Feeds

Ofcom balks at Beeb's HD DRM dream

More consideration needed, but there ain't long

Security for virtualized 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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.