LAS VEGAS—Guess what? Your DVD player might now be obsolete.
Hewlett-Packard Co. and Royal Philips Electronics NV said Wednesday that they have developed a content-protection system for DVDs, designed to protect users from burning "protected" DTV broadcasts. The encryption system will be built into next-generation DVD players as well as media.
Without a player and disc using the new Video Content Protection Scheme, or VCPS, DVD burners wont be able to record digital video under the new regulations. That will mean that the enormous installed base of DVD players and burners may be forced into obsolescence, executives said.
The new VCPS is designed to work hand-in-glove with the new FCC "broadcast flag" initiative, scheduled to begin on July 1, 2005. The FCC wants to try and protect content from being passed indiscriminately among private individuals via the Internet and other means. VCPS has been approved by the FCC and the CableLabs consortium of cable providers, and is under consideration by the Japanese ARIB standards body.
Even the VCPS solution is not foolproof, however.
For example, the the DRM solution will only work with the single- and dual-layer versions of DVD+R and DVD+RW media, not the "-R" counterparts. Furthermore, analog video will not require the protection scheme, meaning that video stored on analog VCRs could be free of the copyright restrictions. On the other hand, if either digital video or a digital connection is used, the VCPS scheme will be used. That will also include PCs, where content could be piped over the Internet.
"The primary goal if you read FCC regulations is to create a situation where it is not possible to randomly, indiscriminately distribute content over something," said Kevin Saldanha, HPs DVD+RW program manager, speaking at a press conference here.