The American cable industry has endorsed a standard for copy protection that is designed to control the use of digital programming within the home. The cable television consortium CableLabs has approved the DTCP-IP Digital Transmission Copy Protection system for the secure connection of consumer electronics devices to cable systems over home networks using internet protocol.

Using DTCP protected secure links among consumer electronics devices, cable subscribers will be able to view digital cable programming on consumer electronics devices and personal computers on digital home networks–unless it is flagged as copy inhibited.

CableLabs made the announcement in cooperation with Paramount, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros.

“The agreement we reached today addresses the highly complex concerns raised by the affected parties–cable, content, and consumer electronics–and brings benefits to consumers,” said Dr Richard Green, the president and chief executive of CableLabs. “Working together we agreed on solutions that meet our respective business needs, and serve the interests of consumers and content providers.”

Michael Ayers, the president of DTLA, the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator, described it as an important accomplishment. “DTCP-IP for home digital cable products opens the door for increased flexible use of protected digital cable content, providing opportunities for cable operators, content owners, device manufacturers and, most importantly, consumers,” he said. “This represents a real advancement for the protected home entertainment network.”

With respect to material that is flagged as copy never, DTLA will make available to cable operators the same level of protection to obtain approval by AACS-LA, the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Authority, which licenses the content protection technology used for Blu-Ray and HD DVDs.

DTLA, also known as 5C, was formed in 1998 by five leading technology companies–Hitachi, Intel, Matsushita, Sony and Toshiba–to license their jointly-developed DTCP technology for the protection of audiovisual material in the digital home.

DTCP-IP also has been approved for use on DVD and high-definition DVD players, by Digital Living Network Alliance, and in connection with the OMA 2 specification for devices such as mobile handsets and laptop computers.