a lot of voters will be very pissed if they suddenly stopped supporting VHS tomorrow. And pissed voters are much more likely to dislodge the MPAA's puppets.

    The same will be true about DVD. The MPAA cannot suddenly stop supporting DVD without a major backlash.
  • by smallpaul (65919) <paul@@@prescod...net> on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:38PM (#2837654)

    Sorry, I'm just not seeing how wireless piracy is a big problem

    It isn't that it is a problem. It's that Philips wants to develop digital broadcast technologies that will not piss Hollywood off. Hollywood's nightmare is that you could by a $50.00 device that sniffs the packets being sent from your wireless DVD or cable broadcast box to your wireless TV.

    Is this a problem yet? No, of course not. But then MP3 ripping wasn't a problem when CDs were invented either. Now Hollywood wants to figure out the DRM issues but it is too late. The installed base of CD players is too large. Unfortunately, the big companies are now in a mode where they will not release new technology until after they feel like they've got the DRM security issues worked out.

    If Philips doesn't move on this in advance of the demand then the initial market will be captured a tiny little company that doesn't care about DRM. Remember the first MP3 players?

    Am I in favour of DRM technology? Absolutely not. But what they are trying to do makes sense from their point of view. And doing it sooner rather than later makes even more sense.

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:41PM (#2837668)
    Every time "rights management" technology is discussed, it seems to include a rather large number of functionality issues. This particular article touches (briefly) on performance hits for the various schemes presented. As if theft of consumer fair use rights isn't enough.

    It seems that the only way consumers in the future will have freedom to use the content they have paid for (think of it as media functionality) is to turn to pirated works. And once they have put forward the effort and expense to track down a suitable pirated work, one has to wonder how often the consumer will feel like bothering to purchase the legitimate product for that added bit of moral highground.

    Content owners seem deturmined to shoot themselves in the foot. And its the various technology companies, and their sales/marketing team, that are assuring the industry of an oportunity ("them's feet are good eatin'") and selling the shotguns.

  • by Computer! (412422) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:55PM (#2837786) Homepage Journal
    Who is breaking the law here, the person lawfully using the content, in the privacy of his home, or the neighbor listening in on it?

    If you're asking me, neither. The current business model of creating content once, then minting currency by charging fees to view/broadcast/repurpose it ad infinitum is crap. Of course, anything else would require content providers to defend their IP with content worth paying for instead of lawyers.

  • by peccary (161168) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:08PM (#2837867)
    A student in a dorm room could broadcast a rented DVD to every other student in their building

    you mean, instead of showing it on the widescreen TV in the lounge, the way college students have been doing ever since the invention of the VCR.

    I'm just waiting for Hilary and friends to start raiding college dorms looking for DVD players in public spaces.
  • by nanojath (265940) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:47PM (#2838063) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, next thing people will want wireless phones, wireless networks for their computers, they'll be selling wireless doorbells in the damn Hardware stores! This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. There's plenty of FCC approved, consumer bandwidth in the electromagnaetic spectrum for use in very local sgnialling, which is why we can have things like cordless phones, airports, and remote control cars.


    And hah hah, it's all funny, except for this: The computer as digital operator allows us to take all the communications that flow through our homes and do really neat things with them... and these content bastards are going to just screw it all up wanting to sniff every signal I send and impose all sorts of cumbersome rights management bullshit on my gear? Fuck them. I'm sick of these pissant media mobesters content tail wagging the giant, potential filled dog of digital media and communications technology. I'll buy another Phillips product when hell freezes over.

  • by smallpaul (65919) <paul@@@prescod...net> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:49PM (#2838422)

    After all, I could just run coax to all the TVs in a house. Is this somehow different because it's wireless??? I mean, whenever I buy a special package, i.e., a pay-per-view, I can watch it on all the TVs in the house...

    This is about *digital* wireless. Perfect copies of movies and sound on the internet. The path from your coax to Morpheus is pretty circuitous and lossy. On the other hand, one could imagine a $100.00 "Morpheus box" that allows anyone on the Internet to listen in on any other Internet user's television shows and pay-per-views.

    Is the problem specific to wireless? No. The article says that there are already "solutions" for wire-based digital content. "One existing specification, called Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP), defines a cryptographic protocol for safeguarding audio/video entertainment content against illegal copying, intercepting and tampering as it traverses high-performance digital buses, such as the IEEE1394 standard." "Trying to apply the DTCP -- which requires high-speed encryption and decryption at every digital interface -- over a wireless network is not easy, said Husson."

    So the social "problem" they are solving is not unique to wireless. It is just that they believe that wireless requires a different solution for technical reasons.

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