The Society of Television Lighting and Design

News: BBC to get Freeview HD - DRM

News: BBC to get Freeview HD - DRM

Update: Ofcom has given the BBC the go-ahead to scramble its HDTV listings data.

16 September 2009

BBC HDTV encryption proposal submitted to Ofcom

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".

BBC looks to copy protect content

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