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Will 2008 be the year for Selectable Output Control?

Ben Drawbaugh

If you've been following the development of HDTV for a long time, then you've probably heard of Selectable Output Control. Years ago before HDMI was a reality and not all HDTVs had DVI ports, component was king; then along came some new DRM that would allow a provider to disable a STB's output that didn't support DRM (read component). Fearing harm to their new pet project, the FCC forbid its use, but left the door open. Now it appears that the door may be opened in 2008 by providers who might require that you use HDMI with HDCP or watch your HD on your older HD set at 480p. According to Scott Greczkowski from, DISH Network has recently started instructing their installers to use HDMI and that if the customer's HDTV doesn't support HDCP, that they shouldn't use HDMI at all -- better to be downconverted, then to not be seen at all. We hope this never happens, but we understand how much pressure providers can be under from the content owners. We don't believe the FCC will ever allow them to lock down everything, but even if only PPV is affected, we'd be bummed.

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