Entries Matching: Plug And Play
As you may have noticed, Public Knowledge spent some time at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. While we wandered the floor with the best of them, we also found time to talk with some of the people who are trying to bring Internet video to your TV.
As devotees of our hit video series Five Minutes with Harold Feld (or as the cool kids call it “5MWHF”) will no doubt recall, on the eve of Thanksgiving MPAA dropped a lengthy filing into the Selectable Output Control (SOC) docket. Among other things, it called Harold a liar. Harold immediately took five minutes to tell MPAA to chillax, and yesterday we filed our official response with the FCC. Although I urge you to read our full reply (I promise it is much shorter than the MPAA’s), if you are in a rush here is the short version. Our response basically made three points.
**Most of MPAA’s Filing is Unrelated to SOC.
This summer, PK flagged a decision by the FCC that was a big step towards undermining any remaining competition in the cable set-top box world. In fact, it was such a big step in the wrong direction that we filed a petition asking the FCC to reconsider its decision.
There is great background for this “Evolution waiver” (named after the company that originally requested it – Evolution, Inc. - not because anything is evolving) here, so I won’t rehash all of the details.
The short version is that the FCC thought it needed to waive its existing rules designed to create competition in cable set-top boxes in order to make sure that low-cost set-top boxes were available.
As the Selectable Output Control (SOC) battle continues here in Washington, Public Knowledge just sent a letter to the FCC pointing out that movie studios are doing some of the best work to show why SOC just doesn’t make sense.
As you may recall, the entire point of SOC is to allow movie studios to release movies via Video on Demand (VoD) prior to the DVD release. The MPAA claims that without SOC protection, the VoD releases (which, unlike DVDs, are not protected and therefore theoretically easier to copy) would immediately be used to make perfect copies available to pirates. These perfect copies would destroy the market for DVDs, and ultimately destroy Hollywood. SOC protection would allow studios to protect VoD distribution and therefore save Hollywood.
In last week's post, I discussed the MPAA's petition for waiver of the FCC's ban on selectable output control (SOC).
At the end, I suggested that one possible outcome is that a content provider could shut down ALL your existing standardized output plugs, forcing you to buy a new TV, DVD player, and DVR with a special "MPAA-approved" connector plug in order to view their content.
To some people, it might have sounded like FUD, but this time the truth comes a little close for comfort.