Still use component connections with your pay TV box? Listen up: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has again asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to let studios disable analogue connections during certain on-demand movies. The FCC currently bans this, and here's why that's a good thing.
Lots of gear still that's still kicking around only has an analogue connection with digital video recorders (DVRs): like TiVos and Slingboxes made before 2004. And what about your TV? You'd likely be forced to upgrade to gear with digital ports (like HDMI) to watch movies protected with Selectable Output Control (SOC).
The studios are desperate to show on-demand movies over cable prior to their DVD release, but claim they can't without so without SOC. They say the tech protects their revenue by blocking easy analogue copying — the so called "analogue hole". Problem is, DVDs (a supposed secure format) get ripped and shared online anyway.
Not only that, but it's almost a moot point. Warner Brothers (who signed the original SOC petition last year) released Observe and Report and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past for video-on-demand (VoD) this September — before their DVDs hit stores. Consumer advocacy groups, like Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), also point out that Magnolia Pictures, distributors like IFC Films and more recently, Starz Media, are also doing VoD before DVD.
The MPAA says that the outputs would only be disabled for the new movies, and wouldn't impact any existing content. And they make the fair point that there's always a lag between new experiences early adopters get compared to those with older gear.
But I'm sorry MPAA, pull your head out of your arse. DVDs still get ripped, and one of the very studios you represent is still releasing on-demand movies prior to their DVD release. Why bother? Think about the huge customer base you're alienating, and stay away from the back of my TV. [Public Knowledge and PC Magazine via BoingBoing]