Now TV sorry for recording ban

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 5:37am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 7:53am

Broadcaster Now TV has apologised to viewers and reversed an anti-piracy measure that left subscribers unable to record its channels.

Subscribers who tried to record programmes on DVDs or hard discs from late last month reported receiving messages on screen saying "the content is copyright-protected".

The station said it introduced encryption measures last month in an attempt to fight copyright infringement, but reversed the policy last week when it realised from viewer complaints that the changes made it impossible to record any of the programmes.

Viewer David Grant, from Discovery Bay, realised there was a problem on April 10 and complained to the station.

"Recording programmes is convenient and is an important part of the service," Grant said. "The day after I informed them I had complained to the Communications Authority, normal service resumed."

Now TV told him it "occasionally" switched on technical measures to protect copyright, and that such measures were covered by its terms and conditions.

A Now TV spokesman said the company "sincerely apologised for the inconvenience caused" by the "technical measure". He did not specify what the technical measure was.

"We have identified cases in which Now TV content has been recorded for illegal distribution or other unauthorised uses," the spokesman said, making clear that this clearly did not apply in Grant's case. "An interim technical measure was therefore implemented in late March," he said.

In view of negative feedback from viewers, the measure was deactivated on April 17, he added.

The spokesman said Now TV would work on measures to prevent piracy without inconveniencing viewers. He said viewers had been able to record from 24 of its channels using its free Now Record function.

With more than 1.2 million subscribers, Now TV is the city's biggest pay-television player. It is part of tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai's PCCW empire.