Welcome to some new initials - DRM, HDCP, DTCP and AACS!
This time, no DOGs, just the equally snappy subject of DRM, or for those unfamiliar with the topic, Digital Rights Management (and to clear up the others, they stand for High bandwidth Digital Content Protection, Digital Transmission Content Protection, and Advanced Access Content System). Wikipedia as ever offers a helpful set of guides to the topic - try any of these links: DRM, HDCP, DTCP and AACS.
For those who'd rather stay with BBC HD and the subject let me try to explain the issues and what's going on.
The combination of high quality HD content, and connectivity to high quality copying and distribution devices (through blu-ray recorders and IP connectivity) is - if you are a rights' holder - a potentially pretty lethal one.
At the moment, within the UK, it is impossible to record from HD to unprotected devices or recorders, or to connect to them. That means in practice that SD copies (VHS and DVD) are allowed, that you can copy and time-shift HD content using your PVR internal hard disk, but you cannot connect your HD infrastructure to a home network, or to the Internet.
Maybe that has already caused you some frustration - either actual or anticipated. So I want to reassure you that as the steady onward march of blu-ray technology towards the UK continues, the situation is generating a very real debate within the BBC about how we can best enable you to use the devices that you buy in the ways that you want to, while effectively protecting the content we make, and that in many cases others make for us.
While the discussion is ongoing, we have made one change which I hope those of you focused on the imminent arrival of blu-ray recorders will welcome. It will now be possible to make a single HD Blu-ray copy of one of our programmes, although not copies of copies. An HD connection to a protected home network will also be possible, although an HD connection to the Internet or portable devices will not work. The diagram below I think sums up the various paths you might want your HD content to take - and the extent to which that will be possible. I should add that the partial unlocking of some paths should also enable the high quality standard definition RGB outputs from some set top boxes.
This is clearly not a fully open and connected world - but we are absolutely committed to continuing to find ways to allow you to enjoy our programmes as you choose.
Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision.