Microsoft Patches “Broadcast Flag”/CGMS-A Issues

Today Microsoft is will a patch to correct the issues seen
in last month’s reported “Broadcast
Flag” issues
.  In reality, the fix is
for CGMS-A and the official word is still that Media Center doesn’t support the
Broadcast Flag.  Last month’s issue propagated from CGMS-A being on the
analog source data that was broadcast by NBC.

The patch changes functionality in Media Center for CGMS-A
on antenna and non-STB configurations where CGMS-A CopyNever (1:1) will be recorded as CopyOnce (1:0) effectively
ending the “Recording Prohibited” messages seen last month.  This means if CGMS-A finds its way onto an
OTA broadcast it will always be recorded, but if CGMS-A is set it will be
protected once recorded.  If you are
using analog cable (no STB) the same takes places.

For configurations using STBs, this patch doesn’t fix any of
the existing CGMS-A issues which include incorrect and otherwise excessive
CopyNever flags (Sorry Canadians).  I’ve
made sure this issue is still on the table at Microsoft, but currently there is
no official fix (other than unplugging your STB).  Personally I’d like to see the issue fixed in
the same manor, but that does present issues with content that is supposed to
be CopyNever on an STB.  The other option
would be to just disable CGMS-A when Media Center is setup using a Canadian
postal code.

The patch should be up on Windows Update now (KB950126 – June Cumulative Update) and related download link is posted below.

Related: June 2008
Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista (KB950126)

Update: As noted on
the CE Installer blog
this doesn’t cover CableCARD which comes with
CableLabs regulations.  With that said, the majority of the issues with
CableCARD could be
software conflicts rather than content flags
.  If you are having major
issues with CableCARD and Restricted Content messages, please leave a comment
here and/or post
it to this thread on The Green Button

4 thoughts on “Microsoft Patches “Broadcast Flag”/CGMS-A Issues

  1. CopyNever is still a mess on CableCARD, too. Microsoft’s workaround is to remove the CableCARD from the OCUR receiver when you want to record (and placeshift) an analog or Clear QAM channel.

    Okay, so I’m supposed to remove my CableCARD when I’m 500 miles away from home, so that my TV show will be emailed to me. Right…

    As much as I’d prefer Media Center to TiVo HD, I’m so un-confident that they’ll be fixed (before Fiji at least), that I just inked a one year contract with TiVo.

  2. Ok, So Media Center doesn’t “officially” support the broadcast flag, but CGMS-A is just as bad since it has the potential to restrict what can be done with OTA recordings.

    Since Microsoft is modifying CGMS-A to ignore the CopyNever setting, why not just ignore the CGMS-A flag completely and avoid any future bugs/problems that might come up with it. Since there is _nothing_ (i.e. laws, etc.) requiring Microsoft to support either CGMS-A or the broadcast flag.

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