The MPAA is petitioning the FCC to lard cable television with "selectable output control," a DRM system that allows broadcasters to specify which of your TV devices can decode which shows. With selectable output control, parts of your home theater would go dark as you flipped up and down the dial: this show won't play through your Dolby, that one won't go to your PVR, this one won't go to your DVD recorder, that one won't work with your DTV set. It's the digital TV equivalent of one of those absurd Bond-villain world-domination schemes -- the idea that every device that can plug into a TV (including PCs, game consoles, etc) will be designed to shut itself off in the presence of a flag saying, "This device may not receive that program."
Previously, the FCC told the MPAA that this was a dumb idea and to get lost, but Hollywood is nothing if not persistent (as is amply demonstrated by the number of Police Academy sequels produced). The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed some great comments in the docket:
Right now, your consumer electronics are designed by the consumer electronics industry, which reacts to consumer market demand in choosing how to innovate. That consumer-focused approach makes sense. But if the MPAA has its way, however, we'll be well on the way to a world in which every new feature to every home theater product has to be pre-approved by the content industry.
Phone chargers usually only deliver a few volts of juice at a feeble amperage, but they’ll deliver a lot more if you give them the chance. The BBC writes that a UK man died in the bathtub after being shocked by a charger connected to an extension cord. Richard Bull, 32, died when his iPhone […]
Mouse is a middling Japanese laptop brand (Engadget stayed on top of it for a while) with an excellent ad agency.
From the Herbert H. Warrick, Jr. Museum of Communications, who note: “I’ve seen this style of dial illustrated in early human-factors study reports. I didn’t know they actually made them!
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]
When Apple revealed the new MacBook in 2016, one of the biggest issues raised with the notebook’s new design (aside from ire over the slew of new adapters you’d inevitably have to buy) was the removal of one of its most beloved proprietary features, the magnetic charging cable. Thankfully, third-party peripheral makers have taken up […]