Bits & P.C.’s: CBDTPA and DVD

Bits & P.C.’s: CBDTPA and DVD

By Richard Heller

The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act, or CBDTPA, is a bill that was introduced in the Senate this year by Senator Hollings. The primary focus this bill would prohibit the manufacture or distribution of “digital media devices,” unless those devices include government-approved copy restriction technology. How exactly would this bill affect you if it were passed in its current version?

Under the terms of the bill, any device that plays back a digital recording will have to incorporate government-approved copy restriction technology. Some of the items that would fall under this control would include: digital church bells, traffic speed cameras, musical car horns, the Athena Mars Exploration Rovers, digital-sewing machines, audio greeting cards, and the Kung Fu Fighting Hamster.

As you can see, this bill is bad legislation. The idea behind the bill is to prevent you from copying CDs, DVDs, videotapes and other copyrighted works. The current bill is so poorly written and so broad that it would either outlaw most recording devices or make it nearly impossible to record or edit your own CDs or other recorded works. A good site for information is

One of the hottest peripherals for the computer has been the CD recorder. Five years ago, a recorder that took 40 to 90 minutes to create a CD cost in excess of $500. Today, a recorder that will create a CD in less than five minutes sells for less than $100. But what about those of you who would like to record your home movies and distribute them on a DVD?

Currently, there are three different DVD recording standards. The least common format is named DVD-RAM and requires the disc to be placed in cartridge. This format has been used primarily for computer data storage.

The second format is DVD minus, or DVD-R and DVD-RW. In order to create a DVD that is playable on your home DVD player, you will have to decide exactly how you want the DVD to look before you produce the disc. There can also be a compatibility problem with certain DVD players. More information is available at

The third format is the DVD plus, or DVD+R and DVD+RW. This format will create a DVD that is playable in almost all DVD players. In addition, the plus format will allow you to create add chapters and titles after you have decided upon the DVD layout. If you are using the RW or rewritable DVD, many of these features can be added to the DVD after you have made your “rough” recording. The DVD minus format would require you to recreate the layout with the changes before you recorded the DVD.

So, what DVD writer should you buy? DVD plus recorders are selling for around $300 and are available from many manufacturers. Sony has just introduced the DRU-500A recorder for $350 that handles all formats except for DVD-RAM. All the recorders include the DVD mastering software and also function as a CD writer/reader as well as a DVD player.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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