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Television Your Rights Online

UK's Freeview HD To Go DRM 169

Posted by kdawson
from the for-some-values-of-free dept.
gbjbaanb writes "The BBC has been granted provisional approval to introduce copy protection for Freeview HD after they resubmitted an amended plan. Quoting from Ofcom's statement: 'In view of the fuller submission provided by the BBC, Ofcom is currently minded to approve its request for a multiplex license amendment subject to consultation responses, on the basis that in principle, content management is a justified objective which ensures that the broadest range of HD content is made available to citizens and consumers.' However, it's not too late yet — you can submit your comment and tell them you'd like to be able to record broadcast HD TV. I'm sure the 'content providers' will continue to sell content to the BBC, ITV, etc., if this is not implemented. They'll still take our license fee money (or advertising) and sell us the content, but refuse to let us record or copy it, hoping we'll go out and buy the DVD/Blu-ray as well."
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UK's Freeview HD To Go DRM

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  • by MacWiz (665750) <gzieman54@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:24AM (#30877112) Journal

    This ought to work: http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedback/ [bbc.co.uk]

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:54AM (#30877210)
    Why would we want to install a catholic ruler?

    Guy Fawkes was not an anarchist and he did not reflect the people's views. He was not an anarchist, he was a religious nut who couldn't accept a protestant king and wanted one that met his religious views.

    After the attempt on his parliament, Charles II's popularity shot through the roof and the 5th of November celebrates that he was caught. You don't burn effigies of people you are celebrating.

    Sorry to rant but it pisses me off that people with no knowledge of history now think Guy Fawkes was an anarchist because of a movie and a graphic novel.
  • Re:Here we go again! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:57AM (#30877218)

    Sky is a subscription-based service. They can afford to provide their own receiving hardware to all their subscribers, they are able to keep this hardware updated, and they are able to replace the hardware when they need to. In addition, they have no requirement to have their service work with any hardware other than what they provide.

    None of that applies to the BBC.

  • by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @06:04AM (#30877252) Homepage

    That will just go in the Recycle Bin. The correct place to complain is here
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/content_mngt/howtorespond/ [ofcom.org.uk]

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @06:05AM (#30877256)

    Freesat != Freeview

  • RTFATWL (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @06:11AM (#30877270) Homepage

    If you Read The Fine Article That Wasn't Linked [ofcom.org.uk] on the Ofcom website you'll find interesting tidbits such as:

    1.4 The BBC's proposed content management approach would require Ofcom to grant an amendment to its multiplex licence, subject to Ofcom's approval of specific proposals, to allow the BBC to restrict the availability of programme listing information for HDTV services only to receivers that implement content management technology.

    1.9 The content management technology required to be implemented in receivers under the BBC's proposals would permit unrestricted recordings of HD content onto digital video recorders (DVRs) but would enable broadcasters to control the copying of this content onto other devices and its distribution over the internet. The HD content would only be accessible on other consumer devices which support the same content management technologies as those used in HD receivers.

    In essence, if you use a receiver without support for this DRM tech, the only thing you're going to lose access to is the Programme Listing data - it's the BBC's way of placating the drooling media execs with as little direct impact on consumers as possible. Now that's not to say that someone in the government won't make it impossible to buy receivers that don't support this in the UK, but that's what China is for.

    Full PDF is here [ofcom.org.uk]

  • Re:I don't think so (Score:5, Informative)

    by growse (928427) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @06:45AM (#30877400) Homepage
    Actually, you have to pay it if you watch live terrestrial broadcasts. Owning a TV with the capability is irrelevant.

    If you watch BBC1 live on iPlayer, you need a license.

    If you plug your PS3 into your TV and only use your TV for that, you don't need a license.

    From http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/ [tvlicensing.co.uk] :

    If you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you're using.

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @07:32AM (#30877550)

    You said "It's already DRMd". Except "it" isn't. Freeview at the moment isn't DRMd. If you meant to say "The BBC already uses DRM, e.g. FreeSat, which is a similar service to FreeView, so I'm not surprised." then you should have said that. Instead, you talked about the two as if they were the same thing, which is why I said "Freesat != Freeview".

    I don't think the DRM matters one way or the other. It will be broken, probably quite easily, and then the issue will go away again.

  • by symes (835608) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @07:33AM (#30877556) Journal

    If you've ever complained to the BBC, I think you'll find that complaining to them is like writing a complaint and sending it to /dev/null. They don't listen, they don't care, they are completely unaccountable, due to the unique way they are funded - by a compulsory tax.

    BS - I have and they were very responsive. A delight, compared to most other organisations I've had cause to tussle with. In fact, if anything, I was a little concerned that too much license fee money was going on customer service. I am very pelased to pay the "compulsry tax" as you put it. It makes the BBC one of the last places on earth that is ad free. And having kids who like CBBC that is very important to us - easily worth the license fee keeping the latest guns, junk food and general crap away from them.

  • by takowl (905807) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:23AM (#30877732)

    Even if you only use your widescreen TV to watch Mapouka [youtube.com] on youtube, and its not connected to an aerial, you still have to pay for a licence.

    Not true. You need a license only if you are watching or recording live broadcasts. If you're not, you don't need one, even if you do have the equipment [tvlicensing.co.uk]. Of course, they may suspect that you're lying, but if it isn't connected to an aerial, and it is connected to something else, you should be able to convince them.

  • by RDW (41497) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:50AM (#30877852)

    Before replying, bear in mind that you're writing to Ofcom (an independent regulator), not the BBC itself, and first check out the full proposal at:

    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/content_mngt/condoc.pdf [ofcom.org.uk]

    The devil, of course, is in the details (which the Ofcom summary glosses over). The BBC is proposing an 'amendment' to 'Condition 6' of the current Multiplex B licence (which Ofcom has to approve). This might more accurately be described as a complete reversal of that Condition. EPG data will no longer be freely available, but encrypted. The decryption keys ('Huffman code look-up tables') will only be provided under a licence that mandates that the HD box manufacturer implements DRM, to be applied to any content that the broadcaster flags as 'protected'. It looks like the the BBC intends to require a level of DRM for most of its HD programming ('The BBC indicates in its proposal that it intends to apply the multiple copy state to the majority of its HD content.'). The even more restrictive 'managed copy' flag will be used when required; an 'unrestricted copy' flag is also available, but it doesn't look like it will get much use.

    The issue of Open Source implementations is also dealt with in a deeply misleading way:

    'The licensing terms for Open Source software typically require that this software is made freely available to others to use, which may be incompatible with and the licensing terms of the BBC's Huffman Code look-up tables. This issue appears to have been addressed by HD Freesat receivers that use Linux Open Source software and implement similar content management technologies'

    This only 'appears to have been addressed' if you don't actually understand the issues. An HD box may well be running a Linux kernel, with proprietary software on top of it, just as MacOS runs on a FOSS XNU kernel. What the current proposal would block is any fully Free/Open Source implementation of a Freeview HD system.

  • Re:RTFATWL (Score:3, Informative)

    by RDW (41497) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @09:12AM (#30877942)

    'In essence, if you use a receiver without support for this DRM tech, the only thing you're going to lose access to is the Programme Listing data - it's the BBC's way of placating the drooling media execs with as little direct impact on consumers as possible.'

    An built-in EPG is pretty fundamental to the way we use DTV boxes today. Any manufacturer that chose not to sign up the DRM would have to provide its own (which would need a net connection).

    'Now that's not to say that someone in the government won't make it impossible to buy receivers that don't support this in the UK, but that's what China is for.'

    I don't think this we'll be seeing rogue Chinese Freeview HD boxes any time soon. The DVB-T2 system is not widely used elsewhere, and the chipsets are expensive.

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrXym (126579) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:49AM (#30878638)
    On my Humax, the SD content is just saved as a program stream on the disk, but the HD content is encrypted. It means I can copy / backup content from the STB but I cant do anything with it on other devices or a PC. I recorded Children of Men from ITV HD a few nights ago and that won't even let me copy the content even in encrypted form, the STB shows a little "no copy" icon next to it in the file manager. There must be several kinds of copy protection flags the boxes are honouring.
  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:1, Informative)

    by AndyS (655) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:17PM (#30880210)

    I think it's bad public policy to have DRM affecting HD content, but this is more like DVD encryption than say, Blu-ray.

    Ie, it has very little effect on technical people at all.

    To be honest, I wonder what the point is - this isn't going to stop it being distributed over the Internet - the only reasonable argument is that it stops people from being unable to move HD signals from their generic boxes to other generic boxes - thus trying to up the sales of blu-ray.

    I think this could be a long term boon to be honest - very few freeview boxes realistically allow you to pull content off them (at least with any ease) at the moment, and most people other than videophiles don't really care that much about HD content versus SD content.

    Given that you can make SD copies of things on these boxes it might actually be a net gain.

    Also if freesat is an example of it in use, then it shouldn't impact mythtv users at all.

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:09PM (#30881534)

    I have a Freesat HD PVR. HD content is encrypted to the box

    This is not true. The transmission is not encrypted or DRM'd. Take any recent PC, install a DVD-S card and watch the Beeb to your hearts content.

    Also, Freesat is simply a pretty EPG for channels that have been broadcast free, unencrypted and sans DRM for years. If your PVR is adding DRM it's not the fault of Freesat.

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @07:27PM (#30884058)

    I think it is likely to be part of the conditions to get the "Freesat" trademark to include this.

    A manufacturer has the choice of either not being "Freesat", the approved and promoted platform by BBC with support for iPlayer coming very soon and other benefits. Or include DRM.

    Adding DRM is the fault of Freesat although perhaps there is some blame to be shared by manufacturers who alter their products to comply.

  • Re:It's already DRMd (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:35PM (#30892788)

    On my Humax, the SD content is just saved as a program stream on the disk, but the HD content is encrypted. It means I can copy / backup content from the STB but I cant do anything with it on other devices or a PC. I recorded Children of Men from ITV HD a few nights ago and that won't even let me copy the content even in encrypted form, the STB shows a little "no copy" icon next to it in the file manager. There must be several kinds of copy protection flags the boxes are honouring.

    See, that's the kind of treatment paying customers get.

    Fuck 'em:
    http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/4930630/Children.Of.Men.2006.720p.BluRay.x264-CHD.4930630.TPB.torrent [thepiratebay.org]
    Or a 1080p:
    http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/3979385/Children.Of.Men.2006.1080p.HDDVD.x264-DEFiNiTE.3979385.TPB.torrent [thepiratebay.org]

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