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ATSC 3.0 Encryption

A number of ATSC 3.0 streams are starting to become encrypted, which means they are now unavailable to some viewers and some hardware configurations. If you've clicked on a red row with a padlock icon to see this page, the stream you clicked it for is one that is known to be encrypted, at least some of the time.

There are two kinds of encryption in 3.0. One is the kind you're probably more familiar with, where a subscription-only service wants to encrypt its content so that only those who pay the fee can receive it. Evoca provided this kind of service until December 31, 2022, and as of this writing, no other providers are known to be using it.

The other kind is often called "content protection" or "Digital Rights Management" (DRM). This is encryption that, in theory, is designed to prevent behavior the content provider doesn't like, such as fast-forwarding through ads or recording content, or may be pitched as simply preventing piracy. Generally, this is what is being seen on most ATSC 3.0 signals as of this writing.

Unfortunately, such encryption will likely make it impossible to continue to maintain RabbitEars long term should it become adopted on a widespread basis. This is because many of the types of analytical software and simplifying tools that help ensure the most accurate information is available to use in updating RabbitEars will likely never be developed if the people who develop such tools are unable to access these signals.

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