What is broadcast flag?
A broadcast flag is a digital data stream status bit that identifies the unauthorized recording of a digital TV broadcast and thus prevents it. Broadcast flags prohibit the recording of high definition (HD) digital video in its high definition format.
Broadcast flag applications are encrypted and implemented in protected media to prevent the illegal exchange of digital content over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks that violate copyright law. Broadcast flags also eliminate the need to store digital programs on hard drives and prevent high quality digital images from being altered.
Any illegal attempt to record copyrighted movies, songs and TV shows will be stopped immediately when technical protections are implemented via broadcast flag applications. Data streaming status bits interrupt these types of recordings and potentially faulty distributions.
Broadcast flags use certain restrictions as follows:
Restricts users from saving a digital program to hard drive or other non-volatile storage
Prevents copying of secondary digital content recordings for sharing or archiving
Reduces the quality of digital content while recording
Restricts users from skipping ads
In November 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioned the integration of broadcast flag technology for all digital TV sets shipped after July 2005. Several restrictions were introduced. Hence, many see this mandate as a violation of consumer rights. However, completely restricting the downloading and uploading of digital TV content is difficult because of the numerous non-broadcast flag devices available.
Even compatible broadcast flag devices have analog connections. Analog files or programs can easily be converted to digital format by plugging analog connectors into a computer.