When your cable provider says you can watch content only on one device, or that you can only watch certain types of content on one machine, you can get a bit confused.
But the FCC recently released guidelines that should make it easier for you to figure out what type of access you are having and to get the correct rights to access to it.
These new guidelines should be an invaluable resource to all you cable and satellite subscribers and will help you to understand the different types of access control in your market.
What is an access control violation?
Access control is an arrangement between a cable provider and the user that allows them to block or restrict access to content.
You can have access to a movie on Netflix or HBO Go, for example, but if you access it on another device, you’ll get no access to the movie.
This is where access control violations come in.
Access control violations are defined by the FCC as “an action that violates an access restriction or a reasonable expectation of privacy by restricting access to any device or device component.”
There are some exceptions to this rule, but you should be aware of them.
The rules also say that access control must not be a restriction that is disproportionate to a legitimate interest.
If access is restricted to one device and then a user is able to watch it on a different device, for instance, that is a violation of access controls.
The FCC’s new guidelines are designed to address the following types of “access control violations”: restricting access on multiple devices at the same time; limiting the number of devices that can access a particular content source at the time; or denying a user access to all or part of a content source.
What are the different access control types?
There are four types of restrictions: Content-Based Restrictions.
This type of restriction is based on the content of the content being restricted.
If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you might not want to watch your favorite shows on your iPad.
But if you have access on another cable provider, you could access your Netflix account on the iPad.
Access Control Devices.
This includes the device that is giving you access to your content.
For example, you have a Roku that has access to Netflix, and the same Roku could be used to access HBO Go.
There are also devices that are used to provide access to other content, like a home theater.
Access Restrictions for Video.
This restriction is also based on content.
If your cable operator offers you access through their video streaming service, you should expect that they will have a video-only version of your account.
But you could also be getting access to an entire set of content that you don’t want to see, depending on which content-based restrictions you are experiencing.