Feeds

Ofcom balks at Beeb's HD DRM dream

More consideration needed, but there ain't long

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Ofcom has told the BBC it will not allow the broadcaster to mandate DRM on HD, at least not yet, following overwhelming response to its two-week consultation.

The regulator has written to the BBC (pdf) explaining that before it will permit the Beeb's encoding of programme information, it wants to know more about the "anticipated benefits to citizens and consumers" as well as how the BBC intends to "address the potential disadvantages to citizens and consumers". But there's not a lot of time left before Freeview HD starts broadcasting at the end of the year.

The BBC reckons that HD transmissions need some form of DRM, not to protect the revenue of BBC Worldwide (the BBC's commercial arm which sells DVDs of BBC content around the world) but because "third party content owners are seeking to ensure that reception equipment will implement the content management arrangements".

Actually encrypting the content would be beyond the pale, so the BBC suggested that the program information stream be encoded, using proprietary tables which would only be licensed only to those manufacturers who agreed to implement the (optional) content management specified in the DTG D-Book (Freeview HD) specs. That would effectively make optional parts of the specification mandatory: no one's going to make a set-top box that can't view the BBC.

On 3 September Ofcom announced that it was minded to approve the BBC's suggestion (pdf), with an amendment to the BBC's licence explicitly permitting such things. Despite the fact that the regulator only allowed two weeks for the consultation, it was overwhelmed with feedback which has prompted today's letter to the BBC requesting greater justification.

But time is running out - box manufacturers need to have the specifications soon with HD broadcasts scheduled to start from the Winter Hill transmitter (Liverpool, Manchester, Chester etc) at the end of 2009. Debates about copy protection and licensing are only going to sow customer confusion and delay the entire industry to the benefit of no one except Sky. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?