Is broadcast television secure to begin with?

You should read this entire article, but this section from Steal This Show caught my eye:

The build-your-own-TV advocates say they’re not looking to steal content; they’re just looking for a reasonable amount of flexibility to watch the same recorded program in different rooms, or on the train to work; to lend friends a TV recording the way they used to lend videotapes; to bring the same set of recordings from their city home to their vacation house.

Playing the same show on different screens around the house seems reasonable, said Mr. Cotton of NBC Universal. But he added that expanding the circle much beyond that, the way future versions of the recently released TiVoToGo offering might allow one to send recorded programs over the Internet to nine other devices, including P.C.’s and laptops, was dangerously excessive. “Once you allow that much, is the technology really secure?” Mr. Cotton asked.

Uh, let’s see. NBC. Isn’t that broadcast? Can’t anyone with an antennae in range of a tower pick up the broadcast? How the hell is that considered secure? What is Mr. Cotton talking about?!

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3 Responses to Is broadcast television secure to begin with?

  1. dan says:

    As I understand (and its very possible I have it wrong, some time after June of 2005 receivers much respect “the broadcast flag” which I think means there are restrictions placed on what you do with the content. Additionally, and this is based on theories from coworkers, the reason that buying a season on DVD is waaay overpriced, is based on the fact that the networks make money from advertisements and giving it to you on DVD will cut into their syndication profits. So basically NBC (and the others I’m sure) are trying to protect that they can only collect money when you watch it when they advertise it.

  2. C.K. says:

    That is my vague understanding as well, but it still doesn’t make it secure. And I think such positioning of it under a false security blanket like “the broadcast flag” so they can protect their money is a fundamental misunderstanding of the marketing involved and possible with these new technologies. Most of the people who are persistent enough to download every single show of a season and spend the time converting those shows to DVD are necessarily HUGE fans of the show and will totally spend money to buy the DVD box set with special features as soon as it is available and they have the money to do so. Mr. Cotton’s comments show that he just fundamentally doesn’t “get this.” And, unfortunately, this seems to be the predominant knee-jerk reaction of most people associated with pre-internet media forms. They see the internet as a danger, when it really does more spreading of the wealth and increase in free advertising than anything else.

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