The FCC has approved a request by the Motion Picture Association of America that will allow film studios to block analogue video output on certain devices. The move comes after 2 years of lobbying by the MPAA.
Outputs and ports will be blocked for up to 90 days using SOC technology. SOC stands for selectable output control. The reason that it wants the output blocked is to cut down on movie piracy, especially for newly released titles. Analogue output is much easier to copy than its digital equivalent you see.
There are plans in the US to release titles via on-demand services in the period between the end of a movie's cinema run and its release onto DVD and Blu-ray. The MPAA would only agree to this proposal if it was given SOC in return. It said that these titles were "too valuable in this early release window to risk their exposure to unauthorised copying, redistribution or other unauthorised activities".
This doesn't affect us here in Blighty as of yet, but the FCC's ruling could have major implications across the whole film industry, ranging from companies who will be worried that a new on-demand service may affect cinema goers, to Blu-ray distributors who may also see their revenues fall as a result of the ever increasing on-demand services.
Is on-demand the way forward for the film industry? Hollywood certainly thinks so, if the FCC's ruling is anything to go by.