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Television United Kingdom Entertainment Hardware

TiVo To Brick All Remaining UK PVRs On June 1 286

handelaar writes "Perhaps in order to 'encourage' existing users of UK Tivo units to change their TV service to Virgin Media, pay £149 for a new 'Virgin TiVo' that they won't actually own, plus £34.50 per month in service charges, Tivo is to cancel all EPG data service to all the Tivos still in use in the country — and existing units will become basically nonfunctional at that time. The faithful aren't amused, having stuck by the company for several years, and mostly paying £120 per annum for service until now. 50% of UK residents aren't able to avail of this generous upgrade offer even if they want to — the cable company in question only covers about half the country."
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TiVo To Brick All Remaining UK PVRs On June 1

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:22AM (#35219224)

    tivo must not like having customers

  • Brick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) <> on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:23AM (#35219230) Homepage Journal

    What? Something is bricked because it is no longer served programming info now?

    This is bad, TIVO sucks, their lifetime subscription doesn't cover the lifetime of the device, etc.

    But stop fucking using the term brick unless the device is incapable of powering on.

  • Re:Brick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:28AM (#35219254) Homepage

    I don't get this, surely it's not hard.

    Something is bricked when it is, to all intents and purposes, interchangeable with a brick. Not simply when it doesn't work properly any more or has less functionality.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:43AM (#35219308)
    When they'll remain loyal and pay more than enough to compensate for the ones that leave.
  • Boat Anchor Mode (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dredd13 ( 14750 ) <> on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @06:56AM (#35219362) Homepage

    When TiVo was first coming out on the scene, there was talk that there was, hidden deep in the code, a "boat-anchor" mode, which Tivo assured the faithful (which at the time were typically bleeding-edge technology hounds) that if TiVo ever went belly-up, their boxes wouldn't be useless, that there was a mode which they could push to all the units that essentially said "We're going off the air now, open yourself up for use however the owner wants", and that it would offer up some alternative options for shoving EPG data into it gathered from other sources.

    It seems that maybe this is what TiVo should be doing with these UK Series1 units, even if they're not technically "going off the air".

  • by TenMinJoe ( 727612 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:00AM (#35219380)

    Is the TiVo guide data format understood? The BBC offer free XML listings data for all UK channels (not just BBC channels) - it seems like it should be possible for motivated developers to convert this into usable TiVo format data.

  • Re:Brick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anomaly256 ( 1243020 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:10AM (#35219416)
    Yes. Like how all those users who call their system cases 'hard drives', 'modems' and 'monitors' diluting the meaning of all the terms involved don't in any way cause confusion and misunderstanding amongst support staff and other savvy users by misusing them as such.

    I'm sorry but a dynamic meaning is different to outright misuse. And as it stands, something still being usable albeit in a limited fashion is NOT bricked. Bricked can have many shades of meaning but even in the most liberal form, it is misused here plain and clear.
  • by Goffee71 ( 628501 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:25AM (#35219466) Homepage
    this is like Microsoft withdrawing support for Windows 98 or Internet Explorer 5 for home users... these things are a decade old and while they were unique back then, there are FreeSAT, Freeview, PVRs and other options now if the S1 owners aren't in Virgin areas. Most of the forum posters have said or suspected this was coming... no tea cups were rattled by this announcement - especially as most users have workarounds planned.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @07:37AM (#35219532) Journal
    TiVo likes having customers, but they've changed their mind as to who their customers are. They no longer focus on direct sales. Instead, they sell boxes to cable and satellite companies, who rebadge them and sell them on. This cuts their supply chain overhead and guarantees large number of sales, so it's more profitable.
  • Re:Brick? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @08:05AM (#35219636)

    > It means the device is as good as an actual brick

    So, it is usable in construction projects?

    Please stop diluting the term "brick" by comparing plastic-cased retail electronic devices to useful baked-clay load-bearing mouldings.

  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @08:06AM (#35219648)

    Two thoughts:

    (1) This isn't "bricking" the Tivo. When ReplayTV stopped supplying guide data to my DVR, it still worked just fine but more like a VCR where you manually set everything. It sounds like Tivo is the same.

    (2) How is this legal in the consumer-friendly EU? I would have thought purposely damaging consumer products is a criminal offense, just as Sony got in trouble for removing the "Install other OS" option in PS3.

  • Re:Brick? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Man Eating Duck ( 534479 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @08:37AM (#35219774)

    Basically bricked means the device no longer useable for the purposes it was actually originally made for and getting it to functional state requires tools not even a regular geek has at his or her disposal.

    No, I don't agree. I understand that the device will continue to function exactly as if you disconnected its data cable. Bricked would mean that it functions about as well as if you had disconnected its power cable.

    The company discontinued a service, this does not mean that people can't switch the device on and use all of its offline functionality, ie it is *not* bricked. If they issued a remote update which erased all firmware with no possibility of recovery, now that would be bricking.

  • Re:Brick? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @10:26AM (#35220612)
    I would say that your definiton of "bricked" is close. My definition of "bricked" is "the unit in question has the functionality of a brick." It may turn on, but it does nothing useful. If you can recover it without opening the case, you should not use the term "bricked". If someone else can recover it, you may use the term "bricked", but they should not.
    In the case of this story on this board, the term "bricked" is completely inappropiate. It seems that you will still be able to manually program these to record programs, you just will no longer receive scheduling data which will allow the unit to automatically record shows for you. Not only that, but I would think that a good portion of slashdot readers would be able to hack one of these to obtain programming data from an alternate source (I'm not familiar enough with Tivos to know how difficult that might be, it may be more difficult than I imagine).

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison