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Universal Changes Stance on Downresing HD Content on Analog HDTVs Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 March 2006
Universal Studios Home Video has released an official statement on their stance on the Image Constraint Token (ICT) flag in the upcoming HD-DVD high definition disk format. Universal originally expressed support for the ICT, but now joins four of the six major studios speaking out against ICT. ICT is a software flag that would downsample the output of the consumer’s HD-DVD player to 540 lines of vertical resolution when outputting to an analog monitor. Support for this type of flagging was originally conceived by the major motion picture studios in order to prevent piracy of their copyrighted materials. In an effort to prevent high definition copies of their HD-DVD releases, ICT was developed to only allow an output of 540 lines to analog devices, such as recorders. However, consumers have made their opposition known, arguing that early generation models of HDTVs will only be able to read the downsampled signal.

Until the change from analog monitors to HD becomes more widely popular, it seems that at least the first-generation of HD-DVDs are going to have the ICT flagged turned off. The one exception however being Warner Home Video, which appears to have sent their first HD-DVD releases into production with the ICT flag turned on.

With reports of over 7,000,000 owners with HDTVs that can’t make the digital handshake that movie studios would like for content protection and the fear of both a class action law suit or worse – consumers not jumping on board with the new formats has Hollywood home video executives changing their tune about they way they may or may not flag their content. It is looking more and more likely that in the early days of the HD disc formats most, if not all of the studios, will be going without protection.


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