Categorized | Uh-Oh Bad PVR News

Cable companies will expire your Six Feet Under DVR recordings

Posted on 12 December 2004 by

BoingBoing post by Cory Doctorow which highlights to me why the homebrew PVR approach is important even if your cable company offers a DVR for only 5 bucks a month… Cable companies will expire your Six Feet Under recordings after 2-4 weeks

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“Time-Warner is arm-twisting cable companies into agreeing to a scheme to automagically erase your saved episodes of Six Feet Under from your cable-company-provided PVR after a month or so. This is the danger of sucking up to the studios in the first place: they say, “Suuuure, we’ll ‘let’ you build a PVR that will tape the shows you cablecast to your customers, but that permission is contingent on our ongoing goodwill. So if in the future we decide, for example, that your PVR can’t record certain shows, or can’t skip certain commercials, or can’t store certain recordings for more than a few days, you’d better implement it. Or else. So what if your customers can’t figure out why their PVRs don’t work properly? That’s your problem, pal.”


“Why do cable operators think they have to get a studio’s permission to build a PVR? Since when do studios get to have a veto over the design of TV-recording technologies? In a way, I can sorta feel sorry for the cable operators, whose utter lack of spine has put them in a position where they have to face the wrath of angry, $70/month cable customers whose PVRs have stopped working because some Time-Warner exec’s astrologer has told him that four weeks is the longest anyone can hold onto a copy of Six Feet Under without driving their business into the ground.

But I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for the cable operators. It’s hard to work up a big mouthful of warm feeling for a company that makes you feel like you were just traded to another inmate for 2 packs of menthol cigarettes. After all, if they hadn’t sold us all out in the first place, they wouldn’t be in this position.

A middle-level executive at Time Warner has approached several cable companies and broached the idea of restricting the ability of customers who use those company’s Digital Video Recorders to record several popular Time Warner TV programs…

Viewers would be able to record an episode with their DVR, but there would be a time limit on how long it would be available for viewing. The executive was pushing for an expiration date that coincided with the premiere of the next episode. The consensus of the cable executived was that it needed to be between 2-4 weeks.

Of course, you can just get around this problem by following the advice of Microsoft’s senior DRM engineers and downloading your Six Feet Unders from a P2P network like Kazaa. They won’t expire, you can watch ’em on any device, and you don’t even need to sign up for a $70/month cable service. Link (via Copyfight)”

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