Feeds

Ofcom balks at Beeb's HD DRM dream

More consideration needed, but there ain't long

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.