DVR and Media Freedom Essay
DVR and Media Freedom
Latest innovation in the broadcast industry, the Digital Video Recorder has raised some serious concerns due to some of its features. On of them is the ability of sharing the media content by the viewer. In this case, industry giants have shown their concern over the violation of copyright. This is the same question raised in the paper. Does DVR or TiVo make us thief? Purpose of the Study The latest generation of DVRs comes with the ability to hook up to your home network, as well as to the Internet, via a home broadband connection.
(One can add Ethernet or wireless connectivity by buying an adapter that connects to the DVR’s USB port. ) That networking ability means that the latest DVRs can share programs with other DVRs in house, or even in some cases with other DVR users elsewhere on the Internet. DVR manufacturers are also adding photo-sharing and MP3-playback features to their products, conveniently giving the access to media files stored on personal computer while sitting in front of TV or home theater system.
Through this study, it will be shown that the technology brought in the industry in not intentionally for illegal purpose and that the ‘misuse’ of the technology can be stopped. (Consoli, 2005) Rationale of the Study The innovation of extensive digital broadcasting and the enhanced consumption of digital video recorders (DVR) will widen the accessibility of digital versions of these works. DVRs allow the digital recording of programs and often have computerized program schedules which facilitate the customer to record programs effortlessly.
The threats arising from DVRs have been highlighted by the actions of SONICblue, a DVR manufacturer, which facilitate the “sharing” of programs over the internet between owners of its ReplayTV DVRs. (Stross, 2002) By contrast, the other leading manufacturer of DVRs, TiVo, has a method that encrypts the programs throughout the procedure, so even access to the hard drive of TiVo boxes will not authorize the copies to be viewed on another TiVo device. Some Issues Concerning the Subject Though the technology was introduced in 1998, Hollywood didn’t really need to worry about the digital video recorder (DVR)–until recently.
The number of users has remained relatively small in the initial stages, but it crossed the million thresholds very soon. And the gushing testimony of users like actor Mike Myers (“TiVo is my god”) supports analysts who predict that nearly half of American households will own DVRs by the end of the decade. With DVRs threatening to destroy the 30-second ad and open up TV broadcasts to Napster-like file sharing, a phalanx of established media companies are out to co-opt, dilute or even kill the technology’s promise of transferring control of TV to consumers.
(Bryant & Bryant, 2001) For those still clueless about the latest paradigm-busting technology to come from Silicon Valley, DVRs are essentially VCRs on steroids. In addition to digitally recording your favorite shows or genre of shows whenever they’re on, the device also tapes programs that it thinks are similar to the ones you already enjoy. A recent survey by the CNW Marketing Research firm reported that nearly 71 percent of users also skip right over the ads. But the big media companies want to stop DVRs before it gets to that.
In the beginning of 2002, TiVo competitor SonicBlue introduced the Replay 4000: it allows users to skip ads entirely with the push of a button instead of fast-forwarding, and to swap shows over the Internet (a process that can take more than a day at current broadband speeds). A half-dozen media companies promptly sued SonicBlue in federal court in Los Angeles, arguing it abets copyright infringement. The lawsuit, though, also challenges the basic idea of the DVR it-self, the ability of owners to create a library of certain movies (for instance, James Bond films) and to watch them over and over.
If that sounds like something your friendly VCR does, too, Fred von Lohmann, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says it’s no coincidence. Another plan may be to try to dilute the power of DVRs. Most analysts agree that the next wave of DVRs will come inside the set-top boxes distributed by cable companies, which either own content businesses or have close relationships with them. Upstart DVR makers like Palo Alto-based Digeo and Fremont, Calif.
-based Metabyte Networks are partnering with cable companies instead of selling their units in stores, and say they’ll leave the “policy” decisions–about what kind of functions to put in a DVR–to the programmers and cable companies themselves. One of them, Time Warner, recently announced that its new cable-box DVRs will come without the ad-skipping feature. In the middle of all this is TiVo. The Alviso, California based company is currently the market leader; it’s also partly owned by content companies like NBC, Sony and Time Warner.
TiVo president Morgan Guenther characterizes his company’s approach to Hollywood as “dialogue, instead of lines in the sand and litigation. ” TiVo wants to work with Hollywood and Madison Avenue to craft new, catchier kinds of ads to replace the 30-second spot. In one recent experiment, an icon appeared on the corner of the screen during a Sheryl Crow video on MTV, indicating that viewers could watch a longer video sponsored by Best Buy by clicking a button on their remote control. TiVo says that 50 percent of its users complied. (Stone, 2002)
But programmers can’t rely on viewers to watch all their ads voluntarily, and this raises the possibility that one day, TiVo could be pressured by its partners and investors to serve up more pervasive advertising–which would subvert the promise of a technology that lets users watch what they want, when they want it. Guenther vows his company won’t force ads or any other content on customers. Then again, last May the BBC pushed one of its new sitcoms to every TiVo hard drive in Britain. The users protested, and TiVo called it a mistake. But the TV industry claims it pulls in $60 billion in ad revenue each year.
It’s certainly not going to give that up–even if someday there’s a DVR in every house. (Brown, & Picard, 2005) The latest interactive media not only symbolize a move in information traffic guide from transmission to discussion, from the information origin come to model and vice versa, or from push media to pull media; they also signify new arrangements and the meetings of familiar patterns. One of the groups of applications or interactive genres that can be conceptualized as a combination or convergence of traffic patterns is personalized TV.
Personalized TV acquires many models. In its most basic form, personalized TV is a TV with Personal Video Recorder (PVR) – alternatively called Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – for its functionality. This functionality can come from a ‘stand alone’ PVR device such as TiVo or Replay TV, or it can be controlled by a digital set-top box. With full PVR operation, the user can pause during a broadcast as material is stored on the hard disk for later viewing. Likewise, PVR operations facilitate the user to rewind and fast-forward media content through the remote control.
In this manner, viewers can time shift the broadcast; for instance, during a sports event to see a replay of goal, skip over advertisements and so on. A PVR can also be set to automatically record episodes and programs by title, timeslot, actor, theme, rating etc. , and even alter to adjustment in the schedule. Thus PVRs authorize viewers to watch what they desire, when they desire. (Stross, 2002) Other forms of personalized TV permit users to adjust a program such as calling up immediate replays in sports and live news, guiding the plot in dramas or comedies, or choosing their own camera angels in a sports event.
This last kind of service, be your own editor or choose your own camera angle, is based on the principle that the same event, for example, a live transmission of a sports event, is transmitted on several parallel channels where each channel represents a certain camera angle. This way the viewer can ‘zap’ from channel to channel and ‘edit’ his own coverage of the event. So again, this is a service of the ‘push’ type – the information actually comes to you – that from the user’s point of view is experienced as a pull-service, you choose which information you want to receive.
Works Cited Stone, Brad, (7/29/2002) THE WAR FOR YOUR TV, Newsweek, Vol. 140, Issue 5 Stross, Randall E, (1/21/2002) Must-see TV, U. S. News & World Report, Vol. 132, Issue 2 Consoli, John, (1/3/2005) NETWORK TV, Adweek, Vol. 46, Issue 1 Brown, Allan, & Picard, Robert G. (Ed) (2005) Digital Terrestrial Television in Europe. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ. Bryant J. Alison & Bryant, Jennings (Ed) (2001) Television and the American Family. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ.