Microsoft Confirms That Windows Media Centers Use The Broadcast Flag

from the reasons-not-to-buy dept

While NBC Universal still won’t say if it set the flags on certain shows recently that would prevent them from being recorded, Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Media Centers do abide by the “broadcast flag.” You may recall that the broadcast flag was widely debated for a few years, as the entertainment industry tried to legally force consumer electronics makers to include technology that wouldn’t allow certain content to be recorded (at the content producers’ discretion). Eventually, the courts wouldn’t let the FCC mandate the broadcast flag, and Congress hasn’t been willing to put it into any serious legislation. However, apparently Microsoft decided to implement it anyway. Nice of them to implement a “feature” that customers don’t want. Update: It took them a week, but folks at NBC Universal are finally claiming that it was an accident that they set the broadcast flag triggers on shows last week. It’s not clear why it took them a week to get back to’s Greg Sandoval on this.

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Companies: microsoft, nbc universal

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Comments on “Microsoft Confirms That Windows Media Centers Use The Broadcast Flag”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Rajio, would you like to provide proof for your asinine statement?

He’s probably just using “Mike speak”. That’s where a broad, unlimited statement is calimed to be true if there is any case where it’s true (as opposed to having to be true for all cases). In this case, Rajio didn’t say ALL Macs, he just said A Mac. Now, he didn’t say which one, so as long as there is any Mac anywhere that won’t let you record TV for whatever reason, according to the rules of “Mike speak” the statement is true.

D says:

Re: Re:

Can you play games on ubuntu like you can on xp/vista, or torrent. And can you use Photoshop CS3. And what security programs, video player, music player are their for ubuntu. Because Mac user have no security at all.

but vista is to mac for me, or should I say that it is to user friendly that it becomes not use friendly. because I want to get in the guts of the machine and make Customized for Me. But the Mac end I can’t take; the fact that everything Mac you don’t own you are just rent it from Apple. Can you even change the font or background on a mac because I know to can’t on the iPod; with the brightest screen ever even on low. But that is why I hacked mine.

And a mac will leave every program running all the time (which slows it down a lot, but that’s why a mac is 3 times the computer and price; as the same thing on the xp end), and make like 5 copies of the same file (don’t for get in miss lables most of my music Beatles, Beatles, Beatles, The Beatles, The Beatles, or no name at all) ahh! Ahh! Fucking Itunes Crap! And the only reason people don’t hack mac’s is because people that use mac’s have no idea how to use a computer.

Mac dose come up with cool ideas but they are always locked up or weird; like the slim laptop that over heat and shuts off a core. Or some headphone can plug in the the side port. Cool isn’t it. Way To Go Mac! And I love the fact that Apple in the begin was Anti-Corporate but now locks every thing. Which is vary corporate!

To end, I have asks is their support for different codecs that FLAC. And why Do Mac user leave their computer on all the time, like for weeks even months without turn using it.
So, I love the people that talk about going green and they own a mac. Plus you can upgrade a mac computer in the future. So, you have to drop another 2,000 dollars in 8 years ; instead of 100 to 600 in few upgrade a long the way. Waste money and destroy the environment at the same time. Don’t forget about all the coal being burn for power)

Sorry for the raint (and Sp errors).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Can you play games on ubuntu like you can on xp/vista — WINE

or torrent. — Transmission

And can you use Photoshop CS3. — Not yet, if memory serves me.

And what security programs — Why? There’s antivirus software such as ClamAV that detects Windows viruses. There’s several firewalls to choose from.

video player — Take your pic. I prefer VLC.

music player are their for ubuntu — Amarok, Banshee, XMMS. Amarok is my choice. It’s better than anything you’ll find on ANY other platform IMO.

Because Mac user have no security at all — …what?

Jared says:

Re: Re: Re:

D….wow. Just….wow. My Mac is so much more capable out of the box than any windows machine, it’s laughable. You’ve obviously never used a Mac. “And a mac will leave every program running all the time…” that’s why you QUIT applications rather than just close their windows. “Can you even change the font or background on a Mac…” Yes. I happen to have a gorgeous one from DigitalBlasphemy right now. You talk about fonts and backgrounds as if they’re real customizations and then you say that people that use macs have no idea how to use a computer? You’re what…11? Maybe when you graduate middle school you’ll have a better grasp of computers as well as the english language.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Windows Emulators and virtual machines work very well for linux and mac.

As for leaving every program running, and five copies… You are computer illiterate boy. To stop the program from running you just have to click on the blue apple symbol and go quit. And the five copies? You’re getting signals from MARS. I mean itunes works pretty well if you use it right.

No clue how to use computers? Could YOU repair a computer that had it’s desktop folder renamed? Can you do more then ‘double click to open’? Only one thing pisses me off about macs, and that’s that they come with a single button mouse, which is, frankly, stupid. But if you plug in a double button mouse, or a double button and wheel, it supports left and right click, and wheelscroll.

There’s mac security software, and actually macs only cost about $200 more then the windows equivalent… before you factor in productivity software. Including Microsoft Office Works Suite in the price of a windows machine greatly narrows the price gap.

Nice incoherent rant about Mac being corporate? I’m not certain what you’re trying to imply, but whatever.

Mac users leave their computers on because they don’t get buggy with time on like windows machines do. It’s easier to just let it go to sleep then to turn it off, and the log in noise is… irritating.

Coal burn? Jackass, we mostly burn OIL. And Macs are upgradable, it’s just that the parts are non-generic. You can STILL buy the parts and install them in the chasis.

Matt (profile) says:

Give SageTV a try...

Just thought I through out some free shilling for my favorite PVR app SageTV (which has no DRM). SageTV has Linux, windows and mac versions. Of course there are many other goods apps for rolling your own DVR. MythTV is the standard available on linux and Sage’s main windows competitor’s are Beyound TV and GBpvr. All of these offer more features than MCE.

Freedom says:

Mac = Freedom to Copy - Please!

I don’t know what dreamland you are living in, but thinking that Apple is pro-consumer and would allow copying when push comes to shove is a joke. Apple built it’s new empire on DRM and I can see no reason why it would stop now. Apple’s goal is to lock you into its world of products and if they can use the industry’s need for DRM as an excuse to do so, it will.

FWIW, the common thread going around a free years back was that all devices built had to honor the broadcast flag for when if it ever became enabled. I remember a little mini-rush to get ATSC Capture/Tuner cards that were made before the magic cross over date. Sounds to me like Microsoft was just following the law and that NBC “illegally” activated the flag.


Griffon (profile) says:

Re: Mac = Freedom to Copy - Please!

What law are they following? That is the whole point there is no law requiring MS or anyone else to honor any flagging at all. They have have, once again, in attempt to romance the IP owners, sold their users down the river. They colluded with IP owners to strip consumers of rights. Now the IP owners couldn’t make a law stick they can make folks like MS tow the line and honor the system or take away other business opportunity’s. Sadly this little accident is taste of what will come.

You can capture OTA to mac and mythtv, sage, mytivo and many other great platforms (and I can’t think of a one that supports the broadcast flag in software) but right now consumers are pretty much SOL when it comes to cable or satellite to their own PC’s, unless you use the vista cable certified box and tuners. The DRM there makes this flagging look like stroll through the rose bushes.

Save the world: Don't MICROSOFT says:

Microsoft Confirms That Windows Media Centers Use The Broadcast Flag

Why are the people stupid buying Microsoft products? the side with RIAA. Use Linux. I stopped of using WMP (Windows Media Player) after I tried to play a song, and my Zones Alarm’s Firewall said that WMP was trying to acces the Internet and asK me to allow or deny, of course I denied. In that way they are trying to sniff in your system to know what you have or don’t have. I got the feeling they inform record labels and holywood about it

bobbknight says:


It should be obvious today that Micro$oft has set in software, what congress would not set in law.
The reason no action was taken by congress regarding the broadcast flag, was that M$ had already agreed to put it into it’s OS.

We have gone from as a nation:




Insurrection NOW!!!!

His Shadow says:

Freedom is an Idiot

“Apple built it’s new empire on DRM and I can see no reason why it would stop now.”

It built it’s ’empire’ on providing hardware and software that just works, and they established their market share on merit, not lock in. Guess what? You can buy an iPod and use iTunes and never ever once do you ever have to buy a song from iTunes, which means you will never ever be exposed to their DRM. If that’s lock in, bring it on. If using industry standard filesystems like AAC and MP3 is lock in, you simply don’t know what ‘lock in’ means.

VJ connoisseur says:

Any Content must be at the discretion of content owner

I strongly believe in Content Protection & want to act as a public prosecutor for Hollywood. I like the Philosophy of Microsoft in this case ( i am not big fan of Steve Balmer either !! ). It is not about the coolness or freedom ….it is about the right thing to do business Vs otherwise.

Let me give you an analogy:
US Tax Payers pay a lot of tax and pay high costs for Prescription also because part of the money enables the research of innovative new medicines. Once the research is done, how about copying the formula and manufacturing in China and users now pay only 10 cents for the same medicine which costed $10 for US consumers.

How many of you think this is injustice…..?? If you think it is indeed injustice, you belong to my camp.

The same thing is for broadcast flag. What kind of justice is it to copy the content freely ( in the name of freedom to copy ), when Hollywood workers works day and night to innovate stories and build creative content for you ?? Hollywood is an about patenting of new ideas ?? You percieve a new idea, somebody in japan builds a new engine ?? How about this ..?? You like this ..haa..

Let me explain my dear friends here with a question and answer :

Will I be able to trade high-definition episodes of Sex and City with other people?

No. That’s exactly what the broadcast flag aims to stop
Remember …you may be able to make and
trade lower-resolution recordings if you keep the same equipment ( tivo box ).

That’s the surprising loophole in the broadcast-flag scheme: Copyright holders seem willing to put up with bootlegs on the Net, as long as they aren’t bit-for-bit high-definition copies.

The flag isn’t so much a roadblock as a speed bump.

This kind of content protection only comes into play when you’re playing protected content. You’ll still be able to record and play shows as usual.

Steve Jobs where are you sitting now..Please take my name from folks..can you allow me to copy all pixar movies bit by bit so that i can go to London and setup a new ‘my pixar’ shop to sell all pixar movies. You got to come to the table and implement full content protection some day in Mac…I know you will eventually …i will blog again for your sake.

You cannot have it both ways…hm….hmmm…hm…….

I was just having fun… In fact I like steve forbes..Nothing against Steve Forbes OR Steve Balmer.

I stronly believe it is the owner’s discretion..Owner of creative content needs to be paid at all times. No questions please !!

Twinrova says:

No subject

It’s not clear why it took them a week to get back to’s Greg Sandoval on this.
It wasn’t an accident despite any claim to the contrary. It was a test, and the test failed quickly. Given all the news of NBC lately, it’s the more logical option of what really happened.

Fight back. Fast forward TV commercials. Quit buying music. Quit buying DVDs. Quit going to the movies. Read a book.

Until you fight back, expect many, many, many more ways for the industry to bend you over while stripping you of your hard earned cash.

Otherwise, shut the hell up and enjoy your DRM entertainment.

Silverwolf (user link) says:

Not a new issue

The broadcast flag has been implemented since the very first version of Windows Media Center I believe.

I remember reading an article about it way back in 2004, I wasn’t able to find the exact article but I did find a review of the Media Center Extender in 2004 that mentions the broadcast flag as a limitation.

Here’s an excerpt:
One other odd limitation for the short term is that the first generation Extender devices won’t be able to display live or recorded TV shows that are protected by the new broadcast flag copyright protection technology. As of this writing, only HBO and Cinemax are using this technology, but other stations are likely to join them soon.

The Full article can be found at the following link:

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