HBO Exec: Don't call it DRM

People don't like DRM, perhaps that's just because it's such a smelly word. HBO's chief technology officer Bob Zitter thinks so, he wants to ditch the term DRM in favor of "DCE," or, "Digital Consumer Enablement." Speaking at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association show in Las Vegas, HBO's top techie said the new term would better describe all the ways that copyright holders and providers could dictate how consumers access content.

"Digital Consumer Enablement, would more accurately describe technology that allows consumers to use content in ways they haven't before, such as enjoying TV shows and movies on portable video players like iPods. I don't want to use the term DRM any longer," said Zitter, who added that content-protection technology could enable various new applications for cable operators.

Zitter notes that HBO has HD on Demand movies ready to go, but can't serve them up due to piracy fears until it has better DRM in place. Excuse me, I should have said DCE in place. HBO's big concern is the analog hole--in essence the gap in DRM that lets consumers capture the unencrypted analog signal from an HD signal. He, apparently, would like to plug the hole, but can't due to FCC regulations.

"Theoretically," says Zitter, "those analog outputs could be disabled, forcing consumers to use a secure digital connection to watch HD content. But current FCC rules don't give HBO or cable operators that power, in order to protect consumers who bought early HDTV sets that don't support digital copy protection. They say we can't turn off the analog output," Zitter notes.

News source: Wired

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39 Comments

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Digital Consumer Enablement - what exactly does it "enable" the customer to do? Not watch things if they don't have the right technology? That isn't something positive.

Anyway, "enablement"... what a hideous word for an acronym; it doesn't flow at all. If they're going to make a more friendly acronym then they want something like "Consumer Licence Protocol" or some other fluff. But the reality is that DRM is not designed to benefit the consumer but to protect the rights of the producer - therefore simply renaming it to sound like a consumer technology is destined to fail.

Hey Bob Zitter, Carl Rove is looking for good spin doctors like you!

I'm tired of being Digital Consumer Enabled, not being able to play legally downloaded music on any device I own stinks. Probably why after one or two purchases, I avoid all downloaded DRM'd music and only buy CD's that I can play in my car, on my stereo and rip for playing on my MP3 player.

I love how they're so desperately concerned about the exact digital copy being the thing that makes piracy a success.

It's not. It's the ease of use and affordability.

People watch bootleg videos made by the "point a camera at the screen and sit still" method.

They buy bootleg anime from Hong Kong transated by people who speak neither Japanese nor English.

They gladly choose MP3s when lossless alternatives exist.

Why? Because these alternatives work well and deliver good percieved value for money.

A DRM system that's based on breaking things that already work is not "works well". And odds are they're not going to recognize good value for money.

Read this on slashdot yesterday, someone had commented:

I don't want to use the term piracy any more. From now on I call it Consumer Choice Enablement.

funny **** haha

Hmm... Maybe a "Digital Consumer" might be that gullible, but I'm made of meat, and I recognize that it's fertilizer. HBO should fire that guy just because he's a sleaze.

That is just dumb. They want you to think that you are somehow "enabled" when they place a "restriction" on something. Yea, lets just keep telling the consumers that they are better with restrictions becuase we would not want them to hurt themselfs or think on their own :mad:

He should be a politician.

And don't call it a "turd". Call it a "flower", so people like to smell them better. :rolleyes:

Anything that restricts legal users (licensees) of the media they got at a store is correctly called a "restriction", not "enablement".
Orwellian doublespeak.

When I read it all I could think of was 1984... war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. doublespeak indeed.

Let's all ditch the term "virus" too, because it's the name of something nobody likes much. Instead, we'll call them "alternative-use software packages".

JoeC said,
Let's all ditch the term "virus" too, because it's the name of something nobody likes much. Instead, we'll call them "alternative-use software packages".

:ponder:

Bob Zitter from HBO has a new name: "Airhead"
It's a lighter, fresher name that emphasizes his most apparent aspect: the space between his ears.

I like this bit:
"those analog outputs could be disabled, forcing consumers to use a secure digital connection to watch HD content."

How did we ever survive using those NON-SECURE analog outputs?! Don't people want to be SAFE and SECURE?! :mad:

The all above me ... the hell is wrong with you? DRM or DCE as he calls it don't all apply to the same bloody disgusting technique used by Apple in their itunes store the one that restricts people to Apple only devices

This DRM technique just attempts to deliver HD digital content to the subscriber to use by the subscriber and no one else, which is a legit need for companies to protect their property.

Its funny how the famed Apple seems to be responsible for people hating DRM all together in any form.

Beastage, what exactly do you know about DRM? It all does the same thing: restricts users from doing what they want with the music, movies, etc. that they download. That includes TONS of other companies besides Apple.

That bull crap about delivering HD content is slightly true, but it's certainly far from the whole truth. And where did you come to the conclusion that Apple is why we hate DRM? Is that one of those self-made statistics?

Beastage said,
The all above me ... the hell is wrong with you? DRM or DCE as he calls it don't all apply to the same bloody disgusting technique used by Apple in their itunes store the one that restricts people to Apple only devices

This DRM technique just attempts to deliver HD digital content to the subscriber to use by the subscriber and no one else, which is a legit need for companies to protect their property.

Its funny how the famed Apple seems to be responsible for people hating DRM all together in any form.


Did you know there was a digital 'no record' flag? (something HBO is a big fan of I might add)

Yeah, you really want HBO telling you what you can and can't record on your tivo?

Sounds every bit as restrictive as "Apple's" drm.