BBC Freeview HD anti-piracy plans cause backlash

The BBC’s plans to encrypt its Freeview HD broadcasts so it can vet manufacturers has come under fire from politicians. Want to know what the hubbub is about and how it affects you? Read on, squire.

The Beeb has proposed to regulator Ofcom to encrypt channel information on Freeview HD, so that only trusted set top box makers can churn out the high def free TV gizmos, in what it says is a bid to curb piracy.

Technically, the BBC cannot encrypt the video or sound streams, but Auntie’s asked to be allowed to encrypt TV listings data needed for set top boxes to be able to play Freeview HD. This could potentially stop cheap boxes now now and in the future from working with Freeview HD, since some rely on open source licenses incompatible with the regulations.

Indeed, the proposal has caused a backlash, with Labour MP Tom Watson calling it an “attempt to satisfy the fears of powerful rights holders” that “will prohibit millions of people from programming their existing set top boxes”.

Quite. We’re more than a little puzzled at the BBC’s move, since pirates can torrent just about all the HD TV they want as it is. Ofcom is now considering its response, so we’ll keep you updated.

Out TBC | £TBC | BBC (Via BBC News)

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