HD Coming to a Computer Near You

July 13, 2005
Just as many U.S. and Canadian consumers may get their first real glimpse of flat-screen HD and digital VOD services in their hotel rooms in the next year or two (HD Notebook, June 30, 2005), home personal computers capable of record-and-playback of HD and SD television shows via terrestrial and DBS are coming soon from Fujitsu, with other companies to follow. The Japanese company currently is demonstrating its FMV-DeskPower TX90L/D and LX90L/D models.

In the United States, however, Hollywood and other content providers remain deeply troubled by security issues (in other words, pirating), and despite the technical possibilities, the legality of recording HD content will remain a contentious issue for some time. (Just ask Google Video Search, the new service that recently ceased providing TV content, some rather dated, to users because of quick and unhappy reaction from the studios.)

Encryption of HD content is mandatory when passing the imagery to a PC, according to published reports. The so-called B-CAS card required to descramble digital broadcast content with Fujitsu's new PCs is issued by the ironically named BS Conditional Access Systems Co. of Japan. The Fujitsu PCs are the first capable of HD record-and-play to win approval from Japanese broadcasters, according to the company, presumably with other content providers to follow.

Fujitsu provides the digital broadcast tuner board with the encryption circuit as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), along with the necessary software, for content protection. Noteworthy, perhaps, is the fact that video files stored on the Fujitsu PC's hard drive cannot be transferred or copied to DVD disks (neither standard nor next-generation HD formats). The record-and-play system was developed jointly with Pixela.

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