Media Center's Do Not Record Broadcast Flag Is Still Alive

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Recently, some Windows Media Center owners were blocked from recording American Gladiators and Medium because of an incorrectly set broadcast flag from NBC. What's the deal here? The broadcasters (NBC, ABC, HBO) can turn on a flag in their data stream that tells whatever DVR machine on your end that it's NOT alright to record a show, protecting Pay-Per-View or premium channel content from being archived. This has actually been around for years.

Microsoft's had this ability in Media Center to prevent specific shows from being recorded for a while, and the last time there was an error was a few years back during an episode of the Simpsons. It's not something broadcasters usually do. This also isn't a unique thing to Microsoft—TiVo has something similar but not quite as severe—it does illustrate the fact that if the providers wanted to, they could shut down your Media Center DVR right now and you couldn't do much about it. [JustinJas via Ars Technica]