The Digital Media Manifesto



C. Schultz


Use case No. 02: Home User



1. Introduction

The purpose of this contribution is to use the methodology proposed in 030701chiariglione01 for the specific use case "Home User" (HU). This document will be based on material contained in emails sent by Chiariglione, Greenhall, Herrick, Jephcott, Marti, Schultz and Sestini.

What is considered in this use case is the Home user.  If all other use cases are considered in isolation with possible differing objectives and requirements being placed on the end-user side, the whole system is bound for failure do to either complexity, which the end-user will reject, or escalated costs for supporting multiple termini in either different devices or the same device, which both the end-user and the manufacturer will reject. 

Note : This use case does not consider the situation where content may be used for creative or professional purposes but also would not preclude the ability to support such use in the home environment.  A separate use case covering the creative/professional use case is suggested.

This contribution is at a very early stage of development. It is hoped that it will stimulate much-needed refinements and, also, contributions on other use cases.

2. Description of the traditional Home-user

For this use case, the following term and definition will be used.  Traditional Media (TM) - Whereas Digital Media, as used here, refers to digital content independent of any physical media or acquisition method used to receive it, Traditional media is fairly tightly bound, in the minds of users and consumers as well as in the minds of many others in the chain of players, with the physical media on which content is distributed.  Consumers generally don't buy a selection/collection of the works by Shakespeare, they buy a book of Shakespeare, similar with LP, Cassette, and even CDs, MDs and DVDs.  In other words, the “ownership” of TM is very much tied to the physical media whereas in DM, it is the use of the content that "defines" it.

With more traditional types of entertainment media, the traditional home user has had a number of possible methods for accessing and interacting with physical media, and contained licensed content that one had purchased or rented.  Although it is important to note that the HU at no time actually owned the content one’s self but instead owned the media on which it was recorded, the HU was rarely restricted as to accessing or interacting with the content.  A couple of notable exceptions were the VHS tape copy protection method and DVDs.

2.1 Traditional functions

Besides the obvious functions of viewing, reading or listening to content, the HU has had a number of other abilities. 

a.      Time shifting broadcast content.

b.      Transporting content from one device in the home to another either inside the home or outside.

c.      Resell content (in the original physical form of the media into which it is "packaged").

d.      Lend content in a relatively unrestricted way.

e.      Transcoding content either for archival or ease of use purposes.  Examples of this are from broadcast to magnetic tape, LP to cassette, CD to MD, CD to MP3, etc.

f.       The ability to play any content of a given type on any device designed to support the specific physical media type

g.      The ability to “reorganize” stored content.

It must be noted that even though these functions were possible, their actual execution was not always simple (e.g. programming a VCR or creating a play list of songs)

As long as the HU did not mass produce and redistribute time shifted or transcoded content, cassettes or tapes etc., the HU could basically do anything desired with either the original media and content purchased or any copies made. 

More recently an HU is able to rip CDs and load the ripped files into an MP3 players.

2.2 Traditional value chain players

The value chain players important for the traditional Home user are

1.      PAs setting the legislative environment in which HUs exist and govern at a high level the rights of copyright holders as well as HUs.

2.       Content creators/right holders

3.      Sources of TM:

a.       Retail outlets

b.      Rentals

c.       Television broadcasters, air, cable

d.      Radio broadcasters, air, cable.

e.       Libraries.

4.      CE and other Manufacturers.

5.      Producers of promotional material (magazines etc.).


2.3 Technologies used in the traditional use case

The technology available to the HU today, as it has always been in the past, is a mixture of new technology and older technology but the same basic devices continue to exist, TV, video recorder, stationary audio equipment, portable audio equipment, computer, etc.

2.4 Legislative framework of the traditional use case

a.      Copyright laws

b.      Blank recordable media surcharges.

c.      The Digital Millenium Copyright Act and related legislation in other territories (particularly relevant vis DVD)

d.      Others?


2.5 Business model of the traditional use case

Business models depend on the way content reaches the home

1.      OTA broadcast

2.      CATV broadcast

3.      Pay TV broadcast

4.      CD/CC/DVD

5.    others?

Study of the relevant business models is not made here because this will (should) be done under each case.


3. Description of the digital use case

For the HU, simplicity of use and access is generally more important than the actual level of interest in specific content itself.  If content use requires complex configurations or equipment changing for new or different types of DM, interest in DM will be reduced as compared to the simplicity of use of TM. 

Besides the possible complexity of configuring a given device, being limited to specific devices for specific types of content as well as requiring a number of different devices for different content of the same type will lead to a reduced interest as well (what does this mean?)


3.1 Functions of the digital use case

Provides, to the Home user, exactly the same functionality as well as freedom of use as was enjoyed with previous types of content.  But also, provide the same functionality whether content is protected or not or even if different content is protected in different ways.

Well, in the DM case the same functions that could be performed with difficulty in the TM case become extremely simple and effective: broadcast content received can easily be stored, classified and retrieved. Content on package media can be ripped, compressed, stored, playlist created, moved with an easy that was of course possible before, but few people had enough time and will to do.

Provides, to the CE manufacturers, a method to enable new versions of existing product lines with the ability to receive, process and consume any type of DM both current and future, rights managed or not.

Increased breadth of offer (e.g., the Amazonification of retail or the 10,000 channel cable system)

Increased targeting of offer (collaborative marketing that is most effective with DM)

Superdistribution efficiencies and collaborative filtering

Possible lower cost due to reduced distribution costs


3.2 Value chain players in the digital use case

Other than the addition of various network support or DM related services across all players in the chain, or which may be provided inside Home applications, the existing players are not likely to change.

Network support and DM related services may include but are not limited to, Bandwidth providers, Transcoding Gateway servers, Trust management services, content search, digital identification services, etc.

3.3 Technologies used in the digital use case

A key technology is some gate way technology to perform whatever operations are needed to import content into the home environment.  This technology may be in the form of external services or services performed within a given device within the home, e.g. CD to MP3, DVD media to DVD file, Pay-tv broadcast to recorded video.

Another needed technology is a method to identify what devices are owned by whom that supports adding devices as well as removing devices, among other things.

Additional technology needed, secure links, wired or physical media, between enabled devices.

Additional technology needed, secure media for the physical transfer or transportability of DM.

Additional technology needed, trust management to determine qualified/authorized devices.

Additional technology needed, rights expressions to tie everything together.

3.4 Cost/benefits for value chain players

Value chain player





Possible reduction in costs due to criminal and civil prosecutions.  Lesser need to restrict citizens/consumers with additional laws.

Home users

Initially a slightly higher cost which should reduce due to amortization of manufacturing investment needed

They can do what they could before and much more.  Including but not limited to, accessing DM on any device in the home or away.  Use the original fixed media, which is no improvement on previous media, as the backup instead of the other way around etc.

Sources of DM

No additional costs above and beyond those incurred for deployment of any new technology.

Decreased costs due to interoperable ‘receivers’. Additional players such as gate ways.


Increased initial costs, likely slight, due to “new” product development

The ability to add more features to existing devices.  The ability to reduce the need for “one-off” devices, i.e. STBs. The ability to add functions and features only available with DM thereby increasing areas of competition.

The ability to leverage existing applications and products that support HU content.

Content creators and rights holders

 Tools suitable for encoding content into the digital domain

Less risk due to decreased loss of content into large scale public distribution of pirated content

DM services


New business opportunities that before didn’t exist.


3.7 Difficulties of current deployments

Some deployments exist for HU created content such as digital camera, still and video to computer or DVR.  But, no standards exist for networks for copyrighted material.


 4. Hurdles

The following can be considered as hurdles of primary importance:

  1. Ubiquitous broadband access (including mobility)

  2. Mapping of established rights to the DM space

    1. Rights such as "fair use"

    2. Rights pertaining to required/allowed playback device(s)

    3. Rights to privacy

  3. Interoperable DRM technologies

  4. DM access hurdles due to:

    1. user identification/information requirements

    2. having to configure devices to accept or use DM

  5. End user device hurdles

    1. separate devices, configurations or applications for the same type of content but from different service/distribution providers.

    2. Lack of support for transportability of content.

    3. Lack of support for the multi-device use of content.