16 September 2009
It's been reported that the BBC has submitted proposals to Ofcom, to allow it to encrypt certain HDTV information transmitted to Freeview set-top boxes — with only trusted manufacturers being offered the decryption keys.
Because of its public service remit, the BBC isn't allowed to encrypt the video or sound streams — but the Corporation has asked to be allowed to scramble TV listings data needed for set top boxes to be able to decode high-definition television channels on Freeview. In technical terms, this is the service information (SI) data of the DVB stream and some cheap boxes currently rely on open-source licences to decode this EPG information.
In a statement defending this HD digital rights management (DRM) proposal, the BBC said:
"We are committed to ensuring that public service content remains 'free to air' [unencrypted].
However, HD content [copyright] holders have begun to expect a degree of content management [DRM] on the Freeview HD platform and therefore broadcasters have recognised that a form of copy protection is needed".