Friday, February 17, 2012

DVR taking our control?

I just experienced something very disturbing. I VOD'd the show, "Who do you think you are?" (NBC) The season three premiere (thought I never heard of this show, or never paid attention, probably). I just wanted to check it out. Zip through it, see if I wanted to watch the series or not. But that's not going to happen.

The first thing I see is a black screen with the statement that I may not be able to use fast forward during the show. That is one of the main reasons I OWN a Tivo DirecTV DVR. I mean, Excuse me? This does not bode well for viewers. This is half of the functionality of DVR that I have it for. Not just to skip the ads, but to zip through the boring crap, the filler, the banal, the irritating.

Some peopel have said you can use the page up and down buttons but that doesn't work for me. Nothing is working. It's disabled. Plain and simple. Below, at the end of this article, I have added some comments from people about this.

I want to hurt something small and fuzzy and stuffed with sawdust.

I should also mention that yesterday I VOD'd this program. I also VOD'd the very funny, quirky, "An Idiot Abroad" (Science Channel), Ricky Gervais' show. I can FF on this, no problem.
If this is the beginning of a trend, we're screwed. Is it? We'll have to start building our own DVR's with all the functionality we want in them. This is an issue I knew was a trend back when DVD burners first came out and they were not allowed to hit the market until the manufacturers agreed with the film and TV industry to fix it so you cannot burn copies of prerecorded DVDs.

Sure, they should protect their intellectual property, but then they should remove that Damned FBI warning, or at least, put it at the end. PUT IT AT THE END! You can't zip past it. They should also, on the functionality of DVDs, give us control. Ever try to fast forward or skip the commercials on YOUR DVD that you paid for and got a note that this function is not available at this time? Why NOT? Pretty annoying.

I don't have any solutions here, just notification on this matter. We are being abused as consumers. We need to pay attention. Speak out. Get mad as Hell and not take it anymore. All that kind of stuff. Does it have to be this way because THEY have all the power? No. Not if we demand better treatment. Will we? Probably not, but then if this continues, we will only have ourselves to blame in the end.

Cover image for "Simon's Beautiful Thought"

On a side and more entertaining note, check out my quirky little Sci Fi story, "Simon's Beautiful Thought", available at Smashword's minimum price of 99 cents. I won't try to control how fast you read it. The written word is still wide open to its reader.

UPDATE: I looked around and found some discussion groups who had posted last year about this. Some said that FOX demanded FF be disabled because you have to watch the adverts. Some said on some shows you can skip forward (I just tried this, it said you cannot fast forward, it's not FF it's skip, but, whatever). Someone said, you shouldn't pay again for what you are paying for to begin with, then someone said the VOD are free and separate so they can do this. So it appears to be an ongoing controversy I'm only now becoming aware of.

I just found this:

10-05-2011 02:01 PM
We apologize for the inconvenience but the fast forward option was disabled as requested by the networks to allow full commercial advertising from their programming partners.
 Thank You

Another on there said (and I have to agree):
"We are all paying for on-demand. It may be advertised as a 'freebie' and not broken down in the price, but we are paying for it. I understand the argument that on-demand is a different service, but I believe that the ff, rw, etc functions on my DVR (extra cost to me) should function with all aspects of programming and not be controlled by individual networks."

Another said this, which is interesting:

"I'm sorry to be the purveyor of bad news, but both FOX and NBC DENIED Mandating anything, It was something the Cable Company offered instead of what was termed "routine royalties" being paid by the competitors to Cable.
In otherwords, rather than paying as their competitors do Comcast choose to force us to watch commercials.
 My argument to the County Commissioners is quite simply this is an illegal decrease in services I previously enjoyed... if you will Comcast is passing those routine royalties on without proper review!
 Still the option is mine, I've complained to all the government offices I can think of, and I boycotting any show both in "On Demand" and live broadcast who chooses to show this same greedy posture Americans are marching in the streets to protest!
It's not about being a captured audience, it is about a slippery way to increase my cost to watch! My Time and mental faculties do have value."


  1. Not being able to ff dvr would suck! I find myself trying to ff unrecorded tv more often than I should admit.

  2. Sorry about the problems. I don't have Comcast or DirecTV thankfully, and am eagerly awaiting the release of DISH's new Hopper Whole Home DVR. This is what a DVR SHOULD be, as it lets me record up to 6 live HD programs at once, and with the 2 Terabyte Hard Drive I can store up to 2,000 hours of content! I got to test it at work with some DISH coworkers and love how fast and seamless the functions are. I can record, FF, rewind, pause and more. It even has web-integrated features like Pandora and Facebook, and since each of the 4 connected TVs has access to the main DVR playlist, I'll never have to worry about scheduling conflicts. Sorry DirecTV and Comcast, this whole home DVR is going to change the way people watch and record their favorite shows!

  3. That, certainly sounds awesome. Thanks for the info. My DirecTV HD Tivo is a nightmare of slowness in it's reaction time in using the remote. I'm certainly hoping for an upgrade some day soon, but I'm not holding my breath. :)

  4. Informative post. I am using Charter and didn't have any problem until now.