Feeds

Ofcom balks at Beeb's HD DRM dream

More consideration needed, but there ain't long

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.