As many of you know Tyler the Antennaman and I have been on a mission to inform the public about the rapid encryption of what used to be free over the air television. To date we’ve had 7,600 people sign our petition to the FCC and added 2,000 new comments to the FCC’s docket about the issue.
TechHive this week covered the issue with an extensive piece that uncovers just how restrictive the DRM will be:
- For DVR, broadcasters can set expiration dates on recordings or even block them outright. It’s unclear if broadcasters will do this, but ATSC 3.0 gives them the capability.
- ATSC 3.0’s DRM has latency restrictions that effectively block out-of-home viewing from networked tuners such as the HDHomeRun Flex 4K.
- Users will need an internet connection to stream local broadcasts around the home, for instance from an HDHomeRun tuner to a Roku player, and an occasional internet connection might be required for external tuner boxes.
- Recordings won’t work without the original tuner that captured the programming, effectively preventing users from transferring programs they’ve recorded on a DVR to other devices, such as a laptop or tablet for away-from-home viewing.
- With an HDHomeRun tuner, third-party apps must get independently certified to play encrypted ATSC 3.0 content. It’s unclear if programs such as Channels and Plex will do so.
It’s clear to see that broadcasters are eager to only provide the bare minimum live viewing experience to antenna viewers who don’t want to pay their exorbitant broadcast fees.
Let’s not forget that these stations don’t own the public airwaves that they want to turn into a toll road. We the taxpayers do. How does this serve the public benefit?