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Hollywood's Selectable Output Control: Has It Gone From FUD To Dud?

Postby sunnyd » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:36 pm

Story : http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/04/hollywoods-selectable-output-con

One year and eleven months ago, the Federal Communications Commission made a decision that Hollywood hailed as a huge breakthrough and reform groups called a setback for consumer rights. The FCC gave the studios and cooperating pay television companies permission to shut down the analog streams to HDTV home theaters. The technical term for this is "selectable output control" - until May of 2010 forbidden by the Commission; now available via waivers.

"This action is an important victory for consumers who will now have far greater access to see recent high definition movies in their homes," declared Bob Pisano, then President of the Motion Picture Association of America, shortly after the ruling. "And it is a major step forward in the development of new business models by the motion picture industry to respond to growing consumer demand."

MPAA lobbied for selectable output control for two years. The studios contended that they wanted to offer their movies to the pay-TV subscribing public on a pre-DVD release basis, but only if they could do so exclusively on the encryptable digital connection to HDTV home theaters, not the less secure analog connection.

"The Petitioners' theatrical movies are too valuable in this early distribution window to risk their exposure to unauthorized copying, redistribution or other unauthorized activities," MPAA's original petition noted. "Distribution over insecure outputs would facilitate the illegal copying and redistribution of this high value content, causing untold damage to the DVD and other 'downstream' markets." Millions of lower income families would be served by being able to view early release movies in their comfort of their homes, the argument went.



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