HBO Petitions FCC To Prevent DVR Recording

Dave Zatz —  February 9, 2006

HBO continues their quest to specify what you can and cannot record to your DVR. They’ve been at the forefront of limiting our recording rights and are at it again, this time petitioning that subscription video-on-demand should be off-limits. It’s interesting that they attempt to segregate content… why should one network or type of programing be treated differently than any other? If you’re piping media into my house that I’ve paid for I intend to retain the right to copy whatever I want, whenever I want for my personal use — broadcast flag and similar legislation be damned.

36 responses to HBO Petitions FCC To Prevent DVR Recording

  1. This is rediculous, all of this goes against the reasons people are getting dvr devices at the first place.

    Kiltak

  2. why try to stop something that can not BE stopped

  3. Bastards! I’ll be calling my cable company to cancel HBO.

  4. Don’t suppose you guys actually read this through… it’s asking that SVOD services be set as “Copy Never”. It’s not asking that normal broadcast TV be marked this way. Because VOD is Video on _Demand_, there’s no reason to record it to your DVR, you simply order it from the VOD screens. The reason for this is because HBO, and the cable provider can get metrics on activity as well as charge for certain events over and over. Currently with Comcast, when you pay for HBO as a premium channel for normal broadcast, you also get HBO VOD free.

    You guys really should do your research and read the document carefully.

  5. It’ll never happen.

  6. I agree with Andrew. I have no problem at all that VOD would be “copy never”.

    It’s already “on demand”, there’s no need to DVR it.

    And the way they sell (or pachage) VOD it is not your right to keep it forever.

    Same reasons that copying a rented DVD is technically not allowed.

  7. I never *signed* up for HBO, hah hah!

  8. Well, what if I want to watch this but I need to pause it? Well I can’t with this. So why should I get less then if I rented the movie on DVD???

  9. so they have dvr like service: VOD and they want to bar hardware dvr’s from providing the same service. Not everyones cable provided vod free and i bet once the dvr’s arent allowed to mimic.. then more will charge for the added service. To me it is like windows banning thrid party firwalls, why would you need another firewall when you got our crappy one? Or how about car dealers banning using someone other brand of tires.. i mean why not when you can pick up perfectrly good tires at the dealership. I understand that the dvr is redundant when talking about free video on demand..but HBO needs to learn how to make money and play ball in an ever changing world and quit trying to happer the change.. and last i will say about dvr.. of course my dvr will play back shows when the cable is out.. video on demand doesnt

  10. So, if I know a show I want to see will be on for the month of April, but I will be away from home that month, I will not be allowed to record it for when I come back? How long are they going to keep EVERY show they offer on VOD?

    I thought they had worked out the “fair use” issues when VCRs first came out.

    Then again, it’s not like they are providing a service that is vital and I can’t live without it. I think I’ll start living without it right now. I don’t buy anything with the Sony name on it because of the DRM rootkit they used, and their heavy-handed tactics through RIAA… maybe it just takes a lot of people voting with their feet to get the message across.

  11. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s “On Demand” or not. If you paid to view it, you should be allowed to copy it so you don’t have to continuously pay to view it again and again.

  12. If you get HBO VOD for free, why would they care if you copied it to your DVR? I mean it’s nice if they can feel the metrics they measure are 100% accurate, but that has never been the case – how many people do you know that used their VCRs to record a PPV special in the past? They’ve never had entirely accurate metrics, and it’s never been a problem in the past.

    You may happen to love one particular thing on HBO VOD, and watch it over and over. What about when they stop running it? Too bad, wait for them to eventually sell it on DVD? The hell with that. Anything you used to do with your VCR you should still be able to do with your DVR.

  13. This is the thin end of the wedge.

    First it will be VoD (see “Pay-Per-View)”
    Then it will be “Premium Content” (Showtime, Cinemax, Starz! and… HBO”
    Then it will be all channels.

    For those who don’t get it… Big Media DOES NOT WANT YOU TO RECORD ANYTHING!

  14. This would blow for anyone who uses satelite for thier HBO. Thus no VOD as averyone is suggesting. This is bad law that will limit your options. It should not be swept under the rug because we already get it for free.

  15. None of you get it. If we allow ANY tampering with our recording rights, it will lead to more.

  16. dont worry, we have the companies that make the DVD technology on our sides! if HBO actually won then who would buy their DVD recording devices? the point is HBO cant win,it would cause a law to be made that would contradict other laws such as VHS recording…

  17. There is a very important reason this should not be allowed. Once they get the right to clock one thing they WILL inevitably I guarentee you NO question about it later make a move to increase the restrictions to other things.

    No one should have any right whatsoever to dictate how I handle my paid for content and owned hardware. period.

    RENTALS of “physical” mediums are different I never OWN the dvd I am renting I can understand restrictions on that. also restricting what I can do with that does not impact my DVR in anyway which is my property.

    also once they are able to restrict all out hardware what do you think will be next ? no more buying content. they will switch eventually to a completely rental style scheme for delivering content. Give an inch give a mile so to speak eventually they will just take it all.

    Yes you really should not need to copy a On Demand show NO they should not have ANY right to restrict whether I can do so with my DVR because the potential loss to the consumer is FAR FAR greater than the loss to HBO which is exactly ZERO.

    The fact that there loss by you being able to record to your DVR is ZERO is all that should be needed to raise the red alert klazzon in you mind as to WHY do they really want this ability that they should never have any right too.

    Chris Taylor
    http://www.nerys.com/

  18. Did you acually look up what SVOD is?
    This is how the NCTA (National Cable & Telecomunications Association) defines it (at http://www.ncta.com/Docs/PageContent.cfm?pageID=107 ):

    Subscription Video on Demand, or SVOD, is a Video on Demand service offered at a flat (subscription) price that provides viewers with unlimited access to select programs from the libraries of featured cable networks.

    That to me sounds like everything offered by any of the “premium” cable networks such as HBO, Showtime, etc..

    The only reason they’re pushing this is because they want to be able to charge you another fee to watch it at a later date. They basically want a piece of the DVR service fee.

    To those of you who say “It’ll never happen”: That’s only the case if we make it known to the people that matter that we won’t tolerate it. That means HBO (and the other premium networks), the FCC, and Congress. I’ve sent a letter to HBO corporate that their position on this issue guarantees that they will never again have me as a customer.

  19. Well, what next? just cut the cable and go outside and play.

  20. They are only going to screw the people who obey the law in the first place. Who in their right mind would buy a DVR with DRM anyways? …Not me.

  21. well when there is nothing to watch or record, then we should destroy all our electronics!

  22. “Video on Demand is ON DEMAND, there’s no reason to record it to DVR.”

    See, that’s just wrong. Husband and I were scheduled to be out of town on the day a concert was to be broadcast. I wanted to see it and was willing to pay, but to take advantage, I couldn’t be tethered to my TV.

    There’s a great example of WHY the ability to record to DVR is my priviledge, not theirs. I’m the consumer and I want to consume at my convenience.

  23. Greg, the SVOD definition is a little mushy, but what you are describing is clearly understood in Washington (and defined in FCC rules) as “pay television.” Pay television is subject under FCC rules to encoding no more restrictive than one generation (meaning you can make copies of the original, but not copies from copies). The dispute here is whether SVOD should be treated like pay television, or like VOD. HBO is arguing they should be allowed to treat it like VOD; companies can always set the bar lower if they want to.

  24. Hey Andrew – you may be fine with shoddy services and orders from your cable provider masters, but I beg to differ

  25. I’m unclear on the implications of this. Comcast currently doesn’t allow DVRing of On Demand service anyway, so it seems HBO is simply trying to codify that practice.

    Of course, if they’re also trying to limit that same content via their scheduled broadcasts, well, that’d be an insane business move. Since HBO doesn’t offer their entire broadcast lineup over VOD, an overreaching restriction (into the broadcast area) would cause loyal subscribers to leave in droves. I can’t believe they’d go that far, ever.

  26. “I?m unclear on the implications of this. Comcast currently doesn?t allow DVRing of On Demand service anyway, so it seems HBO is simply trying to codify that practice.”

    Gee, that’s funny. I watch VOD using my Replay to buffer all the time. Exactly how do they disallow it?

  27. FUCK HBO, MPAA, RIAA, FCC, AND ANYBODY ELSE WHO DONT LIKE IT!!! If you pay money for tv shows then you should have the right to record whatever the hell you want to record and if they dont like it FUCK EM they are nothing but a bunch of GREEDY FUCKING RICH BASTARDS who ought to ROT IN FUCKING HELL FOREVER!!! Well guess what HBO, MPAA, and RIAA? I will never abide by your fucking bullshit fucking laws and the sooner you fuckers realize that the better off you will be!!! You cannot stop people from recording what they want and if you think you can you jabroni’s are fucking full of fucking shit but that does not suprise me I’ve known that for years already!!!

  28. You have got to be F__king kidding me? I PAY for HBO!!! The second, I mean the VERY second that try this crap — I will cancel my subscription to HBO and NEVER look back!

    It?s funny how these executive types seem to forget that they NEED us, we DON?T NEED them! I spend far too much time watching television anyway, and will try going outside and getting a life ? that doesn?t cost anything ?a month?.

  29. it does matter! even if it is on demamd! i have on demand but i dont get every show, from every season. i get 10 at a time every month or so. sometimes i wanna record an episode of Entourage that wont be “on demand ” for another year or so

  30. HBO has already begun this. There are now shows that you cannot record on some Directv dvrs, I don’t have info about others. It has nothing to do with ON DEMAND. They just want to restrict it. It is odd though that once it has been through the theatre, PPV and video rental that HBO would think to restrict something that old. Kind of takes the HOME out of HOME Box Office doesn’t it?

  31. VOD sucks. I have verizon I pay 4.99 to watch the movie off VOD the box is also a dvr…it’s all about money…many people including myself would like to record a VOD to the dvr for later viewing…not sell it to uncle charlie for $10..all the sh*t i recorded on DVR stays on the DVR until I am ready to erase it. WTF shouldn’t I be able to record a VOD movie/PPV I paid for?!! These a–holes are greedy as SH-T!!!!

  32. I have begun the process to look for a new way of watching televison. Recorded and paid for a Movie, had to step away for reasons that could not be controled. Went back to watch the movie, GONE. Contact Directv, they state that a new policy in place is that now you have to sit and watch the movie within 24 hours. Then Purchase it again if you missed. I cry Fowl, anyone else?

  33. If you’re paying extra for it, you have the right to record it. It’s one thing to be upset about people making direct copies of movies and pirating them but this is coming from the TV, for crying out loud. It’s not like it will be the same quality as when you buy the dvd. They aren’t exactly losing anything from this. It’s just and attempt for them to squeeze more money out of the consumers.

    Not being able to record to the dvr and such defeats the purpose of even making the step to digital in the first place, doesn’t it?