The makers of TiVo and ReplayTV digital video recorders have agreed to limit how long consumers can keep pay-for-view movies stored on future versions of the VCR-like devices.
The new technology also will allow Hollywood movie studios and broadcasters to regulate how often movies purchased through pay-for-view services can be watched. Digital video recorders that recognize these new copy restrictions will begin appearing in the spring of 2005. But it could be years before entertainment companies begin to take advantage of the technology.
Max Ochoa, associate general counsel of San Jose-based TiVo, told the Mercury News that consumers won’t be ambushed by the copy restrictions. Their television screen will display warnings that a pay-per-view movie comes with certain restrictions. The limitations are the trade-off for advanced services, such as video-on-demand, he said.
Macrovision, the Santa Clara company that developed and licensed the copy protection technology, said it should not change the way consumers now use their TiVo or ReplayTV devices.
Rather, it is intended to answer piracy and business concerns that have prevented the studios from releasing films to cable pay-per-view services on the same day they appear on DVD.
The copy protection technology also will begin appearing next year on other consumer electronics products capable of recording television shows and movies, such as personal computer media centers.