MPAA dangles early HD VOD releases, in exchange for closing that pesky analog hole

Moving beyond day-and-date releases via internet and HD video-on-demand, movie studios may be ready to move towards regularly putting movies online ahead of the DVD release date for a premium price -- that surveys say some of us are willing to pay -- but prepare to have your analog hole plugged again. The MPAA petitioned the FCC earlier this month to lift the existing ban preventing cable and satellite providers from remotely disabling analog outputs on their set-top boxes via selectable output controls (SOC). In a bit of ICT redux, the movie studios haven't said definitively that they will use the technology, but insist on having the ability to force anyone wanting to view high definition movies to only see them through an HDCP-protected HDMI output to a compatible TV. The failure of AACS and BD+ to prevent high quality copies isn't a deterrent to the MPAA's push, so while ICT has gone unused on Blu-ray and HD DVD, we're still too fond of our component outs, switchers and homemade cables -- and too wary of a future change in policy -- to support any changes in the law.