Can they disable all TiVos one day?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by dougtv, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. Oct 14, 2020 #1 of 100

    dougtv Member

    May 20, 2015


    I'm not talking about Cable Companies one day getting rid of the way we receive CATV (i.e. moving to IP only, eliminating support for CableCards)

    My curiosity is will the TiVo hardware ever go extinct based on an external updates? While CableTV support and the Live Guide could stop updating one day even for OTA if TiVo were to go out of business completely... my concern is more towards losing the entire TiVo interface experience, including but not limited to, access to recorded programs, ability sending recordings (pytivo, etc) to my TiVo devices/Minis. I'd like to think all the recent efforts I am putting into moving my home library collection to TiVo and setting up TiVo minis in every bedroom, won't someday stop functioning like old streaming devices always do every 5-6 years or so. TiVo Premiere and Roamio work GREAT even today if you use them as DVRs, I would hate for them to just stop working 3 years from now.

    Does anyone else have Tivo anxiety-like concerns?
  2. Oct 14, 2020 #2 of 100

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    Yes, and it could happen soon. The FCC just eliminated the rule requiring cable companies to support CableCARDs so at any moment your cable company could decide that they don't like CableCARDs and your TiVo would stop functioning. The other threat is IPTV. Comcast is already starting to transition some of it's channels in some markets to IPTV. IPTV works completely differently and is incompatible with CableCARD so once that transition is complete CableCARDs will stop functioning. Right now only Comcast and a few regional companies are transitioning to IPTV, and there is no indication on how long that transition could take. So if you're not in Comcast territory then you're probably safe for a while yet. If you're in Comcast territory then it could be months, it could be years, but eventually they are definitely transitioning to IPTV.
  3. Oct 14, 2020 #3 of 100

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    TiVo can just stop the guide data and that’s the end. People would have to try to find ways to hack into it make alternate guide data work or something similar. It seems unlikely they would software disable recording function after they cease guide data, that seems very punitive to customers. But who knows. I used to have a Moxi DVR and they kept the guide data going for a long time after they discontinued making them but did finally shut the guide down this year or last.

    Edit: I think Arris bricked the hard drives on Moxi’s too,

    @NashGuy did you post that here before?

    2nd edit: Moxi passed through a couple of hands after Arris and whoever it was finally bricked them. So maybe TiVo could do the same.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  4. Oct 14, 2020 #4 of 100

    southerndoc TiVo Fanatic

    Apr 4, 2003
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I'm about to ditch my TiVos anyhow. This bug with the remote control on my Edge is about to be the end of my TiVo. Randomly the remote will go into IR mode, not control the TiVo or the TV. Rebooting the TiVo will usually fix it. I've reported it to TiVo numerous times and they keep saying it's the remote control. I've replaced the remote, and if it was a remote control issue, I don't see how a reboot of the TiVo Edge will recover the remote to allow it to again control the TiVo and the TV.

    I will miss the automatic commercial skip. I'm seriously considering going with AT&T IPTV.
  5. Oct 14, 2020 #5 of 100

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    Los Angeles


    TiVos disable themselves for all useful functions except playback after about a month of no-contact with the guide data server. So the only thing that would have to happen is for TiVo to unplug it.
    krkaufman likes this.
  6. Oct 14, 2020 #6 of 100

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Rovi killed off the Sony DHG dvrs when they took down the TVGoS OTA guide data service. I don't see them doing it on the Tivo's, as they also provide guide data and equipment for several smaller cable cable companies, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did happen some day.

    ATSC 3 will likely kill the current generation of Tivo OTA dvrs in 5-7 years and the cable card sunset will kill the cable Tivo's sooner or later
  7. Oct 14, 2020 #7 of 100

    KevTech Active Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Still a lot of cable company provided DVR's (non Tivo) being used that have cable cards in them.
  8. Oct 14, 2020 #8 of 100

    TishTash Active Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Merrick, NY
    I do believe that service or not, what you’ve recorded will remain playable (at least until the hard drive goes).
  9. Oct 15, 2020 #9 of 100

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    When TiVo stops providing a server to give the existing boxes a 'daily' connection, ALL existing TiVos will become totally non-functional for ANYTHING except continued playback of already-recorded programs.

    It is tempting to hope or believe that the boxes would continue to function for content playback indefinitely, even after the daily connections stop. But in reality, I think the company will get VERY tired of the constant complaints and public badmouthing about how the boxes cannot function properly anymore, so the easiest way for them to just make everything go away quickly would be to send out a final update that totally bricks the entire machine.
  10. Oct 15, 2020 #10 of 100

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    True, OR just make the guide data so crappy no one would want to use it (we may be seeing that already). Just stopping could involve lawsuits etc, especially by those with lifetime service.

    And yes, the old ReplayTV DVR, when discontinued some people somehow made guide info, not sure what they did or how. Could probably do with a Tivo also. But if they stop or make guide info TOO bad life of Tivo is limited, at least the DVRs.
  11. Oct 15, 2020 #11 of 100

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    If they did THAT, and are still in business as a company, there would be repercussions ;)
  12. Oct 15, 2020 #12 of 100

    tommiet Active Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Depends where you live... But California lawmakers got this one right; a company that offers a lifetime warranty must state the time - in years - or how it can be determined. (See Civil Code Section 1797.93). Lifetime... Is a reasonable product lifetime. My best guess would be 7 years for a Tivo device.

    If anyone expects TiVo to keep the service running due to a "lifetime warranty" you have a surprise coming your way.
  13. Oct 15, 2020 #13 of 100

    ufo4sale Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    Gilbert Arizona
    When I die TiVo die's and i'm not planning on dying anytime soon.:mad:
  14. Oct 15, 2020 #14 of 100

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Hey Sudzi. No, I never knew about the Moxi hard drives getting bricked. Wonder why they finally did that?

    But I have read your earlier posts in the past about Moxi and I've referenced that same info before about how Moxi continued to offer guide data and continued service for their DVRs for years after ceasing to sell and activate new units. Seems likely to me that TiVo would do the same, especially given that TiVo has ongoing business relationships with cable TV partners whose boxes they would need to continue supporting. So if they still have to crank out guide data for them, wouldn't they still supply it to retail DVRs still in use?

    Who knows what the future holds for TiVo's retail DVR division. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if they announced today that they are ceasing sales of all CableCARD-equipped retail DVRs, or even all retail DVRs period (including OTA units). Or maybe they're still selling them come 2022. But I would be surprised if they cut off active service to existing customers and their DVRs until at least a couple years after the point when they officially stopped selling the product. (In the meantime, though, you might see the quality of TiVo DVRs diminish, as apps stop working/disappear and perhaps SkipMode goes away. I don't think that ad-skipping feature is used on TiVo boxes supplied by cable companies, so if TiVo gives up on the retail market, that feature probably dies.)
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
    chiguy50 and PSU_Sudzi like this.
  15. Oct 17, 2020 #15 of 100

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    Tivo was able to discontinue providing guide data to the Series 1 Tivos, but I think they can still be used to schedule manual recordings so maybe that is the fate for all of their DVRs, but since Tivo is now selling a competing product that now offers cloud DVR service from Sling, it's probably in their interest to brick all of their legacy DVRs since they refuse to provide an OTT app to access recordings. Perhaps they would offer a deal on the Tivo Stream 4k to legacy customers with a period of free service with Sling.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
    PSU_Sudzi likes this.
  16. Oct 17, 2020 #16 of 100

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    Not really sure how/why they did it but in the Moxi DVR thread on the AVS Forum the last few holdouts had posted one day everything was bricked in their devices so it would seem Moxi sent them some kinda signal if you had it connected to the internet. Real greaseball stuff.
    NashGuy likes this.
  17. Oct 17, 2020 #17 of 100

    ncbill Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Sep 1, 2007
    Western NC
    A little history:

    After being sold a couple of times Replay announced it was discontinuing guide data but then got so many legal threats that it continued to provide guide data until it ran out of money & folded (2-3 years later IIRC)...they also converted monthly units to lifetime for free.

    By then it had opened up enough of its programming that people were able to load guide data via setting up a Windows server on their network (guide data from Schedules Direct @ $25/year back then)...there was also at least one alternative that didn't require a Windows server but still cost ~$6/month, IIRC.
  18. Oct 17, 2020 #18 of 100

    CommunityMember Active Member

    May 22, 2020
    Yeah, I suspect if Xperi really intended to drop consumer guide service (and there seems to be little reason for them to consider doing so in the current organizational structure since any such service revenue it is essentially "free" money since they also already provide guide data for others) they would first do some sort of a spin-out of consumer TiVo to some underfunded company (with any valuable assets such as IP having been left with Xperi) based in some place like East Texas and then let it go bankrupt in a year or two.
    As far as I know no one has yet figured out a way to use alternative guide providers (despite a bunch of people here and elsewhere really wanting to use someone other than Rovi for guide service), so I suspect that example will not be repeated with TiVo, should it ever get to such a point (which seems unlikely in the current organizational structure).
  19. Oct 17, 2020 #19 of 100

    warrenn Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2004
    I would think the only way they could do this is if they were going out of business. The only consumers who care about Tivo are the owners of the DVR. If Tivo bricked them, they would alienate their entire customer base. I'm not sure who would buy Tivo products in the future. Current Tivo owners would swear to never buy their products, and non-Tivo consumers barely know what Tivo is.
  20. Oct 18, 2020 #20 of 100

    DouglasPHill Cynical old guy

    Feb 10, 2005
    St Louis, MO
    Too bad there isn't one guide service that would be able to provide guide data in a standard format that could be used by any DVR. If Tivo wanted out of the guide data business they would just have to provide a setting where I could point to said guide service.

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