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Sony DVR Useless After Rovi Stops TV Guide OnScreen

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the lifetime-service-assuming-a-very-short-life dept.

Sony 321

New submitter speedlaw writes "Rovi has just announced that they are stopping the TV Guide OnScreen service as of April 13th, 2013. This was announced via the service itself. This is an on-air listing service that provides listings over the air, as part of an OTA TV signal. Many devices, notably the Sony HDD 250 and 500 Digital Video Recorders, will no longer function without the clock-set data this stream provides. When other companies decide to stop supporting something, they don't make older systems useless. Worse, Sony never came out with another DVR in the U.S. market. Why do we have to rent them? How do we get Sony or Rovi to provide at least a software patch to set the clock so the DVR can at least retain 1980s VCR functionality? Sony admits there is no fix. A thread on AVS forums has a bunch of information on TV Guide OnScreen. The TV stations who broadcast the data have been ordered by Rovi to disconnect the data inserters and ship them back. I have a TiVo, and yes, I know all about HTPC, but this data stream was 'lifetime listings' like TiVo has 'lifetime listings' — now that Rovi is looking to cut service, my two DVR units are about to become useless."

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Shitter Was FULL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948013)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] []

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware? Audited your graphics card for malware? Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

        AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
        Network card rootkit(s)
        BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

        Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
        Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
        Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
        Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
        Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
        Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
        Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
        Search out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
        Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.


I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security: []

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.


"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.


subversion hack: tagmeme(dot)com/subhack/

network card rootkits and trojans pci rootkits packet radio xmit "fm fingerprinting" software "specific emitter identification" forums(dot)qrz(dot)com

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.

# eof

new file

Memorable quotes for Looker (1981) []

"John Reston: Television can control public opinion more effectively than armies of secret police, because television is entirely voluntary. The American government forces our children to attend school, but nobody forces them to watch T.V. Americans of all ages submit to television. Television is the American ideal. Persuasion without coercion. Nobody makes us watch. Who could have predicted that a free people would voluntarily spend one fifth of their lives sitting in front of a box with pictures? Fifteen years sitting in prison is punishment. But 15 years sitting in front of a television set is entertainment. And the average American now spends more than one and a half years of his life just watching television commercials. Fifty minutes, every day of his life, watching commercials. Now, that's power."

"The United States has it's own propaganda, but it's very effective because people don't realize that it's propaganda. And it's subtle, but it's actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but it's funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, it's funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesn't necessarily mean it really serves people's thinking - it can stupify and make not very good things happen." - Crispin Glover: []

"It's only logical to assume that conspiracies are everywhere, because that's what people do. They conspire. If you can't get the message, get the man." - Mel Gibson (from an interview)

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director

"The real reason for the official secrecy, in most instances, is not to keep the opposition (the CIA's euphemistic term for the enemy) from knowing what is going on; the enemy usually does know. The basic reason for governmental secrecy is to keep you, the American public, from knowing - for you, too, are considered the opposition, or enemy - so that you cannot interfere. When the public does not know what the government or the CIA is doing, it cannot voice its approval or disapproval of their actions. In fact, they can even lie to your about what they are doing or have done, and you will not know it. As for the second advantage, despite frequent suggestion that the CIA is a rogue elephant, the truth is that the agency functions at the direction of and in response to the office of the president. All of its major clandestine operations are carried out with the direct approval of or on direct orders from the White House. The CIA is a secret tool of the president - every president. And every president since Truman has lied to the American people in order to protect the agency. When lies have failed, it has been the duty of the CIA to take the blame for the president, thus protecting him. This is known in the business as "plausible denial." The CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so." - Victor Marchetti, Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History

George Carlin:

"The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

You know what they want? Obedient workers people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club.

This country is finished."

We now return you Americans to your media: Corporate, Government sponsored and controlled (rigged) elections..

Most of you are all so asleep it's time you woke up!


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948017)

One more reason to buy the Sunday Times !!


symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948459)

We don't have that option here any more. And our local paper is now more of a leaflet.

What are the channels doing? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948039)

Why don't the channels just broadcast the programme data alongside the actual programming? That's how they do it here, in the DVB-T streams. A full week's worth of programming and programme descriptions, transmitted over the air.

Re:What are the channels doing? (5, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#41948055)

Thats what happens here in Australia too, the networks broadcast program data over-the-air through the DVB-T streams. How far into the future depends on the network but all of them do it.

Re:What are the channels doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948099)

ROVI sends listings of all of the network channels you could get regardless of delivery method. E.g. you can get the listings for cable or OTA through the service.

My ATSC tuner shows upcoming program data but it is limited in how far ahead it shows.

Yes, but options? (2)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#41948103)

Why don't the channels just broadcast the programme data alongside the actual programming?

Well, that's a legitimate question. You could also ask why the hardware doesn't support alternative operating systems. Either way, you're asking either one (or several) large television network(s) to suddenly make a change to the way things are broadcast, or you're asking a large (multinational) company to provide open access to their closed system.

I hope the programming community comes up with an alternative - or modified - firmware. Unfortunately, unlike the android/xda/cyanogenmod community, DVR software isn't easily available, accessible or standardized across players. Maybe it is as simple as making a DVD drive region free - but even then, does the average consumer have access to the (relatively cheap) tools to flip a few 0s and 1s and "update" the hardware? And the likelyhood of it being that simple is pretty low...

Re:What are the channels doing? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948171)


Re:What are the channels doing? (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41948231)

It probably violates someone's copyright or patent. Or that's what they think may be the case. Better be safe than sorry, consumers be damned. They're anyway supposed to just consume the advertising with intermittant fragments of some mildly entertaining show, instead fo recording it and remove the ads.

Re:What are the channels doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948369)

I think Rovi claims patents in the EPG field.

Re:What are the channels doing? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948461)


Re:What are the channels doing? (5, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41948503)

Actually the very first VCR my parent's owned got the programming directly from teletext. You could go to the page where the program is listed, select the page, and it would take the data directly from that page and store it (and it even got the correct VPS times that way, in cases they differed from scheduled times). That was before the invention of ShowView, the system which presumably was making programming your VCR so simple. I've never understood why entering a seemingly arbitrary number should be more easy than just selecting directly from the program table. Indeed, that was the easiest to program VCR I've ever come across, and superior to all the systems which came later, without exceptions. And it worked perfectly for more than a decade (apart from a nasty Y2K bug which you had to work around by lying about the year) until the VCR stopped working correctly (and it was not the programming part that failed)

And of course, if the stations had ever stopped to provide programming data over teletext, the VCR had also the option to enter everything manually.

Re:What are the channels doing? (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41948617)

You don't state where you are but they also broadcast the data on DVB-T in the UK, and the Sony recorders are still next to useless. They used some proprietary data source that died a few years ago and now the best you can manage is 1980s VCR like functionality where you program the clock and then a recording time and channel. Not exactly the experience you expect with a high end high price DVR.

Re:What are the channels doing? (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 years ago | (#41948665)

If you think this is bad wait a couple of more years for smart tv's to start needing these kinds of updates.

People expect their tv's to last 10+ years without a simple software update some of those tv's won't be working right.

Re:What are the channels doing? (4, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 2 years ago | (#41948661)

These days? Because if they did that, then people could record the shows, and skip the ads. And that would be terrible.

At least if you're a TV network who wants to milk the most ad money you possibly can. Don't forget, getting up to go to the bathroom during the commercials is theft.

Re:What are the channels doing? (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41948697)

Great that I'm already in the bathroom that I can express what I think of that.

AVS Forum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948041)

This is the AV "Science" Forum, where religious audiophile BS reigns supreme.

What do you expect? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41948045)'s Sony. You should be surprised that it worked this long.

Re:What do you expect? (5, Informative)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#41948097)

Exactly. It's hard to name another company that treats its customers worse than Sony. Those who buy Sony products have to know that they're going to be screwed sooner or later, it's just part of Sony's corporate DNA to leave their customers holding the bag. They just don't care, so why buy from them? It's like handing your money to the bully and asking for abuse.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948147)

It's hard to name another company that treats its customers worse than Sony.

Plays for Sure, Kin...

Re:What do you expect? (4, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#41948175)

Plays for Sure and Kin were nothing compared to the Sony Rootkit [] fiasco. That was a much lower low than anything Microsoft ever did; Sony, like no other.

Re:What do you expect? (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41948237)

And "plays for sure" can't have hurt many customers. For starters those devices never sold well, secondly there can't have been much content sold for it either, with so little uptake on the hardware side.

That was mostly MS screwing over their business partners. But then, MS business partners are probably used to that already.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948337)

BBBut they have Beelions to spend on marketing...

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948441)

Indeed, and you can thank Apple for that. The DoJ really should have stepped in and told Apple that they can't have exclusive licenses and DRM that's not supported by other devices.

Re:What do you expect? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41948447)

..they sold hundreds of millions of devices. (hint: certain mobile manufacturers phones included playforsure... which made it more complicated for that manufacturer to give root access to developers - as it would have enabled stripping that drm, never mind that it was easy enough to strip anyhow... that screwed a lot of people actually. and to add insult to injury now that same company made MS their primary partner! GO TEAM!!!)

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948615)

Plays for Sure and Kin were nothing compared to the Sony Rootkit [] fiasco. That was a much lower low than anything Microsoft ever did; Sony, like no other.

Hardly a fair comparison. Why would Microsoft write a root-kit when they can just update the kernel?

Re:What do you expect? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948465)

On release day I dubbed Plays For Sure "Plays For Now". That turned prophetic.

Re:What do you expect? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948331)

>It's hard to name another company that treats its customers worse than Sony.

Apple Inc

Re:What do you expect? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948341)

Are you on LSD?

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948363)

The difference is Apple followers like it.

Re:What do you expect? (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948333)

Sony's motto does seem to be "buy our stuff because it doesn't work with your other stuff." Memory stick, really?

Surprised for other reasons. (5, Funny)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#41948113)'s Sony. You should be surprised that it worked this long.

Sometimes it's a good thing when Sony products die. It means they stop spying on you.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#41948391)

Wish there were a +1000 insightful mod.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948403)

It is a Sony under American management. My walkman, discman and minidisc player from ages ago work just fine.

Re:What do you expect? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948405)

Sony used to be the brand of high quality products. All my old Sony tape players and other hardware still works. It can take awhile for people to lose their impressions of a company, especially if they don't understand why their devices stop working. "Computer tech just does that sometimes"

Re:What do you expect? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#41948755)

That was my thought. You bought a Sony product and are surprised when they screw you over? I thought that was why people bought Sony, to be screwed over.

World can be so mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948047)

Yes, practically all hardware you own get's practically useless. I mean, you don't live in socialism, so ditch your cheap crappy hardware and go looking for alternative.

rms is right (4, Insightful)

MadTinfoilHatter (940931) | about 2 years ago | (#41948049)

This is why proprietary software is a bad thing and we should avoid products like this.

Re:rms is right (2)

schitso (2541028) | about 2 years ago | (#41948059)

Now try to get the common consumer to understand that.

Re:rms is right (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#41948127)

More importantly, try to get the common consumer to care.

Re:rms is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948151)

One shouldn't care about the common consumer, until they care about themselves.
Then, it will be a self-fixing issue.

Re:rms is right (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41948215)

Well, this should certainly help. When someone asks you "Why doesn't my Sony work any more?" The answer is "Cos it used closed source software?" Then you can explain it. If they are too thick to understand, then the answer is "That is what Sony is like"

Re:rms is right (2)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#41948449)

Used to do that. The last time was when a Windows Vista update reset a lot of the installed additional drivers for my mum. I took the chance of explaining a little bit of the culture around software and whatnot...
Guys, it is the last time I explained anything for anyone.

I could see such a deep hatred glowing in her eyes, that it gave me an out of body experience almost... And that hatred was towards the pathetic minion (me) sitting and struggling to fix her pc, while giving crappy excuses.

No more PC support ever for me.

Re:rms is right (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41948719)

Doesn't work. To them, it's just you searching for excuses because you're too dumb to fix it.

After all, you're just you, but Sony, that's a big company where a lot of very smart people made that piece of crap you're now struggling to get to work. People still think that products are made with the intention to serve them, not their maker.

Re:rms is right (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41948349)

This is about messaging, and the message has to be simple: "Sony stuff doesn't work with your other stuff because they want to sell you more Sony stuff." And if you want to, you can replace the word "Sony" there with the word "Microsoft". This is a strategy that used to work, and they both still use it, and it doesn't work any more.

Re:rms is right (5, Insightful)

Onymous Coward (97719) | about 2 years ago | (#41948161)

In particular, this situation indicates why tivoized [] systems are a bad thing and why the GPLv3 was necessary. Not that this system had GPL'd software in it necessarily, but if it had, it would have needed the updated, v3 license to allow customers to run their own mods to make the hardware work for them.

Oh, wait. Are the Sony HDD 250 and 500 DVR systems digital signature-locked to prevent modified software from operating?

Re:rms is right (1)

Hidyman (225308) | about 2 years ago | (#41948561)

I own one of the HDD 250's. It's been great, but there is no way (that we know of) to change the firmware without Sony's keys. We can't even add drives to it.
I guess it is time to build a Myth TV box.

Re:rms is right (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#41948701)

> tivoized systems are a bad thing

Exactly. I find myself someties sticking out as being one of the most pro-GPLv3 people I know (I hang around with a lot of open source software contributors), and it's when situations like this occur that I can point to the flag I'm standing under, and say "This is why I am here - I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so".

Re:rms is right (3, Insightful)

theNetImp (190602) | about 2 years ago | (#41948239)

Proprietary software isn't the problem here, proprietary APIs are. If there was an open API that could be switched too this wouldn't be an issue.

sell sell sell (1)

issicus (2031176) | about 2 years ago | (#41948053)

probably better off anyway, don't you know TV rots your brain?

Re:sell sell sell (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41948611)

That depends on what you watch. And, of course, how much.

Indeed, I've noticed that a DVR makes me watch less: I first record the show. Now, I am at a point where I can watch it any time I want, so it's not a priority "I'll have to see it now, or I'll miss it". Which means I might end up not watching it at all before I much later delete it to make space for something else, on the account that if I haven't watched it till then, I'll probably not watch it later either.

Wake up, Federal Trade Commission (5, Interesting)

detritus. (46421) | about 2 years ago | (#41948061)

There should be a mandate that if you want to be a dick and no longer choose to support the software of an obsolete product you sold to maintain core functionality, you should forfeit the source code. At the very least, make it legal to reverse engineer and distribute fixes/functionality without fear of retribution. This is going to become much more common in the future unless someone does something.

Re:Wake up, Federal Trade Commission (5, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 2 years ago | (#41948637)

Yes - I agree, if you don't support it at least make the source code available.

I recently upgraded from CentOS5 to CentOS6. I have a 4 year old Brother printer/scanner, the RPMs for the drivers would not install (wrong [old] version of glibc & similar). Brother tech support tried to be helpful, but no - it was no longer sold and they would not create new RPMs. With a bit of fiddling I was able to get it to work - but a naive user would not have [I am not being rude about some people].

I will never buy a Brother product again - 4 years is not that old for a bit of hardware; if they don't maintain their drivers I will not take the risk of being left with working but unusable hardware; neither will I support a company that leaves its customers in the lurch.

Re:Wake up, Federal Trade Commission (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41948729)

Actually, our copyright law makes reverse engineering "for the intention to create or maintain interoperability" legal. If yours doesn't, it's time to give your politicians a kick in the rear.

When was the last time you saw something of value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948065)

on TV?

COTS versus embedded (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41948067)

This is why you buy COTS hardware instead of embedded solutions, guys. You can always upgrade the software on your own if you have to, but if you can't get to the firmware, then there's no telling if there's some dependancy or requirement to an outside source that you've overlooked. People have been building their own PVRs for years now, and many open source solutions like XMBC have matured to the point where they offer multiple service providers on a wide variety of cheap hardware.

And here's another reason people pirate: I know that I'll always have my video files on my harddrive. They're in a video container format that's been industry standard for years. There are no commercials, no external dependancies, and will play on almost any computer. I can't get that with Netflix -- once, I was halfway through watching a series on 'instant play' when they yanked the entire series. It's no longer available because of some obscure licensing issue that I wasn't informed of until after it was gone. When you rely on "legal" solutions, you're conceding that they have the right and ability to terminate your access at any time. That's also why I don't watch cable TV: It's encrypted and I can't record it. I can't go back and watch it again, and it may never be available again. With pirated content, I know exactly when it'll be available once I have it: Forever.

You're in America (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948069)

Cant you just sue them?

How is this not your fault? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948071)

Whenever you buy a hardware device that relies on online services to perform vital functions YOU must take into consideration what will happen when those services dissapear. It's childish to assume a company will just provide this kind of services to old customers from whom it collects no payments anymore or towards whom it made no written promises.

lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41948073)

its the lifetime of the product, you buy something and its taken off the market an hour later ... u be fucked

ps Santa Clause is not real either, please get a clue

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41948083)

its the lifetime of the product

So a lifetime warranty means it's warranted until it breaks down?

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (4, Insightful)

xlsior (524145) | about 2 years ago | (#41948133)

So a lifetime warranty means it's warranted until it breaks down?

Pretty much, yes.

"Lifetime product warranties" typically cover the 'reasonably expected' lifetime of the product the product in question, not your lifetime.

If anything, 'lifetime warranty' can be a much worse deal than a predefined number of years, since it's so vague. It's often used in sales since it sounds like a great deal to the uninformed buyer, but in reality it's pretty much the ultimate weasel-word.

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41948137)

no, it means its warrantied until they stop making it, and its impossible for them to replace it.

most consumer electronics companies are required to keep parts 3 years.

When I had to deal with it, we had a few irate calls a month cause someone bought a digital piano in 1989 and could not get replacement parts in 2009 when it shat on itself.

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41948177)

When I had to deal with it, we had a few irate calls a month cause someone bought a digital piano in 1989 and could not get replacement parts in 2009 when it shat on itself.

If it had a lifetime warranty, they were justified in being irate. That's a misleading term if you don't mean it to be for the life of the company or company's name (whichever is longer) which is what it should mean legally.

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41948415)

Legally, abny vague term such as 'lifetime' is SUPPOSED to be interpreted in favor of the consumer. If the company means "until we say it's not" or 'three years', they better say that.

Of course, the courts have been corporate friendly for a long time.

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948117)

ps Santa Clause is not real either, please get a clue

What?! Don't believe in Santa, huh? I know someone who's getting a lump of coal in their Xmas stocking this year! (Which nowadays with the price of eting your home is a pretty good gift!)

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (1)

acid_andy (534219) | about 2 years ago | (#41948309)

ps Santa Clause is not real either, please get a clue

What?! Don't believe in Santa, huh? I know someone who's getting a lump of coal in their Xmas stocking this year! (Which nowadays with the price of eting your home is a pretty good gift!)

It's a legal term. The Santa Clause permits Santa Claus to legally enter people's houses uninvited.

Google tells me it was also a Tim Allen [] film.

Re:lifetime doesnt mean your lifetime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948607)

with the price of eting your home

I'd ask Santa for a dictionary if I were you.

Manual programming (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41948089)

Can't dvrs be progrmmed manually, like video cassette recorder owners used to do? Sure, the convienence is gone, but recordings can still be made, can't they?. Buying "Lifetime service" does you no good when companies seem to be able to change it's service at any time. Sometimes, companies lie, and misrepresent their products to get us to buy them. Color me shocked!

Not this one. (5, Informative)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#41948131)

From what I read, Sony decided to save pennies by not having a rtc, and relying on the ota signals. So no ota clock signals, no clock, no work.

Re:Not this one. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41948149)

From what I read, Sony decided to save pennies by not having a rtc, and relying on the ota signals. So no ota clock signals, no clock, no work.

Nice. So then, in this case, the guy now owns a shiny electric paperweight.

Re:Not this one. (1)

Hidyman (225308) | about 2 years ago | (#41948627)

Actually it has an RTC, just no way to "set" it manually.

Bashing onwards (5, Informative)

Mathness (145187) | about 2 years ago | (#41948107)

Is this meant to be another bash SONY because they are "evil" "article"?

Before you head down that line, note that:

- Rovi (corporation) used to be called Macrovision.
- This is for a (free?) Over The Air service.
- No link to the Rovi announcement or their reasoning.
- Affects any device and service relying on Rovi and their data.

It seems to me this is just another move to get people onto cable where media companies can exert more control over content (and the people watching) and rake in more money.

Re:Bashing onwards (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41948543)

Affects any device and service relying on Rovi and their data.

And here's the problem: A device which relies on (instead of just uses, as an option) a specific third party service without need. Would the same device allow to directly enter the data as an option, Rovi stopping the service would be a mere annoyance instead of making the devices useless.

It's in the fine print (1)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about 2 years ago | (#41948119)

Under the terms of the lifetime service agreement all TiVo Guide OnScreen users must now report for termination.

It came out in 2004. What did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948123)

Sorry. While I own multiple Tivo's I can't feel sorry for you, as the DVR's were released in 2004, by digital recording standards, that's old and outdated. I'm actually surprised they still work. Good that they lasted this long. You should check out the new Premiere's. Yeah, it's a monthly fee, but I find it well worth it, and it allows me access to the Xfinity app, that i have only been able to use on my iPad until recently.

Re:It came out in 2004. What did you expect? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41948431)

I have a couple VCRs from the '90s that still work fine, why shouldn't a DVR last at LEAST 10 years (possably w/ a HD replacement)? Apparently Sony=expensive junk.

Considering that a firmware upgrade would at least allow the things to retain useful functionality, it seems like Sony really does owe it to their customers.

Re:It came out in 2004. What did you expect? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 2 years ago | (#41948679)

Complete bullshit. Just because you expect to have to buy something new every few years does not mean that I do. I do not see 8 years as very old. I understand that manufacturers want you to buy something new to maintain their income stream - but I don't feel obliged to contribute.

Reddit Users Bypass Steam Linux Beta Invitations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948129)

Reddit Users Bypass Steam Linux Beta Invitations []

"OMG! Ubuntu! learned from a reader that Reddit users on /r/linux_gaming[1] have already figured out a way to bypass Valveâ(TM)s Beta Invitation â" which allow users to start exploring Steam on Linux much earlier than the folks at Valve had likely planned for.

In order to enjoy the Valve on Linux Beta early users have been using the following stepsâ¦

From Terminal:

        wget []
        sudo dpkg -i steam.deb && sudo apt-get install -f

Then From Unity Dash:

        Launch Steam App
        Login to Steam
        You will get a message saying you arenâ(TM)t in Beta.
        Close this.

If you are on amd64 architecture then you will also need to run âoesudo apt-get install libjpeg-turbo8:i386 libcurl3gnutls:i386 libogg0:i386 libpixman-1-0:i386 libsdl1.2debian:i386 libtheora0:i386 libvorbis0a:i386 libvorbisenc2:i386 libvorbisfile3:i386 libasound2:i386 libc6:i386 libgcc1:i386 libstdc++6:i386 libx11-6:i386 libxau6:i386 libxcb1:i386 libxdmcp6:i386â from terminal without the quotations.

Finally from terminal run âoesteam steam://open/gamesâ without the quotations and you will experience Steam on Linux providing you have all the package dependencies and follow the above steps.

More information on this bypass can be found on /r/linux_gaming[2] subreddit and readers are reminded that although this is not a hack but just a loophole that requires not modification that it could in some manner still violate the Valve Terms of Service so we suggest caution.

Some video of Big Picture and Steam on Ubuntu 12.10 is available here[3] and video of Team Fortress 2 on Ubuntu is here[4]."

[1] []
[2] []
[3] []
[4] [] []

Normal End of Life cycle (2, Insightful)

dokebi (624663) | about 2 years ago | (#41948165)

Dude, Sony discontinued this product 7 years ago. I'm sure you've gotten your money's worth out of it.

Think about it this way: If it died of hardware failure instead, would you be so upset? Likely not.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948201)

Yes, I would and am upset when I cannot get a piece of hardware fixed.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#41948427)

Will you take it to the apothecary or the cobbler to get it fixed? Or perhaps you could take your autogyro to the haberdasherer instead.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (3, Informative)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41948597)

Will you take it to the apothecary or the cobbler to get it fixed? Or perhaps you could take your autogyro to the haberdasherer instead.

"Ending is better than Mending."

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948297)

One could say the same thing about your life, Dude.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948357)

I have a VCR that's over 20 years old that still works fine. Weird thing is, it's a Sony.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948379)

The problem is it didn't suffer a hardware failure. This is like if your car suddenly stopped working because Ford wants to sell you a new one. Yes the engine could've died, but it didn't, it would still work just as well as yesterday if they didn't put the equivalent of a time bomb in the software.

Were the customers aware of this time bomb on the moment of purchase? And I don't mean hiding it in legaleze, was it written in the box that the device would stop working in 2012?

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41948387)

"Dude, Sony discontinued this product 7 years ago. I'm sure you've gotten your money's worth out of it."

They told us before: "It's not a trick, it's a Sony! "

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (5, Funny)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 2 years ago | (#41948421)

The Mayans even predicted this long time ago: the calendar support will end in 2012...

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41948749)

Yeah, but I guess its life cycle is reasonably longer than "lifetime warranty".

And I mean the USER'S lifetime.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (4, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41948429)

Dude, Sony discontinued this product 7 years ago. I'm sure you've gotten your money's worth out of it.

Think about it this way: If it died of hardware failure instead, would you be so upset? Likely not.

The appliance that heats my home is 50 years old. The manufacturer has been out of business since before I was born. Thank God they didn't have this mentality or I'd be in big trouble right now. Remember that the next time you're considering a Sony product. I do. I grew up with everything Sony, but ever since they took functionality away from my PS3, over and over, I make a conscious choice not to buy their products. Even if I don't see a suitable alternative (which sometimes does happen with mid-range headphones), I'll leave the store without buying anything. Every time. You might say I got my money's worth out of the company, so I'm done with it.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41948479)

What would be your 'big trouble right now'? Having to replace an appliance that is 50 years old? What if the appliance breaks, will you be in 'big trouble right now'?

Many products have limitations imposed on them by the external circumstances, for example if you have some water filter from ages ago, if the company goes out of business or stops supporting it, eventually you'll have to give it up even though it's not broken, because you won't be able to find replacement filters and parts for it.

But what about all the people who will have to replace various lighting fixtures and light bulbs that are in perfect working condition just because governments dictate that the old type light-bulbs can no longer be bought legally [] ?

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#41948485)

Sony TVs lasted 10-20 yrs. So, yeah, 7 years sounds 3-13 years short.

Re:Normal End of Life cycle (4, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#41948623)

No, I think this should ding Sony's 'green rating', because of a too-short lifespan and no little-to-none recycling-to-keep-in-use options. Is everyone expected to suddenly buy a new TV set every now and then? Gimme a break. All Sony has to do is allow user-mods to happen. Imagine if a classic car owner was not allowed to 3d-print the broken dashboard controller-thing just to keep it alive. I dunno, something like a plastic turn-signal lock doo-hickey which otherwise makes the car illegal (except when hand-signals are used). Same difference. [] .

Admittedly I am biased because I see an old PC, and I think, 'will it run linux?'

But then again, this is Sony that refuses even the U.S. Military the right to run linux on their paid-for playstations. Apple lost its soul a long time ago, and Sony continues to show them the way.

Why accept this? (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41948659)

Why do you so readily accept electronic end of life as being normal?

My SEGA Mastersystem still works.
My SNES still works (and you can still buy controllers for them too).
My sound system is much older than 10 years.
I still have a working CRT TV, and a working VCR.

Incidentally my grandma has several working pieces of electronic equipment from World War 2.

Why are you so quick to accept that electronics need an end of life, and especially one so short? This is not the death of the medium which the DVR uses like say the move from analogue to digital TV was. This is a piece of gear with a really poor design flaw that for some reason depended on a proprietary 3rd party signal to work. Why would you accept that this 3rd party should decide when you can no longer use your electronics?

Re:Why accept this? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41948763)

I think his apology would probably be his age. I, too, am from a time when TVs lasted 20 years+ and a used car of 10 years of age wasn't something where you're surprised if it still starts on a cold and/or rainy day, when computers were "current" for about 5 or even more years (let's be frank here, what was the lifetime of the C64? I wouldn't be surprised if it ruled for close to a decade).

Today I should consider myself lucky if my TV still runs after 3 years, if my car doesn't break down before its 7 year cycle and don't even think that the computer you bought last year will still be able to run the next incarnation of your OS sensibly.

wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948193)

People still watch cable television?

Just don't buy them (3, Interesting)

Bazman (4849) | about 2 years ago | (#41948219)

I bought a Sony DVR/DVD player about four years ago. It booted up with a choice of EPGs - a plain one, and one with additional functionality and adverts. Yes, half the screen was occupied by ads. After getting annoyed with that after about two microseconds I switched to the plain one.

After a couple of years it started misbehaving, as these things do, telling me that the only thing on TV was 'No Channel Information'. So I thought I'd switch back and see how bad the ad-ridden one was. So I found the setting deep in the unexplored regions of the menu system and flipped.

Same old ad-ridden screen, except this time the ads were blank placeholders. I reckon nobody wanted to advertise there, since nobody was using the annoying EPG...

I did an upgrade from a new OS via a DVD from the Sony web site and it fixed most of the EPG blankness, but the thing has been pretty flakey from day one. I think the initial flakeyness is controlled to be just enough that you don't know if its your own fault for not reading the instructions or if it is genuine faults. Products are always released when the cost in fixing the bugs is more than the cost of handling support calls, right?

Anyway, no more Sony for me.

Screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948303)

You have a brick now. Just look at ps3 with OtherOS feature being removed.

Rovi is evil here, not Sony (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948365)

Rovi uses patents to make money of stuff like DVRs, EPGs and copy protection. I guess they could be called a 'patent troll'. More DVRs sold equals more money for Rovi.

Rovi was born as Macrovision, the VCR copy protect signal. That was compulsory on video cards. So if you have a computer with composite of S-VHS out you probably paid Rovi half a dollar for that.

Hey.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41948371)

You knew damm well when you got it that it was a SONY product. And you knew damm well what that ment.

And NOW you complain when it was you that got screwed.... Well.. i'll tell ya.. nope. it's been far too long. if you're still dealing with sony products after this much time... you're a moron.

sony sucks. stay away from them. that's been the lesson for quite some time.

some are slow learners it seems.

What's the problem? (1)

ygslash (893445) | about 2 years ago | (#41948469)

Everyone could always use another paperweight.
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