Monday, February 19, 2007

Watch Out! Your Electronics Store Is Lying To You!

Let me clarify the post below. WATCH OUT! If you're buying a recordable CD player or a recordable DVD player, or a DVD player with a recordable hard-drive or a Tivo-like device or any combination of those devices that you expect to work as advertised with your digital cable, your satellite system, your computer and so on -- well don't. More and more, all these devices are built to NOT work in the typical way you would expect and with the channels or devices you want. You CAN'T make copies of some shows on digital radio and play them on your iPod-like device. You CAN'T record movies off Turner Classic Movies, even though that's what you bought the device for and Congress explicitly said you have that legal right. You CAN'T switch media you bought and own easily from your computer to your TV to your phone or your iPod and so on. You CAN'T make duplicate copies of your movies and shows to keep in your car for long trips with the kids or on your boat or your summer house or just downstairs in the den. You can't do all sorts of things that you and other law-abiding citizens should be able to do and have nothing to do with piracy. And the reason is a web of collusion between manufacturers of those devices and the media conglomerates behind movies, tv shows and music. And this problem is only going to get worse.


Anonymous said...

Don't know if this will help anyone, but there are MP3 players produced by a company called Archos that has, as an optional accessory, a DVR station. Plug it into the station, set a time and channel, and the unit will record it. I just bought my player 2 weeks ago, and I don't have the DVR station yet, so I don't know if it works.

FYI, before I left for work this morning, I was recording a copy of Poltergeist from TCM this weekend onto a different MP3 player via my Tivo. Won't know until I get home if it worked, but it was recording when I left just fine. Go figure...

Oh, and the Archos player, apparently, WILL record copyrighted, copy-protected material. Using that DVR station, you can record from a DVD or VHS tape. If the source is copy-protected, the Archos player will layer on another bit of copy-protection, which will make the recording unusuable on any other MP3 player, or if you try to switch it to your computer, or if you use the AV out to play it on another TV, OR if you try to burn it onto a DVD or pay it off to tape. But the program WILL play on your player, just only on your player. Again, haven't tried it, don't know how it works, but that is, supposedly what it's able to do. The players aren't as small and sleek as ipods, but those are nice options to have,

Michael in New York said...

Interesting. I ended up paying $100 for a Sima CT-200, a device that blocks the signal from the cable company that disables your DVD recorder, VHS player and so on. That way, you can tape most anything onto blank DVDs or VHS tapes and play them on multiple devices (which is your legal right) rather than being restricted to a handheld device like the iPod or Archos. That's an interesting twist that they offer, though.