Hollywood Seeks Control Over HD Content

WASHINGTON Hollywood lobbyists are pushing the FCC to allow selectable output control, allowing studios to avert recording of hi-def content, reports indicate. The Motion Pictures Association of America met with FCC staff recently, seeking a waiver on the ban against selectable outputs established nearly six years ago.

The rule prohibits disabling a video stream to a consumer HD digital video recording device. Hollywood wants it disabled so it can release HD movies on cable before DVD, without the danger of having those movies recorded in HD and redistributed.

The MPAA made the same request more than a year ago, the reports indicate. Allowing selectable output capability could impede some home theater systems, Ars Technicareports.

The selectable output ban was part of the FCC’s plug-and-play order, which directed cable operators eventually to separate encryption from set-top boxes so the devices could be sold at retail. The FCC recently granted a waiver on encrypted set-tops so cable operators could deploy cheap boxes for subscribers using analog TVs.

Matthew Lasar has more on the issue at Ars Technica.