DirecTV Screwed Me

Monday, May 1st 2006 · ·


I long for the days when I can again subscribe to regular cable TV and subscribe to TiVo separately. Unfortunately, that day is still distant, as I've signed an eighteen month commitment with DirecTV, otherwise I would still be without television six months after we moved into our new home. Since there is still no cable wired to the location we live, satellite TV was our only option. And sadly, DirecTV requires that eighteen month commitment.

Today, being the First of May, marks the first day that I can no longer claim DirecTV's $100 rebate, which they have cleverly blocked me from claiming in the way that so many companies do. I hate rebates. They screwed me on the rebate. I don't want to go into detail on it. Goddamn rebates.

I've honestly got no problems with DirecTV's service or interface. It's slightly annoying in that the satellite seems to go out a bit more often than our cable ever did, but it hasn't been intolerable. I absolutely love the TiVo, but no credit to DirecTV there - they actually detract from the TiVo service, as I discovered when I tried to set up TiVoToGo™.

TiVoToGo™ is a service which lets you connect your TiVo machine to your home network and transfer programs from your TiVo box to your PC, burn recorded programs to DVD, or easily move them to your video iPod or PSP. I love the idea, so I went right out and bought the required LinkSys 10/100 USB Network adapter, hooked everything up, downloaded and installed Galleon, which is an open-source home media server program for TiVo, and tried to get things running. It didn't work. After a string of phone calls, I found out that TiVoToGo™ requires TiVo software version 7.1 or later. Okay, so I called DirecTV to request a version update. Nope - looks like DirecTV has a custom version of the TiVo software which they in all likelihood develop in-house with an incomplete understanding of how the software works. And the latest version they have available is version six something. So I'm basically screwed as far as TiVoToGo™ goes.

I used to be in favor of building a homebrew DVR like FreeVo or MythTV, but caved and got the TiVo when DirecTV offered it because I was just to lazy and had been procrastinating the homebrew DVR thing for too long. But after having used the TiVo, and seeing that they're allowing transfers like that, I'm a TiVo convert.

Apparently, up until very recently, TiVo has lost money every year. And they've been around for close to a decade. Their win in the patent suit against EchoStar last month was a big deal for them, which helped their stock and will likely get them some patent income. I just hope that the DRM wrecking ball doesn't hit too hard and limit TiVo's open architecture. One of the big reasons I was gung-ho for a homebrew DVR was because of the rumor that TiVo was going to show ads when fast-forwarding. If that ever happens, I'm going to seriously reconsider my position on TiVo.

But now, I hear that DirecTV is going to be introducing their own DVR. Way to go, DirecTV! Hop on the little guy, (TiVo is the little guy in this context) figure out his technology, and then build your own with that knowledge. I sure as heck won't be up for a DirecTV DVR, thank you very much. I wonder if TiVo will be throwing their patent in DirecTV's face...

Comments on DirecTV Screwed Me
Comment Monday, May 1st 2006 by Brandon
I used to have the DirecTV Tivo and now have my cable company's version and I understand the frustration in stepping down in functionality in that area. The cable company's DVR is serviceable, but nowhere near as nice as the DirecTV one. Then again, by now I had already replaced my DirecTV DVR so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

What caused me to switch was that I wanted HDTV and they wanted me to pay a ridiculous 1000 bucks (at the time) for an HDTV DirecTV Tivo. My cable company charged me 10 bucks a month. I don't think so. Bye-bye DirecTV.
Comment Wednesday, May 3rd 2006 by Greg
And now, it has come to light that DirecTV lies to its customers to get them to plug phone cables into the DirecTV box, with which they get info about what shows their customers watch.
Comment Friday, May 5th 2006 by Marsha
Hee-hee, we just have network TV and a rabbit-ear antenna. Sometimes we move them around depending which channel we are watching. And for five years or maybe even more I didn't even have a TV.
Comment Saturday, May 20th 2006 by )
i had a subcontract of DirectTv come to my house while I was out of town and tell my wife that he'd have to charge her about $150 for cable we needed but he'd do it for $50 if we payed him directly if he' run it across our roof.

Now it doesn't work.

Is there a place I can get the directtv regulations that prevent him from running it across our roof and then swindling an extral $50 out of me?
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