FCC Will Let MPAA Disable Your Analog Outputs (Sort of)
In a classic “split the baby” decision, the FCC will allow “multichannel video programming distributors” [MPVD’s] (aka your cable or satellite company) to disable the analog outputs of your cable/satellite box when you watch first-run movies before they are released on DVD. The process makes use of a set-top box feature called “Selectable Output Control” (SOC) whereby your “MPVD” can turn off the analog outputs of your box to prevent you from making “illegal” copies of the program.
For example, “IFC in Theaters” sometimes releases a movie in theatrical distribution and on “on-demand” at the same time. They would be able to protect the on-demand showing of the movie for 90 days. (The issues are actually more complicated if you have an older TV with analog-only inputs: you might not be able to watch these new movies at all. The FCC does not see that as a problem, as they assumed that you have never been able to watch first run movies before, so you won’t miss not getting them.)
On engadget.com “RandomGuy” commented: “The FCC did the right thing by essentially calling their [the MPAA’s] bluff and saying, sure go ahead and prevent analog, but only on titles that haven’t hit physical media, and only for 90 days. Meaning that the studios cannot easily use this on the content they really wanted to [all movies], while still allowing them to use it on the early pay-per-view that they requested.”
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