Philips Warns Hollywood Will Make Consumers Replace DVD Players


Lawrence J. Blanford, president and CEO of
Philips Consumer Electronics North America, warned
Congress today that if Hollywood studios are successful,
millions of consumers will have to replace their DVD
players in order to watch digital TV programs they have
recorded. At issue is how to develop a technology to
protect digital TV content so that it cannot be
retransmitted over the Internet.

Blanford testified before the House Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. He
said that certain studios, working with a small group of
hardware companies, known as 5C, are devising a plan for
controlling the content of digital broadcast TV that raises
serious issues of cost, complexity, reliability and
confusion for consumers.

He says, “This proposal threatens the fair use rights of
the consumer and introduces unnecessary levels of
complexity and costs in consumer devices.” He also
expressed concern that consumers may have less control over
what they see and record. The proposed technology has a
distinctly invasive technology that could remotely disable
a device recording programming in a consumer’s home.
Blanford also says, “The current direction is not in the
interest of sound public policy, in not in the interest of
the affected industries and is certainly not in the
interest of the consumer. He revealed that Phillips, which
has been participating in the industry working group
pressing the plan, the Broadcast Protection Discussion
Group (BPDG), has “lost all confidence” that the group can
achieve consensus, “or that it will allow for serious
consideration or adoption of technology solutions of equal
merit presented by other interested parties.”

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