back to article YouView mandates Linux, HD content encryption

YouView has posted the technical specifications set-top box and TV makers will need to follow in order to support the would-be standard IPTV platform. The specs will please punters who favour the Linux operating system - it's the mandated OS for YouView-compatible devices - but will annoy anyone who hopes to shift recorded HD …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Hopefully this should result in a nice selection of boxes to strip the youview stuff off and turn into a nice mythTV box perhaps with builtin bittorrent/usenet support for that new fangled TV by internet stuff.

    They might become the next dbox2 :)

    1. ElNumbre
      Thumb Up

      Maybe, maybe.

      Hopefully they'll release the GPL sauce without requiring too much encouragement.

      And hopefully mfrs will leave serial connections or exploitable holes to gain root so the fun can commence. At worst, I'm sure there'll be JTAG on the board.

  2. spodula


    As much as i like linux, i think Mandating an OS for a device is a mistake.

    Personally, if i wanted to build something like this, i would go for something that could be stripped down more like one of the BSD's.

    Of course, the balance is, if they didnt specify an OS, you know some muppet would put Windows CE on it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol encryption

    just like Blu ray encryption stopped people from pirating movies, and the PS3 has never been hacked.

    When will people learn.

  4. Bakunin

    Locked down, locked in and locked out.

    It's reasons like this that I'll stick with my Mythtv box for as long as the standard broadcast signal is still available. I can record what I want when I want and play it back on any device at any time. Plus no "material pushed to the device by content providers".

    The sad thing is most users aren't patch wearing pirates. The just want easy functionality to stream where they like and enjoy content when *they* want.

    Still, it starts a whole new game of cat and mouse and the encryption get's broken and changed every few generations.

  5. Greg J Preece

    Whut, no gigabit?

    Can we please stop tacking piss-cheap 10/100Mbps ports onto kit that should really be using an almost equally piss-cheap gigabit port by now? Never mind that these specs are for an IPTV box! It's not like gigabit Ethernet just rocked up or anything. 802.3ab was ratified in 1999 for Christ's sake.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This is minimum spec, so why would they require Gigabit?

      Is that for your Gigabit internet connection, to your gigabit ADSL router?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      1) Calm down a bit, the lack of a gigabit port is hardly the end of the world.

      2) HD can be moved over 100Mb/s without any problem, so why bother to install a gigabit port? 100 meg is less expensive and uses less processor overhead.

  6. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    All this encryption is to stop me from using the content the way I see fit and I am supposed to pay for it?

    How about just building a vending machine where you drop a coin and get a kick in the balls as the reward?

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      We have one of those at work.

      It's great!

  7. druck Silver badge

    Existing devices

    Any clue if existing devices such as the Humax HDR Fox-T2 are compatible, and might get YouView as OTA upgrade?

    1. Bob H

      No upgrade

      It is unlikely that any manufacturer will be upgrading any boxes to YouView. The hardware requirements are much greater than exists in any product that has been released so far (RAM, NVM and CPU).

      Humax have stated that the HDR-Fox T2 won't be upgraded for a number of these reasons and more besides.


      Bob (ex Humax)

  8. Bugs R Us

    And why would I want one of these?

    Quite happy with an Atom NetTop running Windows Media Center and uTorrent pulling down "releases" from various parts of the net.

  9. McBread
    Dead Vulture

    Am I tripping?

    It looks like El Reg. It says El Reg. And yet it's a Youview article without frothing-at-the-mouth. I'm confused.

  10. William Boyle

    Fark them!

    I am totally committed against any form of DRM. It is an insult and totally unacceptable. Given what we pay per month for video services, let the content providers split the wealth and not encumber us with cruft that destroys our viewing experience, or makes it impossible for us to move our content around as we see fit. Deal with piracy through the legal channels, and stop treating customers as thieves. To me, that smacks of slander!

  11. John Savard Silver badge

    Minimal Restrictions

    While the overwhelming majority of content would be copyrighted content which is intended to be protected, if content is broadcast without encryption, and even without a flag to indicate that it is copyrighted content not authorized for unrestricted recording, then the system should not be forced to bother with encrypting it on the disk.

    And it should be allowed to have analogue HD ports on which that, and only that, content would be available. So one could connect an old HD monitor without HDCP to it, and just watch silent movies and films from NASA and so on.

    Mandating that the system take proper care of protected content is legitimate. Mandating that it deny people access to unprotected content, including their own home movies, as if it were protected is not.

    Also they should use BSD instead of Linux. That way, they won't be legally obligated by the GPL to release the source of their software so that hackers can read it and figure out exactly where to circumvent the protection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      is pretty much the standard OS for all STBs these days (we're not talking a full-blown GNU/Linux distro, but a most likely heavily-customized embedded Linux build consisting of kernel, probably Busybox utilities and a custom software stack). Most of the code that runs on these boxes is proprietary as it doesn't involve modifications to the kernel, and while they'll distribute any parts they do have to to comply with GPL they'll not make much sense unless you have access to the other parts of the stack.

  12. stewski

    BBC where is my TV

    On The BBC iPlayer.

    Did we not already pay for the BBC (self produced) content.

    Why can I not download any previous program ever, quit it with the DVDs and 7 day limits!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's about control

      If you could actually download and replay their shows (past the poxy 7 day limit), then it follows that you can choose what you want to watch.

      And if you can choose what you want to watch, it follows that you won't watch the overwhelming majority of shit programs that make up their schedule on an average week.

      What I find interesting is that since TV stations have started putting their shows on Youtube, (particularly Channel 4), their ratings (recorded by the Youtube view counter) have been terrible. A couple thousand views on some shows. And the large majority of those people hit the "thumbs down" button.

      TV execs are finally realising that all these years they were talking about having millions of viewers, fuck all people were actually watching. Fast edits and minor celebs does not a good TV show make.

      Their solution to this, of course, is a misguided attempt at controlling the viewer. They think that they can just force us to watch their crap shows. But they forgot one thing: they have already failed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        There is the matter of actors' repeat fees to be dealt with, lots of BBC programs were made before VOD could even be imagined and actors contracts said that they got a small fee for each repeat. This kind of screws up VOD systems.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Customer requirements...

    we've heard of them.

    (Expletive deleted) DRM.

  14. Christian Berger Silver badge

    It may sound strange to such product managers....

    ... but in order to succeed you need to have a marginally better product than the competition. Putting on more restrictions won't win over more customers.

    When will legal content providers finally learn that the only way to beat pirates is to drop DRM. Just look at the music business. It boomed the moment DRM was dropped. The same thing happened with DVD. Once the encryption was broken, the format boomed.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "any previous BBC program ever" => "BBC Creative Archive" (RIP)

    "Why can I not download any previous BBC program ever"

    Good question. In fact the BBC top management did promise almost exactly that at one point. It (the "BBC Creative Archive") was announced in a blaze of publicity by Greg Dyke (BBC DG) at the Edinburgh Television Festival in 2003. Where is it now? Invisible. Abandoned? Why?

    News report:

    Press release (including link to full text of speech):

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "100 meg ... uses less processor overhead"

    How does 100 meg use less processor overhead than GbE? If you've negotiated down to 100Mbit, then the overhead is likely identical, but if both ends (and any bits in between) do GbE with jumbo frames then potentially the GbE wins hands down because there are far fewer frames to transfer and therefore the frame-related overhead becomes far smaller too.

  17. David Beck

    I just want a catch-up TV platform

    Am I alone in not understanding this set-top box business? I though YouView was a common IPTV platform for catch-up TV. What is being talked about is a set-top box which replicates the functions of boxes I already have. Why exactly would I buy one? I would just like to rationalise the api to catch-up TV so I can watch all catch-up from my Sony Blu-ray player, instead of, as it is now, connecting a laptop to the TV for access to the multiple APIs. Of course I still want access via the laptop as I use it when I travel and that is when I use catch-up TV the most (the shows I normally watch are on the DVR at home). Sure hope iPlayer doesn't go, or any of the other APIs. I'd hate to be driven to BT to find TV shows I currently watch legally.

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