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TiVo User's Fears Explored

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the give-me-my-control dept.

Television 363

elrous0 writes "In spite of TiVo's continuing insistence that recent appearances of 'red flag' recordings are mere "glitches," the AP is reporting that customers are beginning to get nervous about the new content-blocking feature added in a recent TiVo upgrade. The story quotes Matt Haughey, of PVRblog.com, as saying 'TiVo would be of limited utility in the future if the studios were allowed to do this with regular broadcast content ... This is like cell-phone jammers. What if you couldn't talk on your cell phone? If customers can't do something with their TiVo that they could in the past, they will stop using it.'" We've touched on this topic in the past.

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363 comments

DRM is the issue, not TiVo (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623289)


ArsTechnica's [arstechnica.com] Ken "Caesar" Fisher [arstechnica.com] has written a rather insightful article [arstechnica.com] about just this issue. Well worth the read.

As "Caesar" stresses in his article, DRM on TiVo is nothing new [arstechnica.com] . There's really no point in getting steamed at TiVo about this...they're victims of DRM just as much as their customers.

If we're going to fix this problem, we need to do it at this [eff.org] level...not at TiVo's level.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623323)

LOOK! An inane first post from TMM modded insightful! WooHooo! All is right with the world!

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623398)

^__^

| o|
|_O|_

It's true!

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623565)

Lynn-ucks likes teh butt-seks.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (4, Informative)

Shamashmuddamiq (588220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623390)

There's also a good article about audio DRM here [zdnet.com] . It's nice to know that consumers (at least the savvy ones) are already starting to notice that DRM is encroaching on their freedoms.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623394)

Nice articles except for the preposterous untruths (or mistakes?) such as:

One thing that needs to be really stressed is the fact that people are better off aiming their ire at the content industry, not TiVo. Why? Because copyright holders under US law unfortunately have the ability to dictate things such as "you cannot record this," "you can only watch this one," and "you have 7 days to watch this." Those are legal rights that copyright holders can and have established with distribution partners. Let me clarify this situation.

According to the Betamax decision that is untrue, correct? Please correct me if i am wrong.

But honestly I saw no reason to read it beyond that paragraph.

Betamax decision (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623548)

The Betamax decision merely stated that companies that sell technology that can be used to violate copyright laws are not responsible for those violations - as long as that is not the intention of said technology. It did not make it legal to violate copyrights, however.

See this site [findlaw.com] for (much) more information.

Self correction (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623574)

Nevermind, I read that site I posted a little more carefully, and it does make claims about fair use as well.

But why did TiVo implement DRM? (2, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623395)

TiVo voluntarily added this crap to their product, so it is their fault.

(I don't completely believe Caesar's article. What law forces TiVo to implement DRM? FCC broadcast flag approval is a red herring, since the broadcast flag was killed.)

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (4, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623468)

Copyright law forces them to license functionality from Macrovision, who said they would only license their product to TiVo if they put this functionality in, so to answer your question, copyright law plus contract law says it has to be there. Originally, TiVo said that they would only use it for Video-On-Demand and Pay-Per-View, but a bug popped up last week that put restrictions on some syndicated programming (King of the Hill, Simpsons).
 
More info here [tivo.com] .

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623504)

How did Copyright Law force them to add anything? It seems more likey to me that certain cartels forced them to put it in under threat of legal action using Copyright Law, but the law didn't force them to do anything.

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623549)

The PPV and VOD broadcasts are encrypted by Macromedia's technology. In order to decode said broadcasts as cable boxes do, they had to license Macromedia's decoder, or face the wrong side of the DMCA (breaking an effective copy protection scheme). They could either not record PPV or VOD at all, or add this functionality. They chose to add functionality with restrictions.

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623604)

Oops! :s /macromedia/macrovision

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (2, Interesting)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623651)

"The PPV and VOD broadcasts are encrypted by Macromedia's technology. In order to decode said broadcasts as cable boxes do, they had to license Macromedia's decoder,"

I'm pretty sure that's innaccurate... my understanding (which may also be innaccurate ;) ):

TiVo needs Macrovision license for their combination DVD burner/player Tivo (not sure why, but it's probably part of the spec to get a "certified by the DVD consortium" DVD device with the appropriate stickers or whatever...)

Macrovision put Tivo over the barell that if they didn't ALSO license/implement their broadcast content protection they couldn't get the certification they needed for the other DVD related products...

fast forward to today (or rather tomorrow) when everybody loses, yeah! clarification/corrections welcome...

e.

Re:But why did TiVo implement DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623606)

The law forces them not to be contributory infringers. Granted, it forces them to do this with the threat of future sanctions, but you're arguing semantics.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (4, Insightful)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623431)

Just because TiVo considers itself to be a DRM victim doesn't mean that people should continue to buy DRM crippled TiVo's.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (2, Interesting)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623455)

Saying that the King of the Hill issue was noise smacks of B.S. That that is his opening salvo really weakens that article.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo-WRONG! (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623490)

One thing that needs to be really stressed is the fact that people are better off aiming their ire at the content industry, not TiVo. Why? Because copyright holders under US law unfortunately have the ability to dictate things such as "you cannot record this," "you can only watch this one," and "you have 7 days to watch this." Those are legal rights that copyright holders can and have established with distribution partners. Let me clarify this situation.

This sounds so wrong to me. There is no law mandating that TiVo include these features yet. If there was, then every VCR sold would need them too - and all the satellite boxes already sold would be upgraded with it.

TiVo still is the problem. They're doing more to aid the content creation industry than they are for their paying customers. I have yet to hear of any copyright statute in law that says a copyright holder can regulate your use of content after you've purchased it - or received it for free over the air.

LET TIVO KNOW HOW MUCH THIS ANGERS YOU, or you're in line to lose more than this!

Mentioning it to Congress can't hurt either.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo-WRONG! (2, Informative)

mosch (204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623627)

If there was, then every VCR sold would need them too - and all the satellite boxes already sold would be upgraded with it. Actually, satellite receivers have had this for a long time. I've only seen it once or twice, but my receivers have shown lock icons on random shows, and output macrovision when playing them, to prevent recording to VCR.

Re:DRM is the issue, not TiVo (1)

Rohan427 (521859) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623582)

As "Caesar" stresses in his article, DRM on TiVo is nothing new. There's really no point in getting steamed at TiVo about this...they're victims of DRM just as much as their customers.

Our Dish Networks DVR does not have DRM and in fact we am legally allowed to record anything we want with it (and we do all the time). It even has instructions in the manual as to how to copy recorded events to VHS (though the same instructions could be used to record to any media).

So, why then is TiVo a victim whereas Dish is not? I'd say because TiVo allowed themselves to be.

PGA

tivo's GOT to be pissed. (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623295)

This is related to a previous article to which I posted my intent were tivo/"the industry" to begin to rein in my ability to:

  • time shift
  • burn to dvd
  • xfer to computer
  • time shift and store indefinitely PPV

I would pretty much dump my tivo... since those are the features of tivo that make television palatable. Since that related article, I've informally caucused friends and family with the possible changes in tivo services/features. Every single one of them agreed they'd not have use for tivo either. (And, they were all very concerned that this could happen -- especially after I verified with each one they were actually on the release of tivo that had these new "features".)

From what I've read, and my correspondence, tivo has resisted as well as they could for as long as they could. I wonder how it must feel at tivo these days when these fucktards start imposing their questionable (unethical) "standards" unilaterally. Sheesh.

Kind of reminds me of and old, old, old Peanuts cartoon... Lucy sees Linus playing with her toys, and in rage takes them all away. Linus is crestfallen, and Lucy taking pity as she walks away tosses him a rubber band, "Here, you can play with this". The next few frames show Linus becoming increasingly fascinated and entertained by and with the rubber band until finally Linus is totally in rapture. Lucy comes back, angrily rips that rubber band from Linus and says, "I didn't mean for you to have that much fun with it!".

Re:tivo's GOT to be pissed. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623460)

From what I've read, and my correspondence, tivo has resisted as well as they could for as long as they could. I wonder how it must feel at tivo these days when these fucktards start imposing their questionable (unethical) "standards" unilaterally. Sheesh.

So while resisting flagged content they have opened the doors to additional commercials during fast forwarding? Give me a break. I loved my Tivo (and I love my DirecTivo) but there is absolutely no reason that someone should pay ~$14/mo to have to put up w/ads while they are skipping other ones.

You want to throw ads at me? Charge me less money per month. Otherwise, off w/them.

I have mentioned here before that I complained to customer service (quietly and in a friendly tone) that I would NOT continue w/my Tivo service if they went forward with advertising in their fast-forwarding. I was told that it wasn't a matter of "if it was happening but when". While I still use a Tivo through DirecTV I'm not paying $14/mo for it and I find no real issues w/it.

Now, my real problem is WHY are the content providers allowed to flag the media in the first place and why can't I promptly output that data to "VCR" and watch it at my leisure regardless of restrictions that the providers put in place? What about fair use? Does anyone care anymore?

Already gave mine back to the store.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623297)

so there...

I've already gotten rid of my TIVO. (5, Insightful)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623305)

They are of no use to me anymore. A slightly better interface than the rest just doesn't cut it.

Re:I've already gotten rid of my TIVO. (3, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623338)

Slashdotters my start dumping TiVo but I think it will be awhile before the mainstream catches on to this or cares.

Re:I've already gotten rid of my TIVO. (4, Interesting)

kabz (770151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623505)

People are going to start *caring* very very quickly as soon as programs start expiring automatically and can't be saved.

If I was TIVO, I'm not sure I would have made the entire screen red. That's really going to upset people. Maybe this will become the 'RED SCREEN OF DEATH' for TiVO.

So what's new now? (2, Informative)

Kelmenson (592104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623307)

The AP article seems to be discussing exactly what was already discussed to death both here and on the TiVo-user sites. What's going to be different between this discussion and the linked, previous, Slashdot discussion?

Re:So what's new now? (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623396)

Score:-1, You Must Be New Here

Re:So what's new now? (1)

Str8Dog (240982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623413)

this thread will have people complaining about reposts?

Re:So what's new now? (1)

slashrogue (775436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623450)

Why, your Information post, obviously! ;)

Re:So what's new now? (2, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623458)

"What's going to be different between this discussion and the linked, previous, Slashdot discussion?"

Some fancy CSS

All The More Reason (5, Informative)

dringess (552168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623308)

To build your own PVR with MythTV [mythtv.org] or BeyondTV [snapstream.com] . It's more work, but you have more control.

Re:All The More Reason (1)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623403)

I'd have to say it would be rather intresting to see the site stats for these sites. Does traffic spike after news like this comes out for a TiVo?

I personally dont have a tivo (hell, I dont have cable or satalite or anything), but after news like this I'd very very very worried about getting one. I'd build a MythTV - or find someone to build/sell me one (if I wasnt capable) - I'm sure there are plently of people selling pre-build MythTV boxes.

Re:All The More Reason (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623531)

Building your own PVR is a great idea but:

First, not everyone has the skills or time to build one.
Second, if you build one for friends and family, you become their tech support.

Re:All The More Reason (2, Interesting)

cdmz1 (97535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623563)

What a dumb comment. Some of us don't want to spend the time to tinker with that shit just to watch TV. Most of us TiVo owners know about Myth and Beyond - if we had the inclination to DIY we would have.

What cracks me up is that Slashdot used to be "WE LOVE TiVo because its based on Linux, way to fight the man!!" to "Screw TiVo they are the MAN with the DRM, DIY with some 0.x release of MythTV! Way to Fight the MAN!"

I have to plug SageTV... (3, Informative)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623583)

That app works awesome on an old laptop I converted into a PVR - BeyondTV choked hard, and MythTV doesn't support my USB2 MPEG encoder.

Re:All The More Reason (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623602)

I haven't heard anything about it for a while, but wasn't there supposed to be a Myth-friendly distro around? It would be great if a Myth distro existed with pre-loaded support for all the major capture cards. Then you'd be able to have your PVR up and running an hour.

the "noise" defense seems a little weak (5, Informative)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623312)

Re:the "noise" defense seems a little weak (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623393)

Yeah, I didn't belive the "noise" argument either. A lot of people reported this and many of them were in the same area. I think either the Fox guys were over protective, or they had some oddball equipment installed that accidentally tripped the flag.

Re:the "noise" defense seems a little weak (1)

Randseed (132501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623512)

Probably the latter. Think about it: If FOX doesn't let your TiVo record the show, then chances are you won't watch it. There is then no chance you will see their commercials. If FOX does let you record the show, then chances are you will watch it, and maybe see the commercials. Then FOX gets to take advantage of the stats that the TiVo sends back to, well, TiVo. In other words, even if you're skipping commercials, there's really no downside for FOX letting you record the thing, and there is a downside for turning on the DRM flag.

Me? I'm waiting for the class action against TiVo so I can join in.

Precarious position (3, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623322)

The growing concern by broadcasters and Hollywood puts TiVo in a spot. However, I think standing by their customers and taking this challenge head-on is a good approach. Their customers want the features they have grown accustomed to. I think it's in their best interest to fight for their customers here. Like digital music, TV is at the crossroads of a new way of viewing movies and shows. We can hope they stand at this juncture and say, "Look, Guys, this is not 1975. It's time to move into the new age here."

Re:Precarious position (1)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623442)

OK I don't get it. Why would any corporation fight for its consumers or customers unless it involves smoking or guns. Even in 1975, if Tivo existed, it would have played by Media company rules.

Re:Precarious position (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623476)

In what way is TiVo standing up for their customers? I don't think that cooperating with Macrovision by including DRM features is standing up for it's customers.

Hax0r it (4, Insightful)

Lakee911 (792405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623329)

It's only a matter of days before a hack will surface on how to bypass any anti-recording-flag. The underground TiVo community is huge and need not worry die hard TiVo fans. Will it prevent casual TV recording? Maybe. Will it hurt the TiVo company? Probably. Can we still record what ever we want? Sure! Jason

Re:Hax0r it (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623420)

While they're at it can they get a hack made so I can use my Zen Sleek MP3 player with Linux? Or at least NOT WinXP?

Friggin DRM. Grumble grumble.

Re:Hax0r it and pay the fine (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623575)

It's only a matter of days before a hack will surface on how to bypass any anti-recording-flag.

It is also only a matter of time before content providers start suing and/or sending people to jail under the DMCA for doing this.

Well that answers that (2, Insightful)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623331)

I was just on the verge of diving into the modernity and purchase/subscribe to a DVR. Tivo was one of the top choices - but forget it now. What other good choices are there, really? Besides spending a few grand on building my own.

Re:Well that answers that (1)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623368)

Building your own doesnt take much. Put together a basic computer with a lot of storage, a DVD burner, and a good TV tuner and buy a program like ShowShifter.

I did it for about 600 bucks, actually less now that I run it under Linux and free DVR software. Works like a charm.

SM

Re:Well that answers that (5, Informative)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623433)

Heres some links for good hardware to start with.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16856101111 [newegg.com] - I actually use this very one. Comes with some excellent media center software, a remote control, built in stereo Hi-Fi unit (can operate independantly of the rest of the computer). Essentially, you end up with a DVR/Media Center/Hi Fi Stereo unit.
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16856101233 [newegg.com] - Intel-based version of above
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82 E16814127987 [newegg.com] - Reccomended tuner to the above hardware. I use a cheapy ATI TV Wonder that I've had for a few years anyway

You dont need a high power processor, a ton of RAM, or anything beyond the on-board video, unless you plan on doing things beyond DVRing. I have a bit of experience with this, so drop me a message if you want any furter info.

Re:Well that answers that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623559)

What are the noise levels of that first unit you linked to? How many fans (don't forget the PSU) and what sizes? Are they replaceable with quieter ones?

Re:Well that answers that (1)

screevo (701820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623591)

Theres two fans on the CPU cooler. It's pretty quiet, you can't hear it over the hum of a powered on TV. I'd imagine you could add more, but being a small form factor case, it gets quite cramped. The only additional thing I'd suggest is, MAYBE, putting a expansion slot fan in ther (one powered by a molex connector). The case will run hot depending on your chip and the load, but i've never had any major problems.

Re:Well that answers that (4, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623544)

You don't need a few grand to build your own. I started building my own myth box 2 days ago. Got it pretty much fully working last night. I spent $130 on a Hauppauge PVR-350, which has a great quality TV in/out with hardware MPEG encoder/decoder. Since the PVR-350 is doing the tough work, it's a very light load on the CPU. I threw it on an extra P3-450, and live TV (simultaneos record and timeshifted playback) still leaves it about 75-80% idle time.

So you can see the system requirements are very light. If you don't have any old hardware laying around, then even buying some new bottom-of-the-line stuff should do good with this card. Just off the top of my head, $100 each for CPU, motherboard and hard drive, $50 for memory, $30 each for case, CD/DVD drive and a cheap VGA card, plus $130 for the PVR-350, and you are only looking at $570. Actually, if you watch around, you can routinely find 200GB hard drive's for $40-$50 after rebate, so that puts you just over $500....plus your time (whatever you value that at).

A future headline? (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623345)

"Ford introduces mile-limiter on cars to lower gas consumption. Depending on how much money you pay for the car, you might be able to travel 10 miles or 100 a day. Apparently, not compatible with older versions of their cars, because limitations on features for something you pay for does sound absurd. Potential Ford drivers urged to switch to GM cars by current Ford drivers".

I don't know where I was going with this.

their fears are well founded (5, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623347)

TiVo has caved into the content producers, and handed over control of the DRM process to them. The recent accidental flagging of content in this way proves it is out of TiVo's hands, and within the realm of control of the broadcaster. That makes it only a matter of time before broadcasters will begin to use this feature. If TiVo wants to retain loyal customers, they need to take back control: they should require digital authorization codes for DRM features and DRM the DRM so that only TiVo can authorize DRM restrictions on content. Unfortunatley, even then TiVo users will have to worry about whether TiVo will allow DRM on content only in reasonable situations, or if TiVo will cave into monetary or legal pressures and allow it on anything the broadcasters want.

The end of TiVo's usefullness is approaching quickly. Probably time to get some more developers working on the open source alternatives.

Returned my TIVO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623356)

I recently purchased a replacement TIVO (thanks Katrina) at a Best Buy and read that same evening about the broadcast flag limitations. I immediately returned it the next day. The article's supposition is right. If I can't do what I am used to doing with my TIVO, then I have no desire to own one. Spending $13 a month to be told what I can and can't do is insulting.

Cell Phone jammers? (0)

fa2k (881632) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623371)

That's the dumbest metaphor ever

http://www.mythtv.org/ (0, Redundant)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623385)

Why? (3, Interesting)

Str8Dog (240982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623386)

Exactly why is TiVo adding this functionality? I cannot for the life of me figure it out. Is there a law somewhere that says they must? Or are they just afraid of the cost of a legal battle with the **AAs? Are the media companies so powerful now that they can impose thier will with just the treat of a lawsuit?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623597)

"Exactly why is TiVo adding this functionality? I cannot for the life of me figure it out"

It was a licensing requirement from Macrovision
See here http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050914-5307 .html [arstechnica.com]

Re:Why? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623633)

Yes. Notice that at this point, no one is getting sued for content downloading, they are getting sent collection letters. The only 3 content download cases that I am aware of are the 3 single mothers going to court. -Rick

That's why I use MythTV (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623387)

Tivo is great, and a few days of using it is the reason why I've been unable to watch TV without a PVR since. But for my own use, it's all about MythTV, and this story is exactly the reason. Pick whatever free PVR you want if you don't like Myth.

And if you don't like any free PVR, and are going to say something like "Free PVR X is too difficult to set up" or "X has a crappy interface compared to Tivo", I'm going to agree. But consider that in five years your Tivo is going to have the same usability and fewer features, while the free PVR will get easier to set up and use, will have more features, and above all will still be Free.

Tivo was all about taking control of your TV experience. The industry doesn't like that, and they are slowly going to take that control back. The Free PVRs, much like Free Software itself, is a way for you to keep that control.

Re:That's why I use MythTV (0, Redundant)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623484)

On a side note about mythTV: one of the greatest TiVo experiences i've enjoyed is with dual-receiver DirecTiVo. You can record 2 shows and watch another (recorded show). Does mythTV support multiple receivers? I'm too lazy to go find out, someone just tell me. :-)

Re:That's why I use MythTV (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623496)

But consider that in five years your Tivo is going to have the same usability and fewer features, while the free PVR will get easier to set up and use, will have more features, and above all will still be Free.

Well, believe me when I tell you -- the content providers will start going after the homebrew PVR market next. Whether it will be getting to the TV-in card manufacturers or to Congress -- they will do everything in their power to make sure that *they* control their content regardless of fair-use.

So, in five years, when you claim Tivo will be worthless I expect the home-brew PVR software to be acceptable for a good many people to use but I also expect that there will be built-in hardware limitations that will only be circumvented by those with the ability to create their own hardware solutions that are flag free.

Scary, I know -- welcome to Corporate America.

I don't get it (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623402)

I have watched and laughed as Tivo has bent over and taken everything from the industry. I am both a ReplayTV and MythTV owner. I don't understand why or how Tivo does what they do. If I bought a box with functionality X,Y,Z, and later Y is ammended in a way that causes some controversy (in a way I do not like), then I think Tivo has broken a contract.

Throughout it all, my ReplayTV experience has gone un-touched, I still have commercial skipping and the like. The way Replay skirts the issue is that they change model numbers and can then change the feature set. My 4500 has commercial skip where the 5500 does not. How Tivo is legally able to change it on all models is beyond me.

Re:I don't get it - Now That's Marketing! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623547)

My 4500 has commercial skip where the 5500 does not.

Funny that they remove a popular feature - one of the most popular features of a DVR - and increase the model number at the same time.

Even with the broadcast flag, TiVo getting better (1)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623405)

There are some good reasons to upgrade to the new TiVo software even if it does not let you record content with the broadcast flag. The biggest reason for me is that now you can do the complete setup process without a telephone line. The entire setup from system reset can be done with wireless internet.

I just bought a new TiVo and was upset that it shipped with the last software rather than the most recent. I had to take it to a neighbors house to have it use the phone line since I only have a cell phone.

In any case you can read my review of the Humax TiVo with DVD burner [ostermiller.org] . I review it as a TiVo, as DVD player, and as a DVD burner.

Re:Even with the broadcast flag, TiVo getting bett (2, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623452)

Series 2 has been network ready since it came out of the box. I bought mine in 2002 and it has never touched a phone line. As long as you bought a plain vanilla Linksys USB adapter you were good to go. The trick was to set the dial-out number to #401, which would initiate the network connection.

Re:Even with the broadcast flag, TiVo getting bett (1)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623489)

You've never been able to do it over wireless until now though. I don't have a wired USB adapter.

Re:Even with the broadcast flag, TiVo getting bett (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623552)

Say What? I've had my Series 2 running over 802.11 since the day I bought it (over two years ago now). I've been using a Microsoft MN-510 (IIRC). The TiVo software even has sections for setting up your WEP keys, monitor signal strength, and everything.

Got rid of my TiVo, using BTV (3, Interesting)

ratajik (57826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623408)

I cancelled my TiVo subscription 4 days ago - I'm now using BeyondTV. I had the original model of the TiVo, and have been paying the monthly on it since TiVo first came out (yeah, I know, in hindsight I should have bought the lifetime subscription). I loved my TiVo - it really changed how I watched TV. But what I wanted in a DVR is something that records TV, keeps it until I tell it to get rid of it, etc.

The TiVo rep argued with me that they had "resolved" the problems with shows getting deleted. I understand that it wasn't intentionally turned on, but the fact is the device now supports and allows broadcasts to muck around with this kind of thing. They offered to knock the monthly down 1/2, but I'm not interested any more.

I don't like the direction the company is heading in, so I've switched. I'm not going back, unless there's a radically change in their direction - and even then I'm no likely to. I like having control over my DVR - dual headed, 1TB storage, DVD burner, can ADD shows to the machine (and get them off), and I can extend and expand that machine as I see fit.

Long live BTV! :)

-Greg

Re:Got rid of my TiVo, using BTV (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623580)

I cancelled my TiVo subscription 4 days ago ... (yeah, I know, in hindsight I should have bought the lifetime subscription).

If you'd already paid for a lifetime subscription, then you're cancelling of it now would not have had the same impact on them.

offered to knock the monthly down 1/2

So, threaten to leave and get your subscriptions at 1/2 price. Hummm

Convert SA Tivo's to MythTV (2, Interesting)

Bruha (412869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623412)

This should not be hard. All the hardware is present and you have a instant DVR that can do more than what Tivo did. Maybe even use a usb dvd drive to put movies on dvd and such.

Sadly DirectTivo's probably are out of the picture for this.

If you buy something because of promised features (3, Interesting)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623417)

and later the company takes away some of that capability, do you have some legal basis for claiming false advertising, or reneging on contract, or something like that?

I think this would be more of a question for people who paid for a lifetime subscription, but it also throws into the question the value of any future lifetime subscriptions, because if their contract allows them to start adding restrictions after the fact, is it really of much value?

Perhaps a similar question could have been first pursued back when the company started venturing into adding advertising into the skip features, etc., as well.

Re:If you buy something because of promised featur (1)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623494)

I doubt it. Most Terms of Usage proclaim that they can not be held legally accountable for changes in their Terms of Service you agreed to, and decided to ignore if you updated and were given warning that the terms of your service have changed.

Now, if they gave NO warning that their terms changed as they said they would, that might be something, but as I see it, most companies try to cover that hole.

Re:If you buy something because of promised featur (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623620)

In the UK, the Trade Descriptions Act means that, if you bought it within a year of them changing the terms, you can return it for a full refund. According to this act, a device must be `suitable for the purpose for which sold,' so if you state at purchase time that you want / need a particular feature, or the advertising states that it possesses it, and it turns out that it doesn't, you are eligible for a refund.

How to let Tivo know how you feel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623419)

My suggestion? Call up Tivo and cancel your service. While they process your request, they'll ask you what your reason was. Explain it to them.

Within a day or so, you'll get an email begging you to resume your service with a 30-day credit.

It worked the last time Tivo tried to pork it's customers.. The whole obnoxious full-screen ad while fast-forwarding.

Hit em where it hurts.

Might this spur IP TV and true On-Demand? (2, Interesting)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623426)

Most people I know who have one swear by their TiVos. I'm probably the rare Slashdotter that doesn't have one yet, but my reasons are very simple: I hate TV and the vast majority of the content available. I have a few shows that routinely take up my time, and they're on at shitty hours (damn you, [adult swim]!), but I can't justify buying a TiVo just to watch 3 or 4 shows in the middle of the afternoon rather than 1:00 AM.

I'm wondering if most people don't feel the same way, considering the response to this DRM seems to be "I'd have to get rid of my TiVo and stop watching TV". Given this, doesn't it seem that IP TV and true on-demand services might get a big boost out of TiVo's being crippled with DRM? If broadcasters can't sell commercials they won't buy shows, and if shows can't sell themselves to broadcasters they inevitably have to start selling directly to the people who want to watch.

Basically: might this be a blessing in disguise?

C

Your Own Software (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623436)

Any way yet to load your own software into TiVo while maintaining their subscription service? Seems to me that I recall hearing a few months ago that TiVo was supposed to be opening itself up to 3rd party add-ins. There must be an API set somewhere.

I Hope This Madness Will End Soon (5, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623437)

I agree with the first post: DRM is the issue, not specifically TIVO.

I remember when I got my first real computer, an Apple //e (I had a TRS-80 Color Computer before that, but I'm talking about my first usable computer). IIRC, games were $20-$30 a piece. Applewriter //e was $200. Programs were using heavy copy protection. I remember reading a lot of articles about it, and one point was that any disk that could be copy-protected could be broken. Even when IBM became bigger than Apple, for a while copy protection was big. I remember going in and using Don Lancaster's disassembly of Applewriter //e to figure out how to make my own copies of Applewriter //e so I could start modifying it on my own (and leave my precious, licensed copy safe and untouched). I stayed with Apple for a good while because it was fun, because I knew the monitor ROM closely, and because I could not afford to upgrade. Then I got a good deal on an Amiga. By the time I got back into the "mainline" again, Windows 95 was big.

At that point almost no programs had copy protection. It had gone out of style because it cost more to keep ahead of the crackers than to just put it out and make what you could on honest customers. I remember in the material I read by Apple crackers, they pointed out that any disk the computer could run, copy protected or not, HAD to be able to be read by the boot loader, so at least the first sector had to be easily readable. From there on, a good cracker could figure it out one way or the other, as long as he took the time.

We know that any form of DRM is breakable, not just through brute force, but by reverse engineering. Yes, there's the DMCA, but tha is not going to stop cracking programs from being easily found, just as pirated software was easy to find in the days of Apple //e and programs like Locksmith were all over the place -- usually as a pirated copy in the basement of a teen uber-geek who had hundreds of copied 5 1/4" disks.

This is just a new market. Software publishers have gotten used to knowing there are unauthorized copies of their work, in perfect digital form, being traded among the public. This same idea scares the life out of RIAA and MPAA, but eventually they'll realize that it costs more, in the long run, to keep everything protected than to just release it as is and make what you can from the millions of honest customers. They've already started to change their positions on this. When Napster came out, there was no way they wanted ANY online distribution. ITunes changed that. The studio making the Harry Potter movies announced in a press release that large batches of Harry Potter III were released without any copy protection to see how it went, since protection was so expensive to incorporate and license.

It'll take a long while, especially with Microsoft doing the Harold Hill routine (from "The Music Man") where they say, "Hey, all these people will still your stuff. You've got trouble, right here in River City," and, at the same time saying, "But I'll tell you how to fight that trouble. Just pay us tons of money and we'll make sure you don't lose tons of money. We'll protect it all!" Eventually, though, the added expense and work needed for protection and the paranoia of the MPAA and RIAA will start fading and we'll see something much more reasonable, just like we did in the evolution of software marketing.

Add to that the growth of FOSS and people with guts, like the gov. in Mass., who are beginning to see the value in open formats and software that doesn't cost a ton of money, and eventually, after all the fears are shown groundless, we'll see the entire data and content market become commodity markets, just like the expensive long distance and cell phone markets have become.

Re:I Hope This Madness Will End Soon (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623576)

We know that any form of DRM is breakable, not just through brute force, but by reverse engineering.

Not quite. You can't easily break a hardware protection scheme unless you are willing to spend millions of dollars on hacking the hardware. If you use strong encryption that is well-implemented and uses hardware, it will not be possible to crack. Nobody has yet cracked DirecTV encryption, for instance. The new initiatives like TCPA should make DRM extremely secure.

Re:I Hope This Madness Will End Soon-Etiquette (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623616)

I agree with the first post: DRM is the issue, not specifically TIVO.

Then you should have posted your comments under that post. That is proper Slashdot Etiquette.

Flag my programs and I'll stop watching (1)

lildogie (54998) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623451)

I watch programs on Tivo because I don't want to watch on someone else's schedule.

*casters, I'll stop watching your shows if you flag them so I can't record them.

Re:Flag my programs and I'll stop watching (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623510)

Evil TIVO Guy: There's nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

Frightened Consumer: But does this mean I won't be able to record bad soft porn on the Playboy Channel?

Evil TIVO Guy: There's nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

Frightened Consumer: The whole reason I pay you guys a subscription is so that I can record stuff off the TV. Now I see this thing flashing on my screen. I'm frightened.

Evil TIVO Guy: Merely a technical glitch. There's nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

Frightened Consumer: I think you're lying to me. I think I'm not going to be able to record every... [thwak smuck bang crunch rip]

Evil TIVO Guy [lip smacking]: Yummy consumer, needs salt. There's nothing to worry about. Nothing at all. Merely a technical glitch.

5 steps (1)

antonymous (828776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623477)

1. Introduce innovative product to market
2. Gain market share
3. Cripple features which made your product innovative in the first place
4. ???
5. Profit! [yahoo.com]

Screw Tivo use Usenet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623478)

subject says it all

A cell phone jammer? What a great idea! (-1, Offtopic)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623479)

I see at least one person driving and talking away on their cell phone during my short 8-mile jaunt to/from work every day, often changing lanes or turning without signalling and doing other things which compromise traffic safety, and I'd love to be able to carry a portable jammer in my car so I could *terminate* their unsafe conversations and help them to concentrate on the multi-ton metal object they're supposedly "in control" of...

IMSNShO, the use of cell phones while driving in a moving vehicle should be treated the same as drinking and driving -- the associated risks are roughly similar.

Re:A cell phone jammer? What a great idea! (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623541)

I looked into it. But I think that it would CAUSE more accidents than it stopped. You see when the call gets disconnected, they will take their eyes off the road and put them on the phone. (Exactly what you DON'T want them to do!) Then they fiddle with the phone, maybe redial (again more distraction, not less). And as soon as you get out of range they will call back or be called back making yet another moment of distraction.

I think it is best to just let them be at 20-50% aware rather than make them dip down to 5% aware.

If everyone had a jammer though, it'd be a different story.

How To Tell TiVo To Quit Porking You Up The Ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623485)

http://research.tivo.com/suggestions/2web519.htm [tivo.com]

Tell them you dont want their corporate dick up your ass. You bought their unit as advertised. Fucking with your options as a customer constitutes bait and switch, and a big cock up your ass.

No worries... just hit eBay for a Series 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13623493)

...and mod that puppy like crazy until it does what you want. That's what I did. Bigger drive, ethernet, web interface.. the works. Even found an OS X app that needs about three mouse clicks to suck a recording from the TiVo and burn it to DVD.

I'm developing a real "love the product, can't stand the company" thing about TiVo, like I used to have about Apple in the 90s.

Filter that BF (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623513)

If noise can trip the Broadcast Flag, how about a box between the signal and the TiVo to "Clean Up The Signal"?

Step 1 is knowing where in the signal the BF is.

Re:Filter that BF (2, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623623)

As I understand it, this flag is part of the new macrovision system. Macrovision is done using the extra non visible part of the signal (where the closed captioning is...extra scan lines at the end of each frame). There have been tools out there for years that strip out this extra data from the signal (just saw one at CompUSA for $80).

Is Akimbo viable yet? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623515)

If Tivo got too restrictive, I would have no qualms about unloading it. I *really* only use it for Adult Swim, History Channel and Discovery Channel anymore. Can anyone comment if the Akimbo broadband-based, on-demand system is a good deal at this point? For $20 a month, I could get all their standard programming ($15) plus Adult Swim ($5). Yes, it uses DRM Windows Media format....HOWEVER (big HOWEVER), the difference is that you already know what you're getting into from the get-go. And, since it's akin to a rental system, the DRM in this case would be expected.

This is why... (1)

B11 (894359) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623518)

I've never bought a TiVo or rented a DVR from the cable companies. There is NO guarantee that either will stand up to Hollywood (of course much less from my cable company, Time Warner!!!!).

I mean why even bother when you can set up a DRM-free PC DVR for 60 bucks (minus the cost of the PC)!

The good news (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623526)

If they do this, I can convince my wife to let me pick up the items to make my own Myth TV device - I have the spare machine, just need the capture card.

Since I picked up the Tivo for her, she's fallen in love with it (always the first step). Now, if they get annoying, I have an excuse for more hardware in my house.

Why "fear" (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623538)

Why would customers "fear" this? Is it just a case of extreme addition to this gadget? It's very simple. From what I understand, they signed a usage agreement/contract, and if Tivo violates it, they just sue. If I watched TV and had one of these recorder thingies, I'd do just that. I don't understand why there'd be "fear" over Tivo changing the contract mid-stream.

Re:Why "fear" (4, Informative)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623626)

From what I understand, they signed a usage agreement/contract, and if Tivo violates it, they just sue.


Silly, silly, lad

What do you think the EULA on 99% of the software says:
a) We promise our software will not damage your system or data in a way.
b) We in no way accept responsibility for damage done to your system or data. Install and use at your own risk.

The user agreements are to protect the company's interests, not the user's. The user agreements are to cover their butts, so if something happens they can say "But you accepted the service agreement that says it's alright." Heck, they probably do more to tie the hands of the users instead of the company.

I gaurantee you somewhere in Tivo's agreement (probably somewhere prominent) they say that they reserve the right to modify their services and update their software whenever and however they feel necessary. Almost all service-based products allow for this.

Bad comparison (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623586)

"This is like cell-phone jammers. What if you couldn't talk on your cell phone? "

Then I would actually go to the movie theatre instead of waiting for the DVD. The inability to watch a movie in peace and quiet is the primary factor in dissuading me from going to the local multiplex. Still waiting for the management of said multiplexes to wake up to this fact.

The ban on cellphone jammers in the U.S. needs to be lifted ASAP.

Back to old school.... (1)

FaasNat (522755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623618)

Almost makes you want to go back to using VCRs and tapes since you won't have to deal with this stuff there....

Who Would Win If...? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13623643)

Who would have won if TiVo had simply said "No" to Macrovision's new terms. If they said, We'll risk losing people who can't watch your DRM content, but you'll lose millions of viewers and be hated by all of them.

Who would have won?

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