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April 5, 2004
All Your Time Shifting Are Belong to Us
Increasingly, cable companies are getting into the business of Personal Video Recorders (PVR), integrating them into the cable set-top box. While in many ways convenient for the consumer (one less electronic component, potentially less expensive, never have to worry about recording the right channel), a worrisome potential for control over the viewing experience remains. If the cable company gives you the PVR, they will likely retain the ability to modify how you are permitted to use it. EE Times reports on one possible example of this with regard to integrated DVD recorders (Set-top boxes may put a lid on rewritable DVDs):
The current scheme under discussion is preventing disks made on a set-top burner from being played on any other system by linking the content to the serial number of the set-top using triple DES encryption.
As engadget notes (Coming soon: set-top boxes with crippled DVD burners),
essentially youd be able to create an archive, but when your cable box dies on you or you move and switch to a different cable or satellite provider, your entire collection would be useless to you.
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