You Can Take The Company Out Of The DRM Business, But You Can't Take The DRM Business Out Of The Company

from the but-of-course dept

Rovi is the company that used to be called Macrovision. It got its start as the annoying DRM for VCRs and expanded into all kinds of DRM over the years. In 2008, it bought GemStar-TV Guide and was then in the TV Guide producing business as well. While it eventually sold off the DRM/software parts of its business, apparently it just can’t help doing what DRM companies know how to do best: breaking other technology. As reported on Slashdot, Rovi has announced that it’s shutting off its TV Guide OnScreen service between now and April 13 of the next year. Apparently a number of devices, including two key Sony DVRs, will no longer work once the service is shut off. Not surprisingly, this is upsetting many owners of those devices:

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.

Quite a legacy MacROVIsion has, huh?

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Companies: rovi, sony

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Comments on “You Can Take The Company Out Of The DRM Business, But You Can't Take The DRM Business Out Of The Company”

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25 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“Rovi has announced that it’s shutting off its TV Guide OnScreen service between now and April 13 of the next year”

That’s a badly worded sentence. When I read it I thought you met you were temporarily turning it off from now UNTIL April 13th, then turning it back on, which made even less sense. It wasn’t until I clicked on the link and read the original story that I got what you met by this.

out_of_the_blue says:

Suddenly you're for preserving old tech?

Other times you’d be happy dinosaurs are dying, wrongly call the dead-enders “Luddites”, and tell the suckers who bought those gadgets to move on.

You could at least set this in a “framework” of how high-tech gadgets requiring external data connections are inherently flawed. But no, Little Picture Mike just ends on a lame rhetorical question.

Anonymous Coward says:

it only happens because it is allowed or encouraged to happen. if governments and certain politicians were to worry more about the fuck ups they cause by (not)legislating concerning the really important things that affect the really important section of society, ie, the public that they are supposed to represent, that they have been voted into office to represent, there would be far fewer fuck ups to begin with!!

gorehound (profile) says:

DRM The Digital Moronic Retardo.
The stuff you do not find in this here home.

Industry…………Take your DRM and shove it up your Anus !
I do all I can to avoid anything that is DRM including any kind of Hardware you might need to purchase.

My Gear will always work.My 1500 plus piece Library is mine and owned by me.

My Music is all physical and owned by me.
So are the films of MAFIAA I buy all physical and all bought Used.

David Woodhead (profile) says:

TiVo did this in the UK

No, it’s not really a DRM thing. However …

For those of us in the UK who were early adopters of TiVo, this is nothing new. The Series 1 TiVo programme guide got withdrawn in June 2011, turning our perfectly working boxes into expensive paperweights. Fortunately a group of enthusiasts who so loved their TiVos got together and created an alternative EPG.

So, for those of you in the US where I believe TiVo has a much bigger market: beware. They could do it to you.

Mr. Applegate says:

Business opertunity

Well there is a business opportunity to be had here.

Someone could build a small transmitter that could be used to inject the needed data into the box, it would not be particularly challenging to do this on a technical level.

Of course there are three major problems that come to light, at least if done in a ‘for profit’ way.

1. RIVO will claim that the new device violates their IP and will sue you out of existence. Despite the fact that they ‘turned off the service’.

2. What ever source was used to scrape the data from would also claim infringement and sue you out of existence.

3. Unless the device sits in between the antenna and DVR to prevent ‘transmitting over the air’ it would likely require an FCC license.

Oh wait there is the big fat government in the way to make sure that we have to fill the landfills with more electronics sooner, otherwise they can’t keep the consumer economy going. (If you can call it going, it certainly isn’t growing.)

IP laws are so outdated that they actually impede innovation. Of course big business and government both know this already, which is why they fight so hard to keep it in place, and increase it’s footprint.

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