Digital flag furled for home networks

April 20, 2005

Fox Entertainment Group and IBM are working together on technology that will allow home networks to show copy-protected TV shows, while restricting the shows to their home market. Central to the issue is a broadcast "flag" that will be embedded in digital broadcasts beginning in July. Mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, the flag is designed to help prevent unauthorized redistribution of content over the Internet.

The problem is to allow distribution in a home network. Until the Fox-IBM collaboration, the only way to reduce unauthorized distribution of flagged content was to measure the time it takes the data to travel to another device in the network. But that meant that devices had to be close together, not always the case in home networks.

Under the new system, content protection is based on Defined Market Areas (DMAs), the area served by the broadcast channel. Viewers can thus receive digital programming and watch it on any device in a home network, as long as it’s within the same DMA.

"Protecting content in a way that also provides flexible use for consumers is an industry imperative," said Steve Canepa, vice president, IBM Media & Entertainment Industry. "Usability is a critical success factor for the widespread adoption of digital content distribution and protection techniques; IBM and Fox are developing an innovative business solution that benefits viewers and broadcasters alike."

The companies expect to complete the development in the first few months of 2006.

Explore further: Post-Betamax, the format wars continue in a digital world

Related Stories

Review: New Apple TV has promise, but doesn't reach it yet

November 14, 2015

When Apple unveiled its new digital set-top box in June, I wrote that Apple TV had the potential to revolutionize the way we use our televisions, transforming the simple boob tube into a computing device through which we ...

The modern, molecular hunt for the world's biodiversity

October 27, 2015

The news is full of announcements about newly discovered forms of life. This fall, we learned of a 30,000-year-old giant virus found in frozen Siberia. Until now, known viruses have contained so little genetic information ...

Recommended for you

Don't forget plankton in climate change models, says study

November 26, 2015

A new study from the University of Exeter, published in the journal Ecology Letters, found that phytoplankton - microscopic water-borne plants - can rapidly evolve tolerance to elevated water temperatures. Globally, phytoplankton ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.