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Copy Protection Flags - HBO etc...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by TexasGrillChef, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Oct 2, 2008 #1 of 77

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    I have received a letter in the mail today in response to a complaint that I made to HBO in regards to the Copy Protection flag used on their HBO channels. (HD & SD).

    The long & short of it is this & is direct from HBO: (Summarized)


    HBO isn't putting any "Copy Protection" flags on the content they broadcast from their studios &/or production facilities.

    Copy protection flags on content being shown on any of the HBO channels is being put their solely by the Cable/Sat provider.

    Some cable/sat providers are doing this, there are few that aren't. Whether or not copy protection flags are being used by your cable/sat provider on HBO channels & it's content are determined soley by the contract that your cable/sat provider has with HBO.

    HBO now has a policy for all new contracts that will require cable/sat providers to use Copy Protection flags on all of their channels & for all of the content shown on HBO.

    Therefore as old contracts expire & new contracts are negotiated you will find a greater use of copy protection flags being used on HBO.


    As I have mentioned in another thread about "True Blood" how some episodes that I recorded had the copy protection flag and other episodes did not. This happening on 2 Tivo units (S3 & HD). The reason for this is "Glitches" &/or errrors in the transmission signal of the show.

    So there you have it folks.... If your HBO isn't copy protected currently feel lucky. It WON'T last long.

    I have also written ESPN networks, as well as Sci-Fi (which btw is owned & opperated by NBC/Universal).

    HDNET which is partially owned by our own Dallas Mark Cuban has said many times that his channels do not use copy protection from it's production facilities. The management at HDNET as well as Mark Cuban discourages use of Copy Protection, However in the contracts they DO give the right for the cable/sat providers to copy protect if they so wish.

    My educated guess is the following: That eventually all digital content except for the local digital feeds (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, PBS, etc...) will eventually all have copy protection flags.

    So if you don't have copy protection on your favorite cable/sat only networks. Feel lucky!

  2. Oct 2, 2008 #2 of 77

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
    1. That sucks as I currently record a ton off of HBO.
    2. What financial incentive would a cable/sat company have to flag it? To force viewers to PPV?
  3. Oct 2, 2008 #3 of 77

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    The same is true for quite a few other channels.

    By the time it becomes widespread for non-premium channels, hopefully TiVo will have a MRV solution in place that allows streaming without copying, which is permitted on copyrighted content.

    I don't know if you're familiar with p2p or torrents, but HBO and others are currently loosing millions of dollars per quarter as the result of Internet piracy on their original content. Every week, hundreds of thousands of people download these shows (illegally) off the Internet, presumably to avoid the cost of a HBO subscription.
  4. Oct 2, 2008 #4 of 77

    jcaudle Member

    Aug 16, 2004
    Fairfax, Va
    Cox Northern virginia here in Fairfax country puts these flags on all HBO content, but you can transfer Showtime Content to your heart's content. There are no flags on any Showtime content. Doesn't make any sense
  5. Oct 2, 2008 #5 of 77

    [NG]Owner Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Kansas City
    All the more reason for Tivo to stream between units instead of copy....

  6. Oct 2, 2008 #6 of 77

    jackholexxxx New Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    And copy protection flags will do nothing to stop piracy.

  7. Oct 3, 2008 #7 of 77

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Probably has something to do with the contracts & when they were last renewed/updated. Thus HBO was updated and Showtime hasn't. Also possible Showtime has a different policy as well.

  8. Oct 3, 2008 #8 of 77

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    Although corporations often make statements similar to this, it's total nonsense. They aren't losing a single penny. By this twisted logic, theya re also "losing" hundreds of millions of dollars to the millions of people who don't subscribe to HBO but also don't illegally download content, not to mention the millions of people who have Showtime, Cinemax, TMC, or Starz rather than HBO. I'm not defending piracy, but the notion vendors such as HBO, Showtime, the music industry, etc. are losing money due to piracy is just horse crap.

    I presume nothing of the sort. The vast majority do so because they want the content. That they prefer not to pay for it is incidental. While it is not completely unlikely that HBO's subscriptions would increase if pirated material were not available, significant fractions - perhaps even most - of those engaged in pirating would either do without or obtain the content from some other vendor if pirating were not an option. Without question, HBO's revenues would not increase by the amount they claim to be "losing" if piracy were not being accomplished.
  9. Oct 3, 2008 #9 of 77

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    HBO loses money when a customer cancels their subscription.

    When users can get the content online for free, they feel less need to pay for it. Why would you continue paying for something that you can get for free online [if piracy doesn't bother you]? I don't think there is any question that HBO loses money due to piracy, although I agree that the amount is difficult to quantify, and probably much less than studios claim.

    As a practical matter, I agree that copy protection has little value given the number of hacked boxes out in the market. At best, it would only reduce the number of offenders, potentially delaying the time before a particular program was available online.
  10. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    It is true... when someone cancels their HBO subscription, they have lost revenue.

    I have a subscription to HBO, yet sometimes still download "Bootleg" copies of certain shows.

    Why do I keep my subscription? Why do I download the bootleg copies still?

    I keep my subscription because downloads even in HD transfered back to the TiVo are just NOT the same quality (Audio & Video) that I get directly from the HBO source recorded on my TiVo HD/S3 unit. Many shows I wish to watch on my Plasma.

    Now why I do still download bootleg copies? Because HBO is copy protecting their content and I am UNABLE to transfer from my TiVo to a Video device of my choosing. Therefor I must obtain the bootleg copy. I have allready PAID my subscription fees, & should NOT have to pay any additional fee to be able to play the show on additional video devices that I own for my own personal non commercial use.

    MOST HBO movies & shows are released to DVD/Blu-ray either a short period after airing, or for series after the season ends. As we all know one can EASILY "RIP" the video from a DVD/Blu-ray to play on our personal video devices. SOME Blu-rays even COME with a "Digital Transfer Copy".

    While I agree that HBO loses some amount of possible revenue from pirating. They aren't losing near the amount they claim. HBO hasn't lost anything from someone downloading a show & watching it. Especially if that person will NEVER subscribe to HBO even if they WEREN"T able to watch that show.

    One other point... what difference is it between someone downloading that show & watching it... and me inviting them over & watching it? Hmmmm maybe they shouldn't allow subscribers to allow their guests to watch HBO because their guests haven't paid the subscription fees?

    Therefore... there isn't much difference between an individual downloading that show & watching it, & that person watching it on a freind or family who does have an HBO subscription. Either way he is watching the show & not paying for it.

  11. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    Guess again.

    I've been getting "no dub" flags on a storebought DVR that's hooked up to an antenna.

    Repeatedly stuff aired on NBC and The CW (picked up by ANTENNA) have been flagged so that while the hard drive will record it, I can't transfer it to DVD.

    I've heard of it happening on FOX network shows too.

    Royally annoying.
  12. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    The fact is though, your subscription to HBO doesn't legally entitle you to a 3rd party download for free. HBO considers that download a loss, regardless of if you subscribe to their channels.
  13. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    That would suggest that your DVR respects the now defunct broadcast flag. That's not an issue with the TiVoHD, which ignores that flag.
  14. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    HBO neither makes extra money cause someone watched a some specific show on HBO nor pays out money casue someone pirated a show. i agree with the posters who say sub rates would not go up at the same rate as piracy if it was stopped.

    Sadly I think the opposite is not true. I think if copies were easier to get for neighbors to pass around then both HBO and the after original airings DVD rentals numbers would decline by small but significant %.

    I think the solution is obvious to TiVo as per many examples of Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    Stream, baby, Stream
  15. slude

    slude New Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    Originally Posted by TexasGrillChef :
    "...My educated guess is the following: That eventually all digital content except for the local digital feeds (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, PBS, etc...) will eventually all have copy protection flags... "

    You're confusing cable re-transmissions of OTA signals with the actual OTA signals which your other thread explained why the actual OTA signals will not inevitably have copy protection flags:
    As best as I can see from reading 47CFR76, the only thing it has to say about cable operators adding copy protection flags to their re-broadcast of what was originally OTA signals is in 47CFR75.1904(b)(1)(ii) which prohibits them from using the copy-never copy protection flag or the copy-expires flag to such re-broadcasts (if I'm right in interpreting cable re-broadcasts of OTA programming as "free conditional access delivery mechanisms").

    Side note -- I find it interesting that the combination of 47CFR76.1904(b)(1)(ii) and 47CFR76.1904(b)(2) appear to prohibit cable systems from applying the copy-expires flag to HBO, Cinemax, etc. unless delivered via VOD or when a specific event is PPV which means recordings of normal HBO programming can't be given the flags that force TiVo to delete them a day or week later.
  16. NotVeryWitty

    NotVeryWitty Too Big to Fail

    Oct 3, 2003
    Central Mass.
    Tivo's silence on this issue is deafening. :(

    I'm hoping that they'll be able to upgrade the software in the S2's and S3's to support streaming, but I fear those boxes are too underpowered to do it reliably. I want to upgrade my S2DT to an HD model, but I won't do it until I hear some public commitment from Tivo that they're going to solve this problem with their current boxes.

    So, anyone from Tivo care to comment? TivoPony?
  17. BrianAZ

    BrianAZ Back on the wagon

    Aug 13, 2007
    Chandler, Az
    Multi-room viewing is a great concept but it's basically worthless if all you can use it with are your local channels. I don't understand why a case can't be made that sharing between Tivo's or CableCo DVRs on the same account and at the same location (surely can be verified by IP address?) is not allowed. Unfortunately it seems like it will be a few years yet before DRM is reworked to make these things possible.
  18. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    streaming really need mpeg4 or it gets out of hand
    The S3 line may well see streaming but I doubt the S2 line will ever see it unless it is from some 3rd party that is willing to stream mpeg 2 for TiVo DVRs to make some money.

    I think the mpeg 4 needed is the hold up. It would be hard to either take mpeg2 digital and convert it to write to drive as mpeg4 or else take mpeg 2 file and convert to mepg4 for streaming. I can not imagine the hiccups in trying to stream an mpeg2 HD file.
  19. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Streaming to Series 3 (S3 & THD) boxes is now unofficially there (since 9.4 release) via HME interface. The biggest problem is that the Tivo is still the bottleneck and it suffers from the TTG/TTCB transfer rate ceiling of around 10 Mbps no matter how good your network is. So with a 10 Mbps ceiling it makes good quality HD mpeg2 streaming pretty worthless as you have to wait quite a while for the buffer to build up long enough on the Tivo to be able to watch without interruption. A solution to that is to re-encode to mpeg4 container with H.264 video & AC3 audio which can be streamed to Series 3 boxes and cuts down the bitrate needed to achieve same quality, but the problem is re-encoding to H.264 is a very time-consuming process.
    I really wish Tivo could
    1. Improve the network performance for TTG/TTCB/HME streaming (at least make it so MRV type speeds can be achieved)
    2. Add streaming capability via HMO

    As it is now streaming of SD mpeg2 really works great though so that's at least a step in the right direction. Streaming of mpeg4 (HD & SD) works pretty well as well but the specific requirements of the mpeg4 container are very restrictive and there is not a lot of content ready to go in that format right now so it makes you have to work hard to encode to that format.
  20. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Of course it isn't legal, technically. They shouldn't still consider it a loss though. They haven't lost anything. Not unless I start selling it. That's the point alot of us are making about loss from pirating in other threads. You can't lose something you never had in the first place.


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