Programme Delivery Control in the USA

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Pacomartin, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Pacomartin

    Pacomartin Member

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    Programme Delivery Control is a system used in Europe where a signal is transmitted (once a second) as part of the digital broadcast. It has two main purposes. It can tell you when a program starts and stops so that it is easier to record accurately if the start and stop time of a show varies from schedule. The second purpose is to allow the network to send scrambled signal to confuse the DVR so that the program can't be recorded. The latter purpose can be defeated by simply setting the recorder for a fixed start and stop time.

    Any chance that TV (cable or OTA) in the USA will adopt a similar standard?
     
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    No. The "scramble" part is illegal for OTA and for cable it's handled via the CCI byte which the cable companies are allowed to set for anything except the local broadcast channels. There are 4 levels of CCI. "Copy Freely", "Copy Once", "Copy No More" and "Copy Never". Copy freely means you can copy as much as you want. Copy once means you can record the show once but not make any more copies. Copy no more is what copy once recordings are converted to once they are recorded by a DVR. Copy never shows can actually be recorded by a DVR but must be deleted after 90 minutes. Any CableCARD device is required to follow these bytes and there is no way to circumvent them.

    The other part is unlikely. The broadcasters and cable companies don't want to make it easier for you to use a DVR. They see them as a way to circumvent their revenue stream. (i.e. ads) They would much rather you watch via VOD where they can force you to watch the ads and they still get to count ratings for 3-7 days after the show airs.
     
  3. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    someone please correct me, but I believe Comcast got a waiver, and unfortunately they can encrypt the network stations.
     
  4. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    Encryption and copy protection are two different things.
     
  5. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I think all MSOs have permission to encrypt the locals now provided they have a pure digital network and do not offer the locals as analog.

    But as lpwcomp pointed out encryption and protection are two different things. They are allowed to encrypt the channels, which protects against theft of service, but they are still required to flag them as Copy Freely for their CCI byte.
     
  6. Pacomartin

    Pacomartin Member

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    Yes, the FCC changed the law, and the notice is here. They were required to assist certain customers for a year.

    This data gathering system was deeply flawed. (1) Consumers who had a 2nd and/or 3rd TV plugged in without a converter box did not qualify for a free set top box, (2) Most consumers are not aware that this function worked. The cable company either offers no assistance or the technicians actively tell people that a bare coaxial cable will not work at all. No wonder Cablevision only had to give up 739 boxes out of 700K customers.

    At any rate, the Fcc blindly accepted the conclusion that QAM tuners (which were built into nearly every TV sold since 2006 -- which is way over a 100 million sets ) were never used.
     
  7. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    By June of this year cable companies are going to be required to provide boxes with DLNA CVP-2 support, which will allow you to watch live TV or recorded shows from your DVR on any CVP-2 enabled TV in your home. If your TVs do not support CVP-2 (most don't) you'll likely be able to buy a cheap settop box/stick, like a Roku or FireTV, to add support on those TVs.
     
  8. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    Yeah, Comcast, unlike TWC, has their copy flags set correctly for everything (i.e. only flagged for copy once on HBO and other premiums).
     
  9. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    PDC is likely never to be adopted in the USA only because the MVPD's have invested in the current EPG based timer support for DVR, and they are NOT looking to spend even more money for what, they see, as NOT a common problem because the program running late problem and forcing a late start of the following Prime-Time is program most often limited to the Eastern and Central time zones (only 2 of the 5 USA times zones) is ALMOST exclusive to Over The Air broadcasters airing live sports and even less a problem with all sports networks. The MVPD's solution to that is to tell you to add several minutes to the stop time on your DVR timer. Meanwhile, the hundreds of other channels that are via pay-TV and who provide the vast amount of programming simply, as a rule, don't have that problem of late ending programming, etc. Another reason for the MVPD's to cite for not spending the money to upgrade to a PDC system.

    Keep in mind that the USA had the DVR introduced far sooner than in Europe, and the DVR's introduction back in 1999 (TiVo, ReplayTV, and Dish's DishPlayer 7100) greatly kept the DVD Recorder from being widely accepted and all but having killed it, and these DVR's were EPG based just as they are today and worked well to a very high degree. Meanwhile the absence of DVR's in Europe at the end of the 20th century allowed the much wider adoption of DVD and subsequently, Blu-ray recorders as the means to replace the VCR and record one's favorite TV shows.

    So, due to the legacy of how early the DVR was introduced and the high reliability of the current, but inelegant, EPG based data for DVR recordings just don't result in an imperative for the MVPD's to spend the money nor for the FCC to even CONSIDER mandating such technology that imposes new costs for the MVPD's.

    However, I had DREAMED of such PDC technology back in the VCR days. Such similar technology, in fact, did exist as far back as the 1980's as implemented first by National Public Radio under the name of Program Event Codes so that stations would NOT forget to record those important programming feeds. PEV codes were 3 digits and unique to each program or each "Reel" (referring to audio tape reels) of a program for longer length programs that require more than one reel of tape. One would enter the 3 digit number in the PEV module associated with a particular tape recorder, and the PEV would automatically START the recording tape machine when the feed began and STOP the same recording machine at the end of the program feed.

    Don't misunderstand me, Such a PDC system as in Europe would be GREAT and an answer to the prayers of those living in the East and Central timezones who miss part of the Prime-Time programming because of an excessively long overtime sports event, and it would be magic for those times when an unexpected news event that preempts scheduled programming. Sign me up; I'm in. However, we are likely never to see such a system, and most certainly because here in the USA, more and more programming will be viewed on-line making the current model of trying to catch and record live, linear TV anachronistic when the new model will be for us to access the show on line and watch it from there and still have trick play--and not be able to skip commercials.
     

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