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Macrovision BS?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by PissedMonkey, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. Sep 12, 2005 #41 of 477
    ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    yes, the OP experienced a glitch in that the tags were placed in a broadcast stream when they should not have been placed there. These copy restriction bits are an update of the macrovision license and relatively new for broadcasters as well. We saw some of the same of this after 7.1x was released so TiVo has had the code to honor the new parts of the license in palce for a while.

    Unfortunately we are seeing local stations having trouble. I speculate that they make some change to exisiting equipment or put some new piece of equipment in place and it inadvertently changes the broadcast stream in an unintended way.

    so far I have seen no reports of these glitches lasting for long. Perhaps they can get into trouble if they do not remedy the glitch in a reasonable timeframe.
     
  2. Sep 12, 2005 #42 of 477
    interactiveTV

    interactiveTV New Member

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    I would suggest that since the local broadcast affiliate would have absolutely no use for the Macrovision technology that the tags were not placed in the broadcast stream at all but by the cable operator or maybe even the national feed. We can't know for sure but I don't know why a local affiliate or a broadcast station would have the Macrovision equipment installed for this anyway.

    BTW: I recorded HBO on-demand on my Series 1 Tivo in my office. The Tivo didn't refuse to record it, the picture was just fine.

    _ITV
     
  3. Sep 12, 2005 #43 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Nonsense. The VBI "no copy and expiration" flags information is documented. If software engineers wish to obey these flags, they can choose to allow these signals to control the behavior of their software, or they can choose to disregard them. They certainly don't need the Macrovision IC or license to do so.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2005 #44 of 477
    interactiveTV

    interactiveTV New Member

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    And I can take money from a bank. I certainly don't need a check or ID to do so. That doesn't make it legal. I'm pretty certain you can't implement Macrovision protections without a license from Macrovision. You can technically do so, I would imagine but

    (a) it would be theft of intellectual property to do so without a Macrovision license
    (b) it would be pretty stupid

    My point was and remains that Zeo's "fact" that HBO -- no mention of the DVR -- but the company -- could enforce a "no record" if no Macrovision license was found on the DVR is FALSE.

    That it CAN be done on the OS level was MY EXACT POINT a few posts down:

    so your illuminating "nonesense" post only AGREES with my point that it MUST be done on the software (OS) level. I had already established that but thanks for making the same point again.

    There is no way HBO can control your PVR merely due to a lack of a Macrovision license. That "fact" is silly regardless of how many threads it gets posted in or any attempts to couch it.

    I'm sure Macrovision would be extremely happy if a PVR manufacturer added its product without paying. We've entered a new realm of discussion: theft of intellectual property on the corporate level where anything goes.

    _ITV
     
  5. Sep 12, 2005 #45 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    You are out of your element. No Macrovision technology is being used to read the OTA show "protected" in this way. They are 2 APS macrovision bits carried as payload data embedded in the extended data field for closed captioning which is stored in the vertical blanking interval (VBI). This is different than the CGMS bits that HBO is using but they are carried in the same payload.

    Those flags can control the PVR software without any license from Macrovision.

    In any case, folks that want to turn on or turn off those bits might be interested in the following device. It does not degrade the signal as some "video stabilizers" do, because all it is manipulating is the VBI data. This particular one is nice because it handles Component connectors as well as S-Video and Composite.

    http://www.smr-group.co.uk/articles/macrovision_filter_01.html

    It seems to me the box may be way overkill- a 2 buck filter circuit to nuke the entire VBI might suffice for use with Tivos.
     
  6. Sep 12, 2005 #46 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Some footnotes to this note that may be of no interest to most folks, but I want to include them here because I for one am going to forget all this stuff in a few days....

    BTW-This box may only manipulate the CGMS copy bits, which are different than the macrovision bit flags. I don't know, maybe the designer would be able to answer. He is on avsforums as "Logic Design". Searching for messages authored by him would produce facts about his device. One thread of particular interest may be found here.

    Such a device would take care of HBO behavior, since they are using cgms-a.

    Of course, a box that entirely reconstitutes and cleans up the video signal would also do the job. A survey of some of the devices is at http://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=243476.

    These devices are hardly shady- Professional video guys (weddings, dog shows etc) use the CGMS boxes to add the flags quickly. And without the video stabilizer boxes, many high end video projectors and other devices will not work properly. Compusa sells a popular stabilizer, as does Best Buy , but you can get them for $53 as a Buy it now price on Ebay, or less if you are patient.

    The Consumer electronics daily article that was the subject of a thread a while back. This describes the meeting where Macrovision presented ideas for expanded use (as part of ACP-E) of these trigger bits, also known as APS bits. Here is a copy a little more legible than the one copied on TCF:http://www.talkaboutvideo.com/group/alt.video.ptv.replaytv/messages/22024.html None of the chicken little talk happenned- The world not only still has 40 hour Tivos, we have outfits like weaknees who will build us a Tivo with 20 times that capacity if we so desire. Nor do we have any of the non PPV/VOD channels using these flags except in the case of rare glitches like the OP's.

    Anyhow, these APS trigger bits are carried in CGMS-A VBI fields on different lines depending on whether the signal is 480i, 720p, 1080i etc. The public specification is EIA-608-B for 480i. Those who prefer their text with lots of pictures will be interested in slide 4 of the CEA slide presentation on CGMS-A.

    Developers may access the 7bit field directly, or may access it in public apis. MS has it in the VIDEOPARAMETERS struct within the bCP_APSTriggerBits member. Here is an XFree X-Windows driver retrieving the APS values using a National semiconductor FS450 chip to read the analog signal. See function fs450_get_aps_trigger_bits.

    I think Macrovision would very much like to require that their proprietary decoder chip (or at least the functionality of one) be required in all CE devices that carry a Macrovision license. In a few years, it will be inexpensive enough to require all Macrovision licensees to incorporate watermark detection processing so that the macrovision circuitry will be aware when the user is attempting to play pirated content. Such watermarking could even survive the Camcorder taking a picture of a Hidef screen. Huge expense. Easy piggeyback chips or software hacks to defeat them in a few months.

    A survey of DRM technologies the MPAA found interesting in 2003 may be found here. This includes CGMS that is only now seeing the light of day and watermarking which we have not yet seen a lot of. (that we know of).

    Pointless waste of development resources.

    This is just round one in what could be a hundred round fight. But ultimately, Hollywood is going to figure out that they will have to content themselves that these techniques are only speed bumps, and they will have to compete in terms of convenience and cost with the Darknet.

    Hollywood will continue to make even more mind bongling amounts of money due to digital distribution, and in time they will realise the practical realities of this new terrain is not the problem they now imagine it to be.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2005 #47 of 477
    jg123

    jg123 New Member

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    It does seem like there should be a way to turn off the automatic expiry on the Tivo if it was a mistake. Since the mistakes do happen, we ought to be able to call our local station and get some code to unlock the accidently locked show. It doesn't seem right that they can just say, "Sorry our mistake. Oh, and there's no way to undo it. Oops!"
     
  8. Sep 13, 2005 #48 of 477
    simonalope

    simonalope New Member

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    I've had "unintended" red flags on every single recording from two channels (from the same provider) since the day I downloaded 7.2, continuing to this day. I also recently discovered that a pre-7.2 recording on that channel was copy-protected (said so in the program info, wasn't able to transfer via TTG), although without a flag. TiVo is aware of what I'm seeing and say they're working on it.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2005 #49 of 477
    gonzotek

    gonzotek tivo_xml developer

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    Outside...
    Which channels on what provider in what locality? :) Just curious.
     
  10. Sep 13, 2005 #50 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    If anyone actually is experiencing this and can capture this signal to an mpeg file (eg using a PC with a capture board), it would be a nice public service if you could post a small example file up on the net somewhere. It's possible the capture software could strip the info, but if it is closed captions aware, then it may well pass them through.

    It would be really interesting to hear what the resolution of this is- if this was due to some local cableco or broadcaster tech fiddling with a closed captions box that he shouldn't have been fiddling with, or whether it was a Tivo bug.

    Also- if you know anyone who has a Pal/NTSC converter, or a video stabilizer, and can borrow one, it would be interesting to hear if that nukes the problem.
     
  11. Sep 13, 2005 #51 of 477
    starbreiz

    starbreiz Fangirl

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    Heh. This thread made it to pvrblog.com.
     
  12. Sep 13, 2005 #52 of 477
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    The problem with "video stabilizers" is they only work when something other then the TiVo is doing the tuning. (i.e. cable box or DSS receiver) If you have strait cable or OTA going into the back of your TiVo, like the OP, then you're out of luck.

    The situation is going to be even more dire when CableCARD devices become the standard and no one is using external tuners any more. Once that happens consumers will no longer have a way to defeat the protection via an external device, and will be forced to either deal with it or resort to complicated software hacks.

    Dan
     
  13. Sep 13, 2005 #53 of 477
    TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    PissedMonkey, can you please send me your 15-digit TiVo Service Number? We'd like to investigate this issue. Please e-mail it to me (estephen@tivo.com).

    Best regards,
    Stephen
     
  14. Sep 13, 2005 #54 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Simonalope, you also report this problem.

    Stephen, maybe you would be interested in Simonalope's TSN as well?
     
  15. Sep 13, 2005 #55 of 477
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Right. (Minor quibble- they aren't all stabilizers. Actually the CGMS filter is probably vastly superior to the stabilizers/ format converters.)

    Consumers may come to the conclusion as I have that analog is much more versatile than Digital. This is what I meant by:
     
  16. Sep 13, 2005 #56 of 477
    simonalope

    simonalope New Member

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    TiVo is in touch with me already about this.
     
  17. Sep 13, 2005 #57 of 477
    ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    bummer, there is the report of it lasting. I was hoping there was some FCC reg. that would compel the broadcaster to fix things more quickly. Now we can only speculate if it is actual the macrovision bits specifically being set or some close captioning box or other such device is setting something errant and Tivo accidently picking up on it as the bits on copy protection
     
  18. Sep 13, 2005 #58 of 477
    davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    Well this topic has got legs... several blogs, in addition to PVRBlog, have picked up the story such as BoingBoing.net. I expect it will continue to spread. Bug or no bug, the technology framework exists on our individual boxes and it seems to rub people the wrong way.

    Wouldn't it be nice if Tivo responded by announcing auto-commercial skip, a la ReplayTV, to soothe the masses. Am I dreaming? ;)
     
  19. Sep 13, 2005 #59 of 477
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Considering ReplayTV was sued and ultimately had to remove this feature, I'd say yes you're dreaming. :)

    Dan
     
  20. Sep 13, 2005 #60 of 477
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    There is! anything broadcast over public airwaves is prohibitied from containing any copy protection. He should contact the FCC and see if they'll throw a few fines at the broadcaster. That should get them to fix it a little quicker.

    Dan
     

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