BusinessWeek looks at different aspects of the "broadcast flag" proposed by Federal Communications Commission in November. The flag would limit the way consumer's can record and view digital TV broadcasts on, for example, DVD.
Hollywood wants to limit copies since digital TV and DVD recorders allow pixel-perfect copies to be made. Some manufacturers, such as Sony, have welcomed FCC's proposal, but others, like Philips, aren't quite as satisfied. Philips argues that implementing the broadcast flag restrictions would soon render the 74 million DVD players in U.S. homes obsolete.
"We're concerned because as an electronics maker we have a pact with the consumer that says old stuff and new stuff will work together," says Michael Epstein, manager of technology and standards at Philips. "A Hollywood solution like the broadcast flag creates problems for consumers even when they aren't doing anything wrong. It's a side effect that stops them from doing something they legally should be able to do."Since many electronics manufacturers are also involved in the entertainment business as content providers, Hollywood will probably be able to get its way with the protection demands.