If the MPAA had its way, your DVR would be nothing more than a hunk of useless metal and plastic, unable to record and pause live television. Steps are being taken to ensure that it gets its way.
The fun-loving association is pushing hard for a technology called selectable output control, or SOC, which allows content providers—movie studios and the like—to prevent material from being recorded. It does this by blocking the so-called analog hole, making it impossible for you to, say, plug in standard 3.5mm audio jack and record sound to your computer.
I know that sounds evil and all that, but the idea behind this isn’t exactly unreasonable. Movie studios want to be able to let cable companies get an earlier crack at showing movies on-demand (for example), but are worried that folks will simply exploit the analog hole and record the movie long before the studio ever releases the DVD or Blu-ray version. If consumers could copy and record movies long before their DVD date, why should the movie studios even bother to produce a DVD?
Now, that’s completely not my problem, how the movie studios make money, but at least there’s a proper reason for their policy this time around.
Note that the FCC has so far said no to SOC, so there’s still some legs in this story.