DirecTV Turns on DRM and Legitimate Subscribers Lose HBO

IT Management

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DirecTV subscribers who enjoy watching Game of Thrones on their older HDTV set might find themselves blocked from doing so this week. Dave Zatz reported this week on his blog that DirecTV has implemented High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) digital rights management (DRM). In doing so, subscribers who have HDTV's that lack HDCP support are no loger able to watch premium channels over an HDMI cable.

Neither HBO or DirecTV seem at all concerned. Zatz contacted both companies, and HBO told him they didn't have anything to do with it, while DirecTV blamed it on movie studios. The satellite TV provider even has the audacity to suggest that users who are blocked switch to component cables to hook up their HDTV. That's simply not fair for early-adopters of HDTV's who want to watch True Blood in 1080p.

Zatz points out that no announcement or notice went out before the DRM was turned on. Users were suddenly hit with messages similar to the one in the picture below.


What's really disturbing about this story is that companies haven't learned, or haven't been properly educated, on the failures of DRM. Hackers and pirates will always be able to crack or otherwise circumvent DRM. The only people inconvenienced or, in cases such as this one, totally blocked are paying customers. And with service of this sort, they won't be that for long.

(image courtesy Zatz Not Funny!)