DRM for Digital Cable and Satellite

Who killed TiVoToGo?

It's the latest digital media murder mystery: TiVo Series2's TiVoToGo enabled limited portability of recorded content to PCs and other devices, but the TiVo Series3 HD did not include this feature when recently released. In other words, if you want to upgrade to HD, you have to downgrade your TiVo's features.

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to guess that this story somehow involves Hollywood, the FCC, and DRM. In the brave new world of cable and satellite television received through digital inputs, get ready for copying restrictions that won't stop "Internet piracy" but will stop you from making legitimate use of lawfully acquired content. You'll be forced to only buy devices with limited features, and restricted digital outputs could break compatibility with your current HD displays and receivers, even though you may have already invested thousands of dollars in them. Innovators will have to beg permission before inventing new digital devices that help you get more from your satellite and cable content.

Unfortunately, TiVoToGo's disappearance is just the tip of the iceberg. EFF has opposed these restrictions every step of the way -- learn more below, and take action now to fight back against digital cable and satellite DRM.

White Paper on Cable and Satellite DRM: Who Killed TiVoToGo?

CableCARD's Successor

A successor to CableCARD is on the way, and CableLabs has drafted a proposed spec that would further limit competition and innovation in digital cable devices.

CableCARD and the "Integration Ban"

Cable companies have been dragging their feet on CableCARD, the credit-card size gadget meant to help create set-top alternatives. The CableCARD standard prescribes awful restrictions, but if the cable companies succeed in killing it off, their set-top boxes won't face competition, and the DRM will get much worse.

The "Plug and Play" Proceeding: Cable and Satellite DRM at the FCC

Pre-Game: the FCC Invites Hollywood into Plug & Play

In 2000, the FCC sought comment on whether DRM should be part of the Plug & Play proceeding. EFF said no, but the FCC did it anyway, laying the ground work for the DRM scheme that was ultimately approved by the FCC in 2003.

The FCC's Plug & Play Ruling: FCC Approves Lockdown for Digital Cable and Satellite TV

EFF Plug & Play SFNPRM

Having approved the imposition of DRM into digital cable and satellite TV, the FCC issued a "Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" [PDF 2.1M] (SFNPRM) wrestling with just how bad the DRM can get. EFF urged the FCC to prohibit down-resolution, or down-rezzing, of component analog outputs for nonbroadcast programming carried on cable and satellite systems.

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