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