Ofcom blocks BBC's Freeview HD DRM plans

The BBC's plans for using digital rights management to prevent unauthorised usage of material broadcast on the coming Freeview HD service have been blocked by industry regulator Ofcom. The BBC had planned to let people freely record standard-definition content, with added restrictions for high-definition broadcasts.

The introduction of DRM to the Freeview HD service, which is expected to launch this December, was designed as an anti-piracy measure, with the British broadcaster worried about unauthorised redistribution of high-definition content. Despite BBC claims of it being "invisible" to the end user, it still raised questions, according to TechRadar.

In a statement explaining the decision, Ofcom said, "Ofcom received a large number of responses to this consultation, in particular from consumers and consumer groups, who raised a number of potentially significant consumer 'fair use' and competition issues that were not addressed in our original consultation."

Editor of What Satellite and Digital TV, Alex Lane, told TechRadar about the decision. "It's good to see Ofcom listening to a consumer-lead campaign, and maybe we can now have a mature debate about DRM," he said. "I just hope it doesn't backfire and cause problems for Freeview HD supplying the best content."

The BBC told TechRadar that "it remains committed to the launch of HD on Freeview as it will deliver choice in terms of platform and availability of HD content for audiences across the UK."

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