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Subject: [IP] HDMI (HDCP) for HDTV don't get burned! 1080p sets ship

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip Ip <>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 17:41:35 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: August 1, 2005 5:37:51 PM EDT
To:, 'Ip Ip' <>
Cc: &quot;David P. Reed&quot; <>, 'Dewayne Hendricks' <>, &quot;Steven M. Cherry&quot; <>
Subject: RE: [IP] HDMI (HDCP) for HDTV don't get burned! 1080p sets ship

It's interesting to compare two marketplaces -- the TV world is groping towards
1080p and the PC industry long since moved beyond it. This is not a technical
document; this is the definition of particular marketplace hidden beyond
technical mumbo jumbo. I know that the terms are precise and exact but they have
lost their meaning in translation from measurements to legislation.

The spec (rules or whatever) reads like a child's nightmare full of all possible
dangers -- like the travel agent poster from the &quot;Truman&quot; movie showing a plane
crashing with the caption &quot;this could happen to you&quot;.

Once you recognize that interference is an artifact of an inexcusably bad
signaling system (whose main effect seems to be to subvert the US constitution
by creating a cover for prior restraint) this whole exercise seems bizarre and
more about preventing progress than anything else

There's an amazing amount of accidental detail in the specification that
replaces physics with legislation. It's reminds me China 2000 years ago moving
mathematics from academia into the bureaucracy. In programming you learn not to
put arbitrary constants in middle of your code yet I see sentences like &quot;For a
cable terminal device or a TV interface device used with a master antenna, 692.8
times the square root of (R). (They can't even use math notation).

You could easily slip in &quot;For circular device the value of PI shall not exceed 3
nor be less than 4&quot;.

Like China, every element of every system must be registered. Is this to assure
heresy-free signaling? OK, OK, I'll calm down but not too much.

I keep gawking as I read this set of rules (or, in lay terms, this law). I see
mind boggling arbitrary minutia &quot;The cursor moves automatically one column to
the right after each character or Mid-Row Code received.&quot;

No wonder the DTVCC Code Set Mapping harks back to the ancient days of ASCII
code spaces with no recognition of Unicode or the notion of languages with other
character sets.

This is not a specification; this is a design document of the kind that assures
failure because every element is over-specified and interdependent. If the FCC
was prohibited from enforcing the broadcast bit why is it going into such
details about how the device is to be built? I know the answer is that this the
way our grandfathers did when the kinescope was such an amazing and magical

The lessons of the Internet, 802.11 etc simply do not exist in this world. If I
were managing a project that produced this document I would fire everyone
involved because it is evidence of not just bad design but willfully bad design
and utter incompetence. It's like a project when every bug fixed generates two
new ones.

My fear is that in pandering to these rules the manufacturers will make their
devices lame and incapable of innovation. This is why I am upset over
Microsoft's attempt to protect hardware from innovation.

With Microsoft, the ITU, the FCC and others hell-bent to protect us from change
we have reason to be afraid and more reason to be angry. This is why I'm trying
to write about evolutionary systems -- so people start to get the ideas that
these rules leave them poorer rather than protecting them.

I also wish the IEEE were far more proactive in working to decouple the elements
of their specifications. Rather than being proud of charts showing the
interdependencies between the elements these charts should be treated as
evidence of bad design.

Perhaps the reason I find myself &quot;out of the loop&quot; is that my background is
software. I'm used to system designs being malleable and have learned the
importance of decoupling elements. Hardware design has traditionally been less
amenable to such evolution. But we must remember that hardware is just petrified
software ... time to remix.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
David Farber
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 16:50
To: Ip Ip
Subject: [IP] HDMI (HDCP) for HDTV don't get burned! 1080p sets ship

Begin forwarded message:

From: Peter Bachman <>
Date: July 31, 2005 11:01:05 PM EDT
Subject: HDMI (HDCP) for HDTV don't get burned! 1080p sets ship
Reply-To: Peter Bachman <>


(and fellow IP'ers)

There's been some talk about HDMI digital video connections on the list.

If you are planning on buying a new TV soon and are confused by the
various labels on what will work with
your HDTV cable box, (f you still use one), or just hooking up
directly with no box to the cable company via CableCard,
then you may want to look for the &quot;Digital Cable Ready&quot; label. These
started appearing about a year ago in
stores with a DCR logo. It is about your choice to use a set top box
or not.

It is also some degree of assurance that your future
purchase will meet current standards for digital television.

A television thus labeled will come with an HDMI (HDCP enabled)
digital connector that
is required if you want to display &quot;digital&quot;  information from your
cable box when the data is encrypted between cable box
and television. A set that does not have HDCP, but does have DVI or
HDMI won't work. DVI
is also used for computer monitors, not always with HDCP.

There are also &quot;analog&quot; high definition connections that will still
be compatible for some time, known
as &quot;component video&quot;. That's the three connectors, red, green and
blue. What is currently controversial is that
the new upcoming DVD formats may require digital connectors to pass
the HD and above quality DVD signals. Thus
an HDMI connector with HDCP is your safest bet to be able to hook up
with the high definition DVD formats
that will be introduced in the near future.

&quot;This digital television is capable of receiving analog basic,
digital basic and digital premium cable television
programming by direct connection to a cable system providing such
programming. A security card

provided by your cable operator is required to view encrypted digital
programming. Certain advanced and

interactive digital cable services such as video-on-demand, a cable
operator's enhanced program guide

and data-enhanced television services may require the use of a set-
top box. For more information call

your local cable operator.&quot;

The whole can be read at the following link.

Note that certain DVD players that will operate in  the new 1080p
format this Fall or later, (above current current HDTVquality) may
enforce &quot;downrezzing&quot; the signal,( i.e. reducing thequality of the
signal to the current level obtained with your current progressive
scan DVD player) if you do not use the supported HDMI connectors and
cables. Televisions are now available that support 1080p but the DVD
players will be arriving in two different formats, like Beta and VHS
started out.



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