TiVo Hijacking British TVs

from the oops dept

TiVo is apparently still experimenting with new business models to keep the broadcast industry from suing them out of business. The latest experiment in the UK is secretly forcing TiVo devices to record some sitcom, and then forcing that show to remain on the device for at least a week. It is a creative attempt at doing something different, but any “unauthorized” use of a device that someone has bought is likely to piss people off – and pissing people off is never a good business idea. TiVo claims it’s not a big deal since it used special disk space that doesn’t eat into the regular disk space – and only recorded the show if nothing else was being recorded (so it wouldn’t interfere). They have a point that it did nothing bad specifically – but it did make use of a box that people thought they owned. Amusingly, the experiment didn’t even work properly as the BBC (which broadcast the sitcom) started the show late, and the TiVos cut off the end of the program.

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Comments on “TiVo Hijacking British TVs”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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Sounds like the argument that 80’s hackers used for hacking into VAX machines. They weren’t doing any harm… They wanted to hack into the machine just to see if they could.

Plain and simple. If I wanted the sitcom I’d record it. If TiVo feels recording the sitcom would help them in some way I’d even consider it. Taking control of my box and forcing me to keep a show that I don’t want on my hard drive is hacking. The only thing this is going to do is irritate the TiVo underground groups and cause them to look for ways around this. They’ve hacked every aspect of the TiVo but have been respectful of TiVo’s wishes to not disclose certain things (FileSystem, Subscription info, removing videos from TiVo, etc…) but this will more than likely change some peoples minds.

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