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TiVo To Brick All Remaining UK PVRs On June 1

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-get-to-keep-the-remote-though dept.

Television 286

handelaar writes "Perhaps in order to 'encourage' existing users of UK Tivo units to change their TV service to Virgin Media, pay £149 for a new 'Virgin TiVo' that they won't actually own, plus £34.50 per month in service charges, Tivo is to cancel all EPG data service to all the Tivos still in use in the country — and existing units will become basically nonfunctional at that time. The faithful aren't amused, having stuck by the company for several years, and mostly paying £120 per annum for service until now. 50% of UK residents aren't able to avail of this generous upgrade offer even if they want to — the cable company in question only covers about half the country."

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286 comments

For those who like this sort of thing, this is the (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219224)

tivo must not like having customers

Re:For those who like this sort of thing, this is (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219532)

TiVo likes having customers, but they've changed their mind as to who their customers are. They no longer focus on direct sales. Instead, they sell boxes to cable and satellite companies, who rebadge them and sell them on. This cuts their supply chain overhead and guarantees large number of sales, so it's more profitable.

Re:For those who like this sort of thing, this is (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219534)

Given that their UK customer base is microscopic, perhaps they do. They're positioning the Virgin movie as the official UK launch of TiVo, a product which actually hit the shelves about half a decade ago. That should give you some indication of the number of subscribers they have.

Re:For those who like this sort of thing, this is (1, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219648)

Two thoughts:

(1) This isn't "bricking" the Tivo. When ReplayTV stopped supplying guide data to my DVR, it still worked just fine but more like a VCR where you manually set everything. It sounds like Tivo is the same.

(2) How is this legal in the consumer-friendly EU? I would have thought purposely damaging consumer products is a criminal offense, just as Sony got in trouble for removing the "Install other OS" option in PS3.

MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (4, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219228)

It might cost more up front, but in the long run it's much cheaper, and you get to control the recordings.

Although the BBC has been applying to be able to encrypt it's EPG data for HD channels - there was a large fuss made about it at the time but I've heard nothing since, so I presume they are sneaking it in the back door quietly.

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219244)

This doesn't sound like the BBC I know and love! This isn't what I'm not paying my license fee for.
What's next, canceling the BBC World Service? But how else will the rest of the world know that we're better than them!

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (1)

TenMinJoe (727612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219392)

My understanding is that what's been reported as "encryption" is in fact compression, obfuscated by withholding the Huffman tables. The BBC can then say to STB manufacturers "You must restrict copying of HD content, or we will not give you the Huffman decoding table". The BBC need this so that they can say to (American) studios "Give us your HD content to broadcast, it will be protected".

In the mean time, Linux devs have reverse-engineered the Huffman tables anyway.

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219488)

Seeing as everything from the Beeb is on iPlayer, why bother?

I've been VCR/PVR freee for a few years now, and I really don't miss it. Catch-up TV via my PS3 (or now Freesat box) has been good enough. Sure, some of the features and video quality are missing, but then I guess I'm just not bothered enough by TV.

I got my first Tivo about 2001 when I was living in Canada. Tivo weren't offering service in Canada at the time, with some BS excuse about having to translate everything in to French and that being too much work for them (I think their general slowness to develop or adapt to the market changes is what's held them back, incidentally). So there was a strong community in Canada around hacking these Tivos to make them work in a place with no service. It was pretty cool, and required some application called Simplicity to emulate the Tivo servers to provide the EPG, etc. Maybe there's some future in this in the UK, which would certainly save having to deal with the far less appealing prospect of a MythTV box.

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219554)

Seeing as everything from the Beeb is on iPlayer, why bother?

AFAICS, this was in reference to the Freeview HD broadcasts where the BBC will also transmit quite a lot of content from non-Beeb sources.

I don't think external content tends to appear on iPlayer for very long (if at all) and, correct me if I'm wrong, not typically at HD resolution.

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219494)

There isn't much that the BBC can do to encrypt anything. They might be able to scramble the EPG but the variety of different data sources, e.g. DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-S2 means the data will leak out. BBC HD on satellite is going to be virtually identical to BBC HD on Freeview except for its program number. The crypto key would also have to be divulged to STBs anyway, probably in firmware so it's going to be there to find. I doubt the BBC really cares much about doing it except to tick a box. They might also be able to mandate crypto for HD broadcast over DVB-T2 but without a CAM or bidirectional comms between STB and network provider, the crypto WILL get broken. And there is no CAM and DVB-T2 is not bidirectional. Even if crypto were implemented correctly it is a big expense and particular problematic for PVRs since it can really screw with trickplay functionality (solving this is a huge topic in itself) which would hamper hardware development. The other crypto found in Freesat/view compliant PVRs is they encrypt HD content as it's saved to disk. I imagine this is done with hardware AES and a unique key per box. Not much can be done about this except don't use logo compliant PVRs. I suppose someone might find a box which is sloppy with the way it saves content (e.g. prepending the key to the front of the content or in metadata or using the same key for every box) to enable a classbreak.

Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219666)

In the U.S. we have the same functionality in the "DTVpal". It is both a myth-style DVR and two FreeTV tuners built into a ~$250 box. Does the UK have anything like that?

Also it sounds like the BBC is as evil as the RIAA/MPAA? Encoding video so you can't record it off the air? In the US the FCC ruled that illegal, saying that the airwaves belong to the People for their use, and encryption interferes with that.

Brick? (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219230)

What? Something is bricked because it is no longer served programming info now?

This is bad, TIVO sucks, their lifetime subscription doesn't cover the lifetime of the device, etc.

But stop fucking using the term brick unless the device is incapable of powering on.

Re:Brick? (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219254)

I don't get this, surely it's not hard.

Something is bricked when it is, to all intents and purposes, interchangeable with a brick. Not simply when it doesn't work properly any more or has less functionality.

Re:Brick? (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219268)

But stop fucking using the term brick unless the device is incapable of powering on.

Ahem... incapable of running *any* software this includes bios level stuff.

Re:Brick? (3, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219298)

But stop fucking using the term brick unless the device is incapable of powering on.

You, sir, are correct. From the link in the summary:

Without the program guide data provided by the TiVo service, Series1 boxes will have limited - if any - functionality. They can still be used to view previously recorded programs and, under certain circumstances, may be used to record programs manually.

So they are stopping the service used by the device, limiting it's functionality. It's like owning an intelligent radio, and your favorite station goes off the air. They are do not doing anything to brick the device.

Re:Brick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219322)

It can still record. It can still play back. It isn't bricked in any sense of the term.

While we're here, what do people expect? The Series 1 hasn't been sold for nearly nine years. Many of them still use dial-up to retrieve the EPG data! What's next, VCR owners complaining when Sony stop making 90 minute cassettes?

So you don't schedule recordings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219360)

So you don't schedule recordings? This is something you don't need to do, like when you are going to be away for a holiday or a meal out and you want to record your favourite program but won't be there to actually press the remote control? You don't need to do that and anyone who does can just find a way to stay home?

You think that a video recorder should not be able to record while you're not there?

Really?

wow. you REALLY like being buttfucked.

Re:Brick? (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219370)

I think they already did that; they only make 180 and 240 minute versions now.

Re:Brick? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219692)

>>>Series 1 hasn't been sold for nearly nine years. Many of them still use dial-up to retrieve the EPG data!

You are prejudiced against dialup users?
Are they now considered pariahs?
Is my Dialup Dreamcast now not good enough for you?
I'll have you know that 30% of users are still stuck on dialup, and they have minority rights damnit!
(Please note I'm just joking.)

Re:Brick? (5, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219300)

But stop fucking using the term brick unless the device is incapable of powering on.

There are plenty of ways of bricking something and not being able to even power something on is only one of those. Like for example a gaming console: if you hit the power button and it goes on, but nothing else happens, then it clearly is bricked.

Basically bricked means the device no longer useable for the purposes it was actually originally made for and getting it to functional state requires tools not even a regular geek has at his or her disposal. It is not bricked if returning it to functional state is sufficiently doable, or if it doesn't do what you want it to do but still serves the purposes it was sold under.

Re:Brick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219328)

No. Bricking means total non-recoverable failure. Tools or no tools.

Please stop misusing this word, or it will become diluted, like 'hacker' and we will all be poorer for it.

Re:Brick? (0)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219390)

Please stop pretending that the meaning of "bricked" remaining static adds any value to our lives.

Re:Brick? (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219412)

Sure it does. The point of language is to communicate. If you start arbitrarily changing the meaning of words people stop understanding what you mean.

"Bricked" is a very precise metaphor. It means the device is as good as an actual brick -- inert and devoid of functionality other than the physical shape of the thing.

Re:Brick? Yes, between your ears (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219598)

If I buy something to do X and it doesn't do X it's a brick. It don't give a shit if it wins an Olympic gold at Y and gets a Nobel prize for Z - if I'm not interested in them it's as much use to me as a brick.

Re:Brick? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219636)

> It means the device is as good as an actual brick

So, it is usable in construction projects?

Please stop diluting the term "brick" by comparing plastic-cased retail electronic devices to useful baked-clay load-bearing mouldings.

Re:Brick? (3, Insightful)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219416)

Yes. Like how all those users who call their system cases 'hard drives', 'modems' and 'monitors' diluting the meaning of all the terms involved don't in any way cause confusion and misunderstanding amongst support staff and other savvy users by misusing them as such.

I'm sorry but a dynamic meaning is different to outright misuse. And as it stands, something still being usable albeit in a limited fashion is NOT bricked. Bricked can have many shades of meaning but even in the most liberal form, it is misused here plain and clear.

Re:Brick? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219750)

Precisely. I remember lUsers once called 3.5 inch floppies "hard disks" which caused all kinds of confusion in casual conversation. You'd tell them to try typing dir c: or dir dh0: and of course nothing happened. Then they'd say something like, "I removed the hard disk from the computer," and you'd think they just destroyed their hard drive, when they really meant they removed the floppy.

Don't use terms incorrectly. Learn the proper names for things, so you can communicate properly with other persons.

Re:Brick? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219408)

Bricking means total non-recoverable failure. Tools or no tools.

Define "non-recoverable". You can brick some devices by screwing up a custom ROM installation and having no way of recovering it yourself, but the original manufacturer would still be able to sort it (for a price), either by their own software tools, or simply replacing the affected PROM or whatever with a fresh one.

Re:Brick? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219724)

>>>a gaming console: if you hit the power button and it goes on, but nothing else happens, then it clearly is bricked

That's what happened to my PSP after Sony updated it with new software. Turned-on, but did nothing else. It had no useful function except as a doorstop or paperweight, hence it was equivalent to a brick. - Bricked.

Re:Brick? (1)

robably (1044462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219600)

I bricked about this happening to "meme" [slashdot.org] a couple years ago, then bricked the solution, [slashdot.org] so I'd like to brick some words of encouragement to anyone who feels bricked by the loss: brick your vengeance. If you can't brick "brick," then nobody can.

Heretofore, "to brick" can brick anything. You can brick a beer; you can brick a pizza. You can brick a computer; and you can brick your girlfriend. You can brick your hat, except in Soviet Russia, where hat bricks you.

Go brick something, and then brick somebody about it in the hopes that they'll brick someone else. Brick the word, so the whole world will brick that they bricked "brick." Hopefully after that, maybe they will have bricked that some words are better off left unbricked.

From http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=423338&cid=22102564 [slashdot.org]

Hmm... (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219238)

How exactly is punishing your loyal (and still paying) customers a good business move?

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

Jamu (852752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219308)

When they'll remain loyal and pay more than enough to compensate for the ones that leave.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219414)

You reckon Apple will be ballsy enough to try this tactic?

Re:Hmm... (1)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219462)

Shame that isn't the case...

I'm one of the loyal UK Tivo customers... I currently have cable service from VM. I was considering updating purely so I could get HD channels, however since they announced the termination of the old service not only am I going to stick with my SD box, I'm going to downgrade my TV package to the 'free with other services' one, and actively discourage people I know from getting the VM Tivo. Since I'm the 'tech guy' amongst my group of friends/co-workers I guarantee Tivo/VM will lose out on some sales... and I guarantee that most other UK Tivo owners are in a similar situation.

There are already issues with the cable service as they only have a fraction of the *good* channels available from satellite and how they have treated the series 1 customers is just one more reason to switch...

Re:Hmm... (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219752)

Absolutely. Especially for those of us who don't get Virgin (49% of the UK), and wouldn't want their crappy service anyway (my parents used to have it - I'd go almost anywhere else based on their experience).

I was a long time TiVo advocate, but no more. I will be recommending the Humax Foxsat + Freesat to everyone from now on. EPG is in the Freesat signal, so there's no way that you can get shafted like this again.

Justin.

Re:Hmm... (1)

hughbar (579555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219440)

Well, it's a numbers game not an ethics game. If there are a few of them and they're not likely to be noisy, then **** 'em.

Incidentally, this is why [apart from being old] I prefer my books as books and not digital artifacts controlled by Amazon etc. etc.

Re:Hmm... (2)

EMN13 (11493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219516)

Note that the customers are not still paying - assuming TiVo isn't lying anyhow. They say customers have not been billed since November and that service until June 2011 will be free. For a device last sold in 2002, that doesn't sound unreasonable. Sure it's annoying, and the hassle and price-bump may cost em goodwill, but it's hardly an extreme step.

Re:Hmm... (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219760)

I paid for a lifetime subscription. I *already* paid. TiVo are not mentioning that anywhere, or justifying their definition of 'lifetime'. I think I've been robbed.

Re:Hmm... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219556)

Because they've changed market. TiVo no longer cares what direct-sales customers think, because they no longer want to sell to individuals. They want to sell to companies that place orders in the tens or hundreds of thousands. This move makes customers in a market that they don't care about unhappy, but makes Virgin Media happy, which is likely to give them more sales.

£149? (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219240)

Not sure where you get that from, the Virgin V+ HD box is free (well, a once off £50 activation charge) for new customers, and as an existing customer I can get one for £70 including the activation charge.

Plus the "£34.50 per month" includes TV, phone (line rental and a fairly decent call package) and 10MB broadband.

Not saying that what Tivo are doing is acceptable (although they never promised eternal service in the UK, or did they? Since people are paying an annual service charge, I would guess not), but at least get stuff correct before ranting.

Re:£149? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219248)

and 10MB broadband.

Slipped a decimal point or three?

Re:£149? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219262)

Well, technically they offer 10Mb, 30Mb, 50Mb & 100Mb (In some areas, they're still rolling that one out), so in places they do offer 10MB+ broadband.

Re:£149? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219266)

Nope, if you ring the Virgin Media call center when signing up, you can get bumped up to their 100Mbit service for nothing extra. Thats roughly 10MB.

Re:£149? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219604)

Ah it means speed, not volume. I am in Australia so 10MB seemed strangely low, not impossible.

Re:£149? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219340)

Speedtest.net this morning tells me I get 19.42Mb/s down, which is spot on as my modem tells me it is synced at just a shade over 20Mb/s

So, no.

Re:£149? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219628)

I recently got upgraded to 30Mb/s and the new superhub (it does multichannel so can do over 20Mb), and it is solid during all times of the day. I also get 3Mb/s upload speed!

Virgins traffic management policy:

http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

Which seems reasonable. If I download over 10GB in a 24 hour period (or 5GB at peak evening times) I get throttled to 75% of my max speed for 5 hours.

The top tier package has no cap apparently.

Re:£149? (2)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219366)

I just recently moved from Australia to the UK and that's one of the interesting things I noticed. In the UK you pay for the speed of your connection rather than how much you can download. So as others are saying, the 10Mb is referring to a 10Mbit connection speed. You can download as much as you want.

In Australia, the speed is basically always "ADSL2+" which means a theoretical maximum of about 20Mbit but in practice is highly dependant on how far away you live from the telephone exchange and the quality of the lines in your house etc. I never got speeds anything like 20Mbit and I lived close to the center of town in Melbourne (~3.5mil population). When you go over your download limit (typically 10-50gb), the speed is "shaped" or "capped" to something near dialup modem speeds.

Re:£149? (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219460)

In the UK it actually is the same (although mostly without the technical terms such as "ADSL2+" which would confuse the poor ignorant masses), although you will also be shaped depending on traffic class during "peak" hours (that typically last for much of the day) with a lot of the major ISPs - check out your Fair Usage and Traffic Management policies that are required to be easily findable on your ISPs website. If you are fortunate enough to live near an unbundled exchange, then you have a better choice of ISPs and so may be able to find one that offers an unshaped, unlimited (without the *) contract. These contracts are either not very cheap or not very common. Buy cheap broadband and expect to be heavily throttled and have caps put in place

Re:£149? (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219464)

I just recently moved from Australia to the UK and that's one of the interesting things I noticed. In the UK you pay for the speed of your connection rather than how much you can download. ... You can download as much as you want.

You must be new here. They all advertise that it's 'unlimited' but then massively throttle how much you download if you go over their secret hidden limits.

Re:£149? (1)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219514)

You must be new here. They all advertise that it's 'unlimited' but then massively throttle how much you download if you go over their secret hidden limits.

Well, yeah. I am new here (to this country) :). What are these secret hidden limits though? In Aus, the limit is low but clearly marked. The limit is often split over peak and off-peak periods too. So for example, you might have 25gb to use during on-peak and say 30gb to use during off-peak. Off-peak is usually from about 1am to 7am (certainly not half the day) so you've really only got 25gb to use unless you leave your pc on overnight downloading or whatever. I haven't been here long but I haven't run into any limits yet although to be honest I'm not a heavy downloader.

Re:£149? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219616)

Not entirely sure where your numbers come from, but I've seen ADSL2+ devices synched at 46mbit at work. Admittedly, the cabling distance from the DSLAM was about 20m (we have several DSLAMs one floor below my department, in the VIC lab... the 46mbit was on a Lucent Stinger), but I've seen customers in the field with attainables in the 30-40mbit range on an ADSL2+ connection.

Perhaps you mean that they won't sell you a connection faster than 20mbit on an ADSL2+? That, I would find completely believable... we won't sell a customer a connection over 16mbit on ADSL2+... for any faster connections, we switch the customer over to VDSL2. But the ADSL2 modems and DSLAMs are perfectly capable of synching higher than 16mbit. In fact, the attenuation isn't anywhere near as bad on an ADSL2+ connection as opposed to VDSL2, and ADSL2+ is capable of pushing higher bandwidth at a distance of about 1.5-2km and above.

To be specific... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219326)

The monthly fee for the EPG service is £5/month if you're on the lower two TV packages, and free if you're on largest. Assuming they apply the same price when they switch to TiVo, it'll be half the price TiVo currently charges.

Re:£149? (1)

bamf (212) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219350)

Not sure where you get that from, the Virgin V+ HD box is free (well, a once off £50 activation charge) for new customers, and as an existing customer I can get one for £70 including the activation charge.

We're not talking about the V+ box though, this is the new Virginmedia Tivo box.

Re:£149? (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219438)

I bought a "lifetime" subscription. TiVo are now defining that as nine years, no argument, tough.

I am extremely unimpressed, and won't be buying a new TiVo. Not that I can get Virgin - or would want Virgin - anyway. They seem to have given up making good kit and selling it themselves, and instead got into bed with first Sky, then Virgin, two of the greediest and crappiest providers around.

Anyway, there will be homebrew, so the box won't be bricked, and even failing that I should still be able to use it to rip&store DVDs, which I mostly do because I DIDN'T NICK THE FUCKING DVD, I FUCKING RENTED IT, SO STOP NAGGING ME NOT TO FUCKING NICK IT.

Sorry. Personal bugbear.

Justin.

Re:£149? (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219450)

the Virgin V+ HD box is free (well, a once off £50 activation charge)

So not really free then.

Lifetime EPG - actually, they did (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219586)

Not saying that what Tivo are doing is acceptable (although they never promised eternal service in the UK, or did they?

Actually they did. You could pay a monthly fee, or pay a single fee of £250 for "lifetime updates". I expect the people who paid that are going to be a bit annoyed.

However, there was an unofficial "gentleman's agreement" that hackers wouldn't release any code that screenscrapes or otherwise downloads the EPG data over the net (using the ethernet card addon), and if anyone did that, then talk of it on the forums was banned. That agreement is now null and void, so there's a good chance that someone will finally release free code, if anyone still cares.

Re:£149? (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219738)

Virgin Media's TiVo offering is distinct from V+. it will, presumably, eventually supersede V+, but they are not the same thing.

http://tivo.virginmedia.com/

Learning experience (4, Funny)

lexcyber (133454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219242)

Maybe they learned from a successful business model from cupertino. Where you lock in, treat everyone like crap and make them pay a premium price is the winning ticket to huge stock price increase.

- Sent from my Iphone

Not Bricked! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219264)

What a horrible sensationalists headlineto many ‘bricked’, means kill. They are not bricking TiVo’s – they are just going to be cutting off the EPG data in 3.5 months. I gave up my TiVo’s last year when I moved from the US to the UAE, and man do I miss ‘em. In the UK, TiVo pulled out years ago - so it was nice of them to keep it going as long as they did. Hell, you'd thing in that amount of time (what, 9 years?) since they stopped selling them in the UK there would be something else, comparable or better on the market...but nope.

IT'S GOOD TO BE BRITISH !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219270)

The tivo is dead !! Long live the tivo !!

God save the queen !! And somebody, quick, build her a new castle !!

Re:IT'S GOOD TO BE BRITISH !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219480)

I know you're "'avin' a larf", but in two and a half months time that post will look positively understated, when some muppet is getting married.

I'm glad (2)

present_arms (848116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219274)

That I switched from Virgin Media to Sky, although the broadband was better on cable, the rest is junk, and Virgins customer service sucks (well it did for me), as for tivo, I've never used one, I've always had mythtv, and sky+ so i'm not short of recording from TV options, just my 2 pence worth :D

Re:I'm glad (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219386)

I certainly agree that Skys TV service is significantly better, but their tactics leave a lot to be desired.

In 2009 Virgin launched their own version of Sky One, called Virgin One. In 2010, Sky bought an owning share in Virgin One and renamed it Channel One. At the end of 2010, Sky discontinued Channel One, so once again we are left without a competitor to Sky One.

If I could get Sky without having to have a dish stuck to the side of the house, I would switch, but I cant.

voiding my warranty (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219294)

so does this mean nobody will mind if i install linux on it?

Re:voiding my warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219306)

Actually, Tivo boxes already do run on Linux...

Re:voiding my warranty (1)

present_arms (848116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219312)

I thought that Linux was already installed on it :P but I know what you mean :), as far as I remember MS has a major share in Virgin Media, but what amazed me was that Amstrad Sky HD+ boxes use linux ;) you can get the source from sky for it :D

YOU can't install Linux on it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219422)

YOU can't install Linux on it. THIS is the point that the GPL3 is made for, the REASON why the FSF made the change and the POINT of telling Torvalds and the other narcissistic arseholes who value being important and recognised over the freedoms of the people who use the products that they are, in point of fact, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WRONG on their insistence that the Tivo clause isn't necessary and that what Tivo et al want to do is perfectly fine and cannot affect GPL freedoms.

You can't install Linux without a signed copy of the binary because Tivo won't let you.

"Oh you still have your code freedom" now looks like "well, YOU got buttfucked, but MY CODING SKILLS ARE LEET!".

Re:YOU can't install Linux on it. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219448)

Say what now?

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

Re:voiding my warranty (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219364)

This is a good point... there is going to be a lot of free/very cheap TiVo Boxes coming onto the market in 4 months time there is inevitably a hacking community ... I'm not sure how useful a hacked TiVo is though http://www.keegan.org/jeff/tivo/hackingtivo.html [keegan.org] http://tivo.stevejenkins.com/ [stevejenkins.com]

Subscription model is flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219336)

I was already cautious about buying products that depend on a subscription for their continued operation. So many of the companies behind them seem to be ones that nobody has ever heard of, which could go out of business, or decide to obsolete the product at the drop of a hat. I had thought that TiVo were beyond that stage, but clearly not. This makes me even less likely to buy such products in future. As for so-called lifetime guarantees, they've never been worth the paper they were written on.

To add some context (3, Informative)

bamf (212) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219358)

Tivo haven't actively sold the boxes in the UK for about 8-9 years now. This isn't a modern service being canned, it's effectively a legacy system.

Re:To add some context (2)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219444)

Legacy, maybe, but I paid for a 'lifetime subscription', and most of the boxes are still in perfect working order. Do you really think 9 years is acceptable?

Re:To add some context (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219500)

Lifetime of the service, not of the box or your lifetime.

Re:To add some context (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219508)

No one forced you to live more than 9 years... Should they pay only because you exceeded that? Please!

Re:To add some context (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219518)

You may have seen the words "lifetime subscription" in there, but what did the rest of the contract actually say? That's the important bit, not just the bit you remember from the advertising blurb. It's a bit like "unlimited broadband" in that respect. If you really think that you've got a legal case, engage messrs Sue, Grabbit, and Runne.

Re:To add some context (1)

TenMinJoe (727612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219596)

The contract actually says that they can cancel the service with 30 days' notice "for any reason or no reason".

Re:To add some context (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219612)

And since (according to the link from the summary) they haven't been charging at all since last year, there's not much to complain about then, is there?

Merchantability clause kicks in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219656)

Merchantability clause kicks in. 9 years is not a lifetime of such a device. You could argue that 20 years would be, but think on this: they still have the money but no longer provide the service. So they should give the £250 back.

Re:To add some context (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219746)

No, they should be legally prevented from using a phrase like "lifetime subscription" unless the terms in the rest of the contract reasonably conform with the expectation that most people would have of that phrase. If companies can set whatever terms they like then we'll have situations where "lifetime subscription" equates to 2 months of service and a $1 off coupon for the new service when the old one is terminated.

Boat Anchor Mode (3, Insightful)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219362)

When TiVo was first coming out on the scene, there was talk that there was, hidden deep in the code, a "boat-anchor" mode, which Tivo assured the faithful (which at the time were typically bleeding-edge technology hounds) that if TiVo ever went belly-up, their boxes wouldn't be useless, that there was a mode which they could push to all the units that essentially said "We're going off the air now, open yourself up for use however the owner wants", and that it would offer up some alternative options for shoving EPG data into it gathered from other sources.

It seems that maybe this is what TiVo should be doing with these UK Series1 units, even if they're not technically "going off the air".

Re:Boat Anchor Mode (4, Informative)

Adrian Harvey (6578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219426)

See Oztivo [oztivo.net] where they've hacked the series 1 frimware to get it's updates over the Internet from a community run guide service. I'm in NZ and using the New Zealand variant on an English Series 1 TiVo (the kind we're discussing here) to good effect. TiVo have resisted people doing this in countries where they're selling the guide service - perhaps now is the time for the community to have a go?

Re:Boat Anchor Mode (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219528)

If they did this for UK Series 1 machines it would take approximately the speed of light crossing the Atlantic for U.S. S1 hackers to put it to use over here.

If this wouldn't make it any easier to open up Series 2 and up, TiVo might even welcome this as a way to get rid of their S1 subscribers, who by now must mostly be people with Lifetimed units that don't make Tivo any money and qualify the owners for discounts on service for later models.

But I suspect that opening S1s would make it possible to figure out how to open later models, which would reduce TiVo to only making money off of the kind of people who have cable modems but are still paying AOL for dialup.

Re:Boat Anchor Mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219608)

I'm sure it will be done for UK Series 1 owners just like it was done in Oz/NZ, Canada, Mexico and South Africa. But, the tricks used to provide guide data for the Series 1 and early Series 2 (with original firmware) won't work with later Series 2 and current TiVos.

The groups who have the technology try to restrict it to their own geography, and have been (AFAIK) successful in not letting it spread to the US.

DIY replacement data? (3, Insightful)

TenMinJoe (727612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219380)

Is the TiVo guide data format understood? The BBC offer free XML listings data for all UK channels (not just BBC channels) - it seems like it should be possible for motivated developers to convert this into usable TiVo format data.

Illegal. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219398)

doesnt matter how it was written in tos. doesnt matter whether the customer agreed to it.

destroying a product that you sold to a customer, is illegal. this shit is going on because we are letting them on with this.

Re:Illegal. (1)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219428)

Are you unable to read? They are stopping the subscription service that gave the Tivo guide data. The box will still power on, will still play your old recordings, will still act "vcr-style" for manual recordings (record wednesday from 5-6pm, etc), and will work 100% if you have an alternate method of getting guide data.

Commenting without reading the summary, let alone the article, and reacting based on a headline should be illegal.

Re:Illegal. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219476)

From TFS:

and existing units will become basically nonfunctional at that time

The OP did read the summary before commenting. (Note that I have not RTFA and make no claim as to the accuracy of that line)

Re:Illegal. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219524)

commenting without reading the summary or understanding another's post, let alone the article, and reacting like a moron out of ignorance, should be illegal.

this was what you have done. those units, will be only as good as bricks.

Analogue Shutdown (2)

paedobear (808689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219432)

Analogue TV is currently being shut down in the UK - last region(s) in about a year, so complaining that an analogue TV recorder is no longer usable is a little weird surely? May as well have a moan about the government turning off your TV while you're at it!

Re:Analogue Shutdown (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219472)

Well I know a number of people who have 3 or more analogue only TVs in their houses including portables and let me tell you , they're NOT happy about having to buy a digital set top box for them all if they don't want a useless brick sitting in the corner.

Re:Analogue Shutdown (1)

Raydome777 (983995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219564)

Tivo works fine without analogue, it'll drive various digital tv set top boxes. (sends IR commands to change channel etc)

Re:Analogue Shutdown (1)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219578)

I love/hate how people don't get it.

Most people DON'T use them to record crappy analogue broadcast TV, it wouldn't be worth it for just 5 channels. We use them to record TV from Cable and Satellite set top boxes via scart cables as the Tivo has a built in system to change channels on the STB. Even ignoring the ability to record the Tivo EPG was years ahead of the cable/satelite versions (and is STILL better than the Virgin Media EPG 8 years on as well as being better than most 'new' Digital TV PVRs).

It's also now possible (with a little hacking) to use series 1 Tivos with (specific) Freeview STB so they are far from obsolete due to the analogue switch off.

Corporations and their "very own dictionary." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219452)

Yet another example of "Lifetime" meaning anything the manufacturer wants it to mean.

When a customer is sold on a product with term such as lifetime I'm sure Tivo know exactly how the customer will perceive that yet their happy to craft their terms of use in the fine print to give them an out.

Typical.

Not exactly a drama (2, Insightful)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219466)

this is like Microsoft withdrawing support for Windows 98 or Internet Explorer 5 for home users... these things are a decade old and while they were unique back then, there are FreeSAT, Freeview, PVRs and other options now if the S1 owners aren't in Virgin areas. Most of the forum posters have said or suspected this was coming... no tea cups were rattled by this announcement - especially as most users have workarounds planned.

Re:Not exactly a drama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219484)

But when did Microsoft offer a lifetime of support for those O/S's?

Re:Not exactly a drama (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219522)

Please a company can use the word lifetime to mean anything it likes... there is no firm definition its the same as full-flavor or low-fat, it just means TiVo goes from being a good-guy company to another corporate-drone-type company in the view of its users http://goffee-freelance.blogspot.com/2011/02/virgin-tivos-causing-ruckus.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Not exactly a drama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219694)

When a company uses the word lifetime to a potential customer is it not clear what the expectation of the customer would be?

If said company doesn't really mean lifetime they shouldn't use the term.

If Tivo says, "Pay us this one off fee and we'll provide this functionality for a lifetime," it seems reasonable for a customer, while they're considering a particular devices benefits against those of competing devices, to consider lifetime to mean lifetime. If the company producing the goods doesn't intend to provide a lifetime service for a given fee paid, they should use a different term.

I also don't agree with telcos using the term unlimited when they don't provide an unlimited service. I don't demand they provide an unlimited service where it's not economically feasible to do so, but I do demand they not use the term unlimited where they don't intend to provide an unlimited service. Framing a product as one thing and delivering another shouldn't be tolerated.

whether right or wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35219510)

.. I'm still bloody sad about it.

I'd always assumed that one day my 'lifetime subscription' would end, but assumed that there would be something else I can get to replace it. Virgin Media have no cable in my area (I'm on London FFS!) so I can't even spend my way out of the problem. Paying the T.V license will really really hurt without it.

PR fail for very little money. (2)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219536)

What a total PR fail. TiVo used to have such a good reputation.

Presumably Virgin made this a condition of the contract and TiVo rolled over. Shame on both of you, avaricious, nasty, money-grubbers.

Remember folks (UK and US): don't buy a TiVo product, or a Virgin Media one, they will take your cash and then let you down.

Justin.

Fucked by cable TV? Who could have predicted? (2)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35219758)

Canceling cable TV was one of the best things I ever did. It takes a while to adjust, but pretty soon you enjoy TV more, and life more, because you only watch stuff you really like, and you watch it whenever you like. You have to seek out shows and movies a little more because they're not being shoveled onto you, and you find the ones that you end up really cherishing. If you have a TiVo, you already admitted cable TV is broken. Just get off the pipe.

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