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A broadcast flag is a set of status bits (or a "flag") sent in the data stream of a digital television program that indicates whether or not the data stream can be recorded, or if there are any restrictions on recorded content. Possible restrictions include the inability to save an unencrypted digital program to a hard disk or other non-volatile storage, inability to make secondary copies of recorded content (in order to share or archive), forceful reduction of quality when recording (such as reducing high-definition video to the resolution of standard TVs), and inability to skip over commercials.
In the United States, new television receivers using the ATSC standard were supposed to incorporate this functionality by July 1, 2005.[ citation needed ] The requirement was successfully contested in 2005 and rescinded in 2011.
Officially called "Digital Broadcast Television Redistribution Control," the FCC's rule is in 47 CFR 73.9002(b) and the following sections, stating in part: "No party shall sell or distribute in interstate commerce a Covered Demodulator Product that does not comply with the Demodulator Compliance Requirements and Demodulator Robustness Requirements." According to the rule, hardware must "actively thwart" piracy.
The rule's Demodulator Compliance Requirements insists that all HDTV demodulators must "listen" for the flag (or assume it to be present in all signals). Flagged content must be output only to "protected outputs" (such as DVI and HDMI ports with HDCP encryption), or in degraded form through analog outputs or digital outputs with visual resolution of 720x480 pixels (EDTV) or less. Flagged content may be recorded only by "authorized" methods, which may include tethering of recordings to a single device.
Since broadcast flags could be activated at any time, a viewer who often records a program might suddenly find that it is no longer possible to save their favorite show. This and other reasons lead many[ who? ] to see the flags as a direct affront to consumer rights.
the Demodulator Robustness Requirements are difficult to implement in open source systems. Devices must be "robust" against user access or modifications so that someone could not easily alter it to ignore the broadcast flags that permit access to the full digital stream. Since open-source device drivers are by design user-modifiable, a PC TV tuner card with open-source drivers would not be "robust".
The GNU Radio project already successfully demonstrated that purely software-based demodulators can exist and the hardware rule is not fully enforceable.
In American Library Association v. FCC, 406 F.3d 689 (D.C. Cir. 2005),the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC had exceeded its authority in creating this rule. The court stated that the Commission could not prohibit the manufacture of computer or video hardware without copy-protection technology because the FCC only has authority to regulate transmissions, not devices that receive communications. While it is always possible that the Supreme Court could overturn this ruling, the more likely reemergence of the broadcast flag is in legislation of the United States Congress granting such authority to the FCC.
On May 1, 2006, Sen. Ted Stevens inserted a version of the Broadcast Flag into the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006.On June 22, 2006 Sen. John E. Sununu offered an amendment to strike the broadcast and radio flag, but this failed and the broadcast-flag amendment was approved by the Commerce committee. Nonetheless, the overall bill was never passed, and thus died upon adjournment of the 109th Congress in December 2006.
On May 18, 2008, News.com reported that Microsoft had confirmed that current versions of Windows Media Center shipping with the Windows family of operating systems adhered to the use of the broadcast flag, following reports of users being blocked from taping specific airings of NBC programs, mainly American Gladiators and Medium . A Microsoft spokesperson said that Windows Media Center adheres to the "rules set forth by the FCC."
On August 22, 2011, the FCC officially eliminated the broadcast flag regulations.
With the coming of digital radio, the recording industry is attempting to change the ground rules for copyright of songs played on radio. Currently, over the air (i.e. broadcast but not Internet) radio stations may play songs freely but RIAA wants Congress to insert a radio broadcast flag. On April 26, 2006, Congress held a hearing over the radio broadcast flag. Among the witnesses were musicians Anita Baker and Todd Rundgren.
At present no equivalent signal is typically used in European DVB transmissions, although DVB-CPCM would provide such a set of signal as defined by DVB-SI, usable on clear-to-air television broadcasts. How adherence to such a system would be enforced in a receiver is not yet clear.
In the UK, the BBC introduced content protection restrictions in 2010 on Free to Air content by licensing data necessary to receive the service information for the Freeview HD broadcasts.[ citation needed ] However the BBC have stated the highest protection applied will be to allow only one copy to be made.[ citation needed ]
ISDB broadcasts are protected as to allow the broadcast to be digitally recorded once, but to not allow digital copies of the recording to be made. Analog recordings can be copied freely. It is possible to disallow the use of analog outputs, although this has yet to be implemented. The protection can be circumvented with the correct hardware and software.
The Digital Video Broadcasting organization is developing DVB-CPCM which allows broadcasters (especially PayTV broadcaster) far more control over the use of content on (and beyond) home networks.[ citation needed ] The DVB standards are commonly used in Europe and around the world (for satellite, terrestrial, and cable distribution), but are also employed in the United States by Dish Network.[ citation needed ] In Europe, some entertainment companies were lobbying to legally mandate the use of DVB-CPCM.[ citation needed ] Opponents[ who? ] fear that mandating DVB-CPCM will kill independent receiver manufacturers that use open source operating systems (e.g., Linux-based set-top boxes.)
In the US, since April 15, 2008, pay-per-view movies on cable and satellite television now are flagged to prevent a recording off a pay-per-view channel to a digital video recorders or other related devices from being retained after 24 hours from the ordered time of the film. This is the standard film industry practice, including for digital rentals from the iTunes Store and Google Play. Movies recorded before that point would still be available without flagging and could be copied freely, though as of 2015 those pre-2008 DVR units are well out-of-date or probably non-functional, and the pay-per-view concern is moot for all but special events, as nearly all satellite providers and cable providers have moved to more easily restricted video on demand platforms; pay-per-view films have been drawn down to non-notable content.[ citation needed ]
A set-top box (STB), also colloquially known as a cable box, is an information appliance device that generally contains a TV-tuner input and displays output to a television set and an external source of signal, turning the source signal into content in a form that can then be displayed on the television screen or other display device. They are used in cable television, satellite television, and over-the-air television systems as well as other uses. A computer that connects to your television allows you to use a telephone line or cable connection for you to browse the Internet and exchange electronic mail on your television.
Freeview is the United Kingdom's digital terrestrial television platform. It is operated by DTV Services Ltd, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and transmitter operator Arqiva. It was launched in 2002, taking over the licence from ITV Digital which collapsed that year. The service provides consumer access via an aerial to the seven DTT multiplexes covering the United Kingdom. As of July 2020, it had some 85 TV channels, 26 digital radio channels, 10 HD channels, six text services, 11 streamed channels, and one interactive channel.
8VSB is the modulation method used for broadcast in the ATSC digital television standard. ATSC and 8VSB modulation is used primarily in North America; in contrast, the DVB-T standard uses COFDM.
Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) is a set of international open standards for digital television. DVB standards are maintained by the DVB Project, an international industry consortium, and are published by a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
The Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting is a Japanese standard for digital television (DTV) and digital radio used by the country's radio and television networks. ISDB supersedes both the NTSC-J analog television system and the previously used MUSE Hi-vision analog HDTV system in Japan as well as the NTSC, PAL-M, and PAL-N broadcast standards in South America and the Philippines. Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) services using ISDB-T started in Japan in December 2003 and Brazil in December 2007 as a trial. Since then, many countries have adopted ISDB over other digital broadcasting standards.
Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards are an American set of standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable and satellite networks. It is largely a replacement for the analog NTSC standard and, like that standard, is used mostly in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea. Several former NTSC users, in particular Japan, have not used ATSC during their digital television transition, because they adopted their own system called ISDB.
A digital video recorder (DVR) is an electronic device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card, SSD or other local or networked mass storage device. The term includes set-top boxes with direct to disk recording, portable media players and TV gateways with recording capability, and digital camcorders. Personal computers are often connected to video capture devices and used as DVRs; in such cases the application software used to record video is an integral part of the DVR. Many DVRs are classified as consumer electronic devices; such devices may alternatively be referred to as personal video recorders (PVRs), particularly in Canada. Similar small devices with built-in displays and SSD support may be used for professional film or video production, as these recorders often do not have the limitations that built-in recorders in cameras have, offering wider codec support, the removal of recording time limitations and higher bitrates.
In the DVB Project's Content Protection and Copy Management (CPCM) scheme, an Authorized Domain is a set of CPCM-compliant devices that "are owned, rented or otherwise controlled by members of a single household", according to the DVB Project. Industry observers saw Authorized Domain as having the potential either to loosen or to tighten restrictions on the use of copyrighted works. Detractors felt it might raise the price of content consumption for end-users and damage their ability to duplicate copies of works. Supporters of Authorized Domain, on the other hand, said it is neutral to such concerns, because it doesn't favor one content distribution business model over another.
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a form of digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. Types of connections include DisplayPort (DP), Digital Visual Interface (DVI), and High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), as well as less popular or now deprecated protocols like Gigabit Video Interface (GVIF) and Unified Display Interface (UDI).
MythTV is a free and open-source home entertainment application with a simplified "10-foot user interface" design for the living room TV. It turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or home theater personal computer. It can be considered a free and open-source alternative to TiVo or Windows Media Center. It runs on various operating systems, primarily Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD.
A tuner is a subsystem that receives radio frequency (RF) transmissions and converts the selected carrier frequency and its associated bandwidth into a fixed frequency that is suitable for further processing, usually because a lower frequency is used on the output. Broadcast FM/AM transmissions usually feed this intermediate frequency (IF) directly into a demodulator that converts the radio signal into audio-frequency signals that can be fed into an amplifier to drive a loudspeaker.
CableCARD is a special-use PC Card device that allows consumers in the United States to view and record digital cable television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers and television sets on equipment such as a set-top box not provided by a cable television company. The card is usually provided by the local cable operator, typically for a nominal monthly fee.
Copy Generation Management System – Analog (CGMS-A) is a copy protection mechanism for analog television signals. It consists of a waveform inserted into the non-picture Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) of an analogue video signal. If a compatible recording device detects this waveform, it may block or restrict recording of the video content.
An ATSCtuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner, is a type of television tuner that allows reception of digital television (DTV) television channels that use ATSC standards, as transmitted by television stations in North America, parts of Central America, and South Korea. Such tuners are usually integrated into a television set, VCR, digital video recorder (DVR), or set-top box which provides audio/video output connectors of various types.
The Broadcast Protection Discussion Group (BPDG) is a working group of content providers, television broadcasters, consumer electronics manufacturers, information technology companies, interested individuals and consumer activists. The group was formed specifically for the purpose of evaluating the suitability of the broadcast flag for preventing unauthorized redistribution and to determine whether there was substantial support for the broadcast flag. The group completed its mission with the release of the BPDG Report.
DVB Content Protection & Copy Management often abbreviated to DVB-CPCM or CPCM is a digital rights management standard being developed by the DVB Project. Its main application is interoperable rights management of European digital television, though other countries may also adopt the standard.
The Protected Media Path is a set of technologies creating a "Protected Environment," first included in Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, that is used to enforce digital rights management protections on content. Its subsets are Protected Video Path (PVP) and Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA). Any application that uses Protected Media Path in Windows uses Media Foundation.
High-definition television (HD) describes a television system providing an image resolution of substantially higher resolution than the previous generation of technologies. The term has been used since 1936, but in modern times refers to the generation following standard-definition television (SDTV), often abbreviated to HDTV or HD-TV. It is the current de facto standard video format used in most broadcasts: terrestrial broadcast television, cable television, satellite television, and Blu-ray Discs.
The analog hole is a perceived fundamental and inevitable vulnerability in copy protection schemes for noninteractive works in digital formats which can be exploited to duplicate copy-protected works that are ultimately reproduced using analog means. Once digital information is converted to a human-perceptible (analog) form, it is a relatively simple matter to digitally recapture that analog reproduction in an unrestricted form, thereby fundamentally circumventing any and all restrictions placed on copyrighted digitally distributed work. Media publishers who use digital rights management (DRM), to restrict how a work can be used, perceive the necessity to make it visible or audible as a "hole" in the control that DRM otherwise affords them.
Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control technologies for restricting the use of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works. DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.