Encryption, is it a big deal?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DavidVTHokie, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. DavidVTHokie

    DavidVTHokie Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 18, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I have been lurking a while and have a friend who is not buying an HDTV because of the movie channels threatening to encrypt movies.

    I don't think that he's against the encryption, but it had something to do with the output of set top boxes and inputs on HDTVs, and not being able to see them at full quality.

    It sounded like he was saying that the current HDTVs don't have an input capable of the full HDTV bandwidth. Composite vs. Component or something like that.

    Can someone break down the digital in/outputs of HDTVs/settop boxes/DVHS and their picture qualities? Does anyone get the jist of his argument and is it a valid point?

    I also saw that Mitsu's HDTVs are "upgradable", but most other manufacturers aren't. What is this really referring to?

    People are obviously buying TVs, so are you taking a risk by doing so now?

  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Almost no TV today, HDTV ready or otherwise, can make a spot as small as 1/1500'th the screen width (one 1080i pixel is slightly smaller than that) therefore resolution of three in a row of the smallest 1080i details is pretty much out of the question. However any 1080i TV (excluding the fake 810 line 16:9 squeeze mode or LCD/DLP etc. models with fewer than 1920 x 1080 pixels) can still put a spot in any one of 1920 x 1080 possible positions giving smoother diagonal edges and lines compared with 720 x 480 possible positions for today's DVD.
    Currently no commonly available consumer TV equipment has digital video inputs and outputs; component video cabling is also analog.
    I don't know the specs for todsy's set topo HDTV tuner boxes but 18 MHz video bandwidth for the signal coming out their component jacks is enough for half the horizontal resolution, or spots 1/1000'th the screen width, which some of today's HDTV sets can reproduce. The S-video can also deliver horizontal resolution 1000 or even 1920 pixels wide (still 480i) but I don't know what equipment delivers that.
    The more people buy HDTV ready sets in the enxt few years, the harder it will be for Hollywood to impose encryption (scrambling) on movies broadcast. Still, lots of public pressure is needed (just like the DIVX issue) to make sure that, come the year 2006, practically all shows are freely receivable by the public in HDTV.
    If the feds don't actually compensate Enron employees for lost pension money, there is no hope for the feds to compensate today's HDTV buyers if most of the HDTV shows after 2006 or so are scrambled.
    Video hints:
  3. Matt Perkins

    Matt Perkins Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 20, 1999
    Likes Received:
    While Allan is of course right about the technical capabilities of "HTDV" sets, I'm not so sure that's really what David's question was getting at ...
    David, I do get your friend's argument. In short, here's the deal: virtually all HDTVs available today have analog connections feeding them the HD signal. The display (TV) and source (DVD, satellite receiver, set-top box, etc.) are connected by component, RGB, or some other similar analog cabling.
    The "problem" with analog cabling, as Hollywood sees it, is that analog information can be recorded by consumers. Just like over-the-air television can be copied on a VHS tape, any analog signal can be copied ... not perfectly, and subject to bandwitdh requirements, but is still may be done.
    Of course, digital information can be recorded/copied by consumers, too. In fact, digital information can be copied flawlessly and indefinitely: instead of "describing" the video signal as analog recorders do, a digital copy is a perfect replica of the information set making up the digital audio/video/data file.
    So Hollywood is wetting itself at the thought of you and me (A) recording analog HD signals (most of which we likely have directly paid for), and (B) copying digital HD files (because we can post them to the Internet, or burn them to blank media and give them away).
    Hollywood's plan of action, according to well-documented FCC testimony and other public claims, is to release HD content on two conditions. First, no user-accessible digital signals. This means that an HD device (set-top, DVD, tape, etc.) sending a digital signal to a TV cannot have a useful (i.e., playable) signal that users can copy. The most common way to to this is to encrypt the signal along the transmitter/set-top/display path.
    Second, no full-resolution analog signals. In other words, if your HDTV doesn't have the encrypted/secure digital input, then your HD device (st-top, DVD, etc.) may output an analog signal ... but only at a much weaker reslution.
    This leaves us in a tough place. If we buy a TV now, it likely will not have the secure digital inputs Hollywwod wants us to use. And without those inputs, Hollywood is probably going to limit our "HD" content to 480i, 480p, or some comparable less-than-welcome HD alternative.
    Mitsubishi made a pledge a couple years ago (not sure if they still offer it?) that they would upgrade, or provide for sale an upgrade path, for their sets ensuring that they would operate with any format changes. Unfortunately, this "pledge" may have referred to the competing 8-VSB and COFDM carrier technologies, and not necessarily to Hollywood-sponsored crippleware.
    Sorry for all the rambling detail, but you asked a really important question. I'm not sure whether my information is still accurate, but that's pretty much where your friend is coming from.

Share This Page