EPG: Devil’s in the detail

The announcement of a Free to Air EPG this week may not have shed light on all the technical trappings that come with it.

IT Wire now says a confidential letter from Free TV Australia Chief Executive Julie Flynn suggests the EPG will not necessarily work with all digital set top boxes (FreeTV Australia represents Australia’s commercial broadcasters. It made a decision earlier this year to encrypt the data).

Flynn wrote that “Broadcasters are not authorised to use the programs listing data in PVRs where ‘ad-skip’ functionality goes beyond a maximum fast-forwarding speed of x60.

“In addition, the PVR’s [sic] which display the EPG must employ adequate copy protection measures to prevent the redistribution of free to air content outside the home or on the internet.”

IT Wire claims some digital TV receivers will require a firmware upgrade before they are compatible. Ad-skipping PVRs will be denied access to the new EPG.

“In other words”, notes IT Wire, “this week’s announcement from Free TV Australia was designed to create the illusion of benefiting Australian consumers, without actually changing anything. Once again the television industry plays viewers for idiots.”

UPDATE: Free TV Australia spokesperson has confirmed the new EPG will not be encrypted, and thus available to all PVRs, but refused to explain how the restrictions on ad-skipping devices would be enforced.

Source: IT Wire

4 Responses

  1. This IT Wire story is dubious.

    They either send an EIT EPG or they do not. If they do, any device that supports that functionality can receive it, period. FreeTV or anyone else has absolutely zero means of locking out certain classes of device like their dreaded PVRs.

    If they broadcast an “encrypted” EPG, NO devices will be able to receive it. That was not what FreeTV themselves stated would happen, and it’s backed up by Ten’s removal of its VPG. The proof is in the official press release and Ten’s announcement posted earlier.

  2. Interesting…. I’ve just tried it on my Topfield (by disabling the ICE TV function).

    Works perfectly. I’m already getting a 7 day EPG with SC Ten, 2 day EPG with Prime and 3 days from the ABC.

    And yes, I still had the ad-skipping function enabled via the PBK TAP… an instant 3 min jump in one press is more than 60x.

    Evan :->

Leave a Reply