Living Without MRV and SDV


For a few months I have been doing other things besides thinking about TiVo and the digital video revolution in general. I still watch TV, and whenever I am where my TiVoes are, I watch through them like the old days. Well, actually the very old days its getting to be… 😦

You see I live in a world where all digital cable channels except broadcast are copy never. That was not so bad when my cableCARDs always mysteriously tuned channels that were digital simulcast to their analog versions, but now my cableCARDs have been brought into the spirit of the modern digital cable era.  Thus all my nice series off SciFi and whatever else can not be MRV’d. This is especially acute since my recorded content heavily shifted to digital cable due to the writers strike.

As my poor TiVoes are being thrown back to the era before MRV and my home network grows increasingly useless, is TiVo doing anything about this? Is anyone? Copy Flag rules were written to the extreme detriment of the consumer, and even the content provider who does not seem to have control over their content’s transfer rights. The cable companies are in complete control. Few noticed much perhaps because there was no significant force to complain. I exist amongst a handful of TiVo users that this affects and apparently TiVo didn’t see the problem or has been too busy fighting and compromising on other fronts and couldn’t forestall this clamp down of one of their major differentiating features.

My next beef is SDV. Where is the thingy? I bet it is no where to be seen. Now I get to record/watch far less of the content I pay for from the cable company than before; of course my rates have gone up to compensate the cable co for all those wonderful additional channels they provide which my TiVoes can’t pick up. I am very close to the point of asking for a rate reduction based on SDV and cableCARD use. SDV is a wonderful technology which the cable cos should be deploying for the benefit of customers in general, however individual customers that can not get the content should not be charged for it. That is only fair, and should be factored into the business decisions of the cable cos. (There are so few cableCARD users, that it won’t change anything.) This will be an individual battle though, because there are so few of us. Maybe if a few tens of thousands of complaints are raised with the cable cos and FCC some general policy will issue.

This article reflects that I haven’t followed what has been happening for about three months, and maybe I’ll poke around and see something significant has happended to make these complaints unimportant.


3 Responses to “Living Without MRV and SDV”

  1. megazone Says:

    Yep, you’re behind:

  2. jake Says:

    Cut the cable! Go broadcast only, and fill in the gaps with Amazon Unbox or iTunes as needed.

  3. HDTiVo Says:


    That just won’t work for me. Besides, Unbox engaged in so many billing errors and lost credits early on that they completely lost me as a paying customer. I only download the occassional free thing now.


    Thanks, that makes it really easy to catch up. Looks like things progressed at about or a little behind the pace I suspected they would 3-4 months ago when I was hot on ‘where’s the dongle?’ Still leaves me with late this year for a TA – maybe – and not getting all the content I pay for for now.

    And I still ain’t got much content to MRV these days. 😦 I considered writing about how I can duplicate recordings with Series2s that I have via cable box, or with one of the TiVo HDs which has no cableCARDs (analog only), blah, blah, blah… which is of course a compromise, quality and convenience drawback, etc.

    BTW, in the original discussions about the TA, the concept was to provide it free. Good to see Cox announce that to be the case. That’s a reasonable deal considering the benefits cable cos. and other consumers get from “breaking” one-way cableCARD devices to use SDV.

    Now remember 3 or 4 months ago I brought up that people will be arguing over the definition of “available” as regards the TA. I imagine that to be hot around now. Its not “available” until I can get it from my cable co from my standpoint; although it may be “available” now or soon from MOT or CSCO or FCC standpoint. 4/19/08

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