Time Warner’s Copy Protection Might Just Drive TV Lover To Piracy

Instead of a cable company-provided DVR, Leon uses a TiVo. It gives him greater flexibility, since he can transfer programs to his backup hard drives to free up space, then transfer the programs back when he is woefully short on entertainment. Only the cable networks and Time Warner Cable don’t want us to be able to do this. Where Leon lives, every program that’s not on one of the over-the-air broadcast networks is copy-protected. He can’t copy any of these shows to his backup drives. It’s as if it were 1990, and every time Leon ejected a recorded TV program from his VCR, a cable company employee stormed through the door, confiscated it, unspooled the tape, and set it on fire. Only less labor-intensive.

While the “broadcast flag” idea (which would have given TV stations complete control over the ability of viewers to use DVRs for particular shows) may have finally died 2011 when the FCC withdrew the regulation, the same sort of restrictions are being quietly implemented by cable providers.

I use a Tivo DVR and one of the key features I like about the Tivo is that I can transfer the recorded video files off of the TiVo to my desktop computer to save them to an external hard drive, freeing up room on the Tivo itself for more shows. When I want to watch the old shows I can browse the list of transferred shows and with a remote control press send them right back to the Tivo to watch. The files remain encrypted and I’ve done this for years without issue.

However I recently moved to a location with Time Warner as the cable provider. I was a bit confused when I went to transfer some shows and found that nearly everything newly recorded was marked as “Copy Protected”. After doing some digging I found out that while THE broadcast flag got shot down, A broadcast flag called “Copy Control Information” or CCI was implemented for cable customers.

In short the CCI has three settings: any copying permitted, copy one time only (the DVR recording is considered a copy), and do not copy (the DVR recording self-destructs after 90 minutes). Each program has it set individually and all equipment which can use cablecards is required to read and respect it. Over the Air channels are required by the FCC to be set to the first setting, but all other programs are left up to the discretion of the cable provider. Most cable companies have until now set premium channels such as HBO as copy-once and PPV as do not copy but leave the rest of the channels set to copy freely.

Time Warner is not so friendly and sets the flag to copy-once for EVERYTHING besides over the air channels; even analog channels which I would be able to record without the cablecard are locked down by the cablecard. I highly doubt that QVC cares if I want to archive the Memory Foam Bedding infomercial, yet TW tells me I cannot.

With the large hard drives mounted in my desktop I had in excess of 700 hours of recording capacity for my DVR, and this cuts me to 45. This is highly annoying, especially because I was planning on taking advantage of my setup to record and watch the Olympics this summer, but the channels carrying the live coverage of the less popular sports (CNBC, MSNBC, and Bravo) will all be locked for me. It seems a bit like allowing the cable company to come into the house and remove the eject button from a VCR.

This doesn’t just affect my (rather uncommon) situation. Tivo (and other setups such as Windows Media Center) normally allow for shows recorded on one DVR to be viewed on another DVR or on a mobile device but this removes that option. Other people report that other cable companies are rolling out similar blanket blocks as they implement an unrelated upgrade of their systems to use Switched Digital Video. It seems as though the cable companies have found a way to neuter time-shifting and DVRs and are trying to implement it quickly and quietly.

For me this just makes cord-cutting and using a combination of Netflix instant, Amazon, and extralegal video sources even more tempting. They all would work just fine with my Tivo and would have the added benefit of no ads.

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RELATED:
HBO Using Tivo’s Macrovision DRM To Restrict “John Adams” Miniseries? – The Consumerist

Comments

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  1. Meatball says:

    Used to have the same problem with my Tivo’s, they’ve been doing this for a long time.

    Cut the cord my friend. I did over 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. I built a HTPC using Windows Media Center, picked up a decent HD antenna for OTA programming and got Netflix and went from $175/month for Cable/Tivo to $8 a month for Netflix. The hardware I bought paid for itself in 3 months.

    Yeah, there’s some things you can’t see right away and may have to wait a while to see (unless you’re interested in torrents), but to tell you the truth, we don’t seem to care. Between Netflix pre-recorded OTA, and a lot of video podcasts freely available online (Revision3, Twit.tv) we are never without twenty things to watch if we want.

    Do it, you won’t be sorry…

    • bnceo says:

      $175 for just cable? Or is that a triple play bundle price?

      Include the price of internet with the $8 Netflix

      • K-Bo says:

        If you would have internet either way, why include the cost of the internet in the cost of cutting the cord? Right now I have dish and internet, if I cancel dish and add netflix, then I am saving dish cost- netflix cost. Internet cost becomes moot.

      • Meatball says:

        $175 was for Cable with the HD Tiers and 3 Tivo subscriptions. We didn’t have phone/internet from TWC, so they clobbered us on Cable TV.

    • Here to ruin your groove says:

      For Charter internet we pay about $40 after fees and other annoyances. So more like $48 for us after Netflix.

      Don’t miss it at all. Plus catching shows on Netflix long after the season ends makes it easier to keep track of the storylines.

    • maxamus2 says:

      I don’t think that will solve his problem with the Olympics though.

  2. Rainicorn with baby bats says:

    Dude, Adventure Time is amazing. (highly relevant!)

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    Ohh cable companies, why do you hate us sooo much? I “remember” the days when people used to dress up in coat-tails and top hat to go to the theatre and watch a moving picture and it was an experience to remember. Nowadays I feel that all you’re interested in is money and nothing else. Between all your network squabbles, a glut of worthless reality television, showing streaming advertising during the main show in addition to a permanent station logo in the lower right hand corner and not letting us skip commercials while I pay ever increasing rates for cable, I just feel like you love me anymore.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to walk to school uphill through the snow with no shoes on.

  4. d0x360 says:

    Ahh big media once again punishing paying customers who in turn watch the pirates run free and happy through the fields of it just works entertainment

  5. Press1forDialTone says:

    Remember, all the of the congressional and senate subcommittees and main writers of
    bills that are dictated by the cable companies to our elected representatives are currently
    Republicans. They exert tremendous pressure on the FCC to go their bidding. If the Senate
    and POTUS goes RepubliThug(tm) in the Fall, you can sit back and watch while even more
    restrictions are placed on your ability to watch what you want when you want because
    the assumption is everyone is just aching to be BitTorrent and steal everything for profit.
    The prediction in the industry is that BIG money is going to smash The Hopper by DISH
    because annoying “I won’t buy it because you’re smashing it into my face every 10 seconds”
    advertising is becoming and will forever be the norm and no one will thwart this period.
    Full stop. It is all about money not about cable/dish viewing features that you are already
    paying through the nose for.

    • Driblis says:

      I don’t really care about your doomsaying or ranting, but i wanted to say that “RepubliThug” is in no way clever. I’m a fairly liberal dude who would more likely vote democrat than anything, but really? It doesn’t even rhyme or fit at all, it’s just replacing the last half of a word with another word. It’s like someone trying to coin the phrase Demonazi. It doesn’t even make sense.

      • atthec44 says:

        That’s why I prefer to use “DemocRATS”. I don’t even have to add/delete/switch any letters.

        • Driblis says:

          Yeah, see? You’re just adding emphasis and inflection to make it a negative term. That’s a bit more clever!

          I mean I guess you could even maybe stretch ‘ReThuglican’ because then at least you’re keeping the vowel sound.

      • nishioka says:

        > but i wanted to say that “RepubliThug” is in no way clever

        People who recite political slogans they see on bumper stickers are lazy idiots. Same goes for the person who goes around telling everybody that you can’t spell “liberal” without L-I-E.

      • Auron says:

        I like the title of Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s latest book: DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government.

        • drjayphd says:

          I’d like Jesse Ventura even better if Enigma Force 5 was real, and not just a recurring bit on Comedy Bang Bang! (Especially if Huell Howser actually turned into a crow-bot.)

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Yes because Democrats never ever pass legislation written to please their lawyer and union overlords. Does that plate in your head hurt when the weather changes?

      • bwcbwc says:

        We’re screwed with either party. Republicans are in bed with telecom/cable, Democrats with Hollywood. Either way, copy restrictions are on the agenda. What will probably get even worse is that the cable companies will start throttling competing video traffic, so that cutting the cord becomes more and more unattractive.

        Seems like we’re reverting from Capitalism to Mercantilism.

  6. PunditGuy says:

    The only winning move is not to play.

    Seriously, if you’re archiving stuff then you’ve got enough to watch for now and you’re already willing to wait some set of time before watching something. Wait a little longer and stream it or get it on disc. Cut the cable TV. If your TiVo is only going to be good for OTA, consider a computer-based solution instead that can save you even more.

  7. JGB says:

    Fixing this is actually a pretty easy hack. This is not the venue for that discussion, I suppose, but remember that google can tell you anything

  8. longfeltwant says:

    This is a bug in the TiVo software. Obviously, the software should simply ignore that CCI metadata.

    OP might consider running other software. Does Myth or XBMC have the same bug?

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      How do you know this is a bug in the TiVo software? Do you work for TiVo?

      I have two different models of TiVo’s and I can freely copy my FiOS provided programs without any problems whatsoever. Before I switched to FiOS I had Comcast, and at times they would screw up the CCI flags on many channels, making it virtually impossible to record some shows. They eventually got enough bad publicity about it that they fixed things so that TiVo’s and other DVR’s could record programs again. This had nothing at all to do with the TiVo software and everything to do with the way Comcast delivered programming.

      If you go to sites like http://www.tivocommunity.com and even some Yahoo groups and other cable TV forums you’ll find years-long discussions on CCI and how companies like Comcast screw up the flags from one state to another and even one city to another.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      And for clarification – CCI must be properly implemented for devices that support CableCARD technology. Any CableCARD device must be certified by CableLabs, so a company like TiVo can’t just include a CableCARD in their device and choose to ignore CCI.

      In order to record cable channels on even something like MythTV you’d need a CableCARD equipped tuner as well. And as the MythTV wiki clearly points out (see http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/CableCARD), it’s incapable of recording channels that are flagged because they’re still DRM’d, and that decision rests solely on the cable providers.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Put bluntly: to be allowed to fully access a cable card tuner your device and operating system must “bend over forwards” for the cable industry.

      You must implement pervasive encryption that prevents any form of “capture” of content. You have to pervert the operating system and graphics device drivers to accommodate and enforce the cable card DRM flags.

      Microsoft implemented such changes. Apple did not. This is why Macs don’t fully support cable card tuners. The same goes for Linux.

      This whole cable card thing was a big fat corporate giveaway: a monopoly on a silver platter.

    • djdanska says:

      Yeah, no it’s not a bug. My tivo worked perfectly fine using my original comcast cablecard, rcn cablecard, and even mediacom cablecard.

      Once i use time warner, Nooo.. golden girls COPY PROTECTED! TRANSFER DENIED!!
      WTF? Check the tivo forums, this is how time warner is.
      Thankfully, this only half screws up the multiroom transfers. You can stream from tivo to tivo but can not transfer most channels. (ota is ok, bout it)

  9. The Cupcake Nazi says:

    1) Install TV tuner card in the PC you were storing to anyway
    2) Put a splitter on your line post-cable box, run the new split to the PC tuner card
    3) Record whatever you want and do as you please with it

    • Velvet Jones says:

      That would fix absolutely nothing. The encrypted programs would still not record.

      • The Cupcake Nazi says:

        Yes, they would. Because those programs have already been decrypted by the cable box. Windows Media Center doesn’t give a flying squirrel fart, it will record whatever you tell it to and you can pretty well do as you like with the resulting file.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          People have this fixation with cable card tuners and forget that the original Tivos all had to use IR blasters to control cable set top boxes. PC cable card tuners were mostly vaporware for a very long time. During that time, someone started selling HD analog capture devices.

          Such analog capture devices were widely available before cable card tuners were.

          It’s a more complicated setup. It’s just like the classic setup with Series 1 Tivos.

          Although it works and is DRM free and comes with no limitations once you record something. Streaming it to another room is never a problem and you can copy recordings to any mobile device you want.

        • Velvet Jones says:

          Maybe I’m missing something from your post. Simply grabbing the coax post-cable box will do nothing if you’re feeding it back in to another digital turning. The data is still encrypted. Now if you’re talking about feeding the analog outputs in to a A/D encoder on the PC, that will work. You will see a degradation in the picture quality if you do this though, unless you use one of the higher end HD encoders. Hauppague makes a nice one that can encode up to 1080i via components.

  10. kevduce says:

    I am actually making the decision to cut my cable today. Netflix Streaming is just too damn good. If you are TV fan, what can’t you watch on there? Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parks & Recreation, Office, Lost, Friday Night Lights, and tons more with no commercials. I might even upgrade my Netflix to get a disc or two.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Exactly. Going to a disc plan isn’t a bad idea if you’re planning on getting television shows. While many are available for streaming, there are some odd cases for some series where say, episodes 1-6 are on streaming, episodes 7, 8, and 9 are disc only, and then epsidoes 10-16 are on streaming.

      There are also some shows with no streaming available, and seemingly no plans to bring it. They’ve been good about getting popular old titles onto streaming, but it’s been difficult to find a few obscure old titles.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        That’s because they want you to subscribe to both plans, disc and streaming. It’s still way cheaper than cable and has stuff I actually want to watch. I can’t seem to work over to my other Roku channels because there is SO MUCH on Netflix!

    • Gorbachev says:

      “Netflix Streaming is just too damn good. If you are TV fan, what can’t you watch on there?”

      Sports. Cable TV is still the best (non-pirate) option for it.

      Maybe in a few years the online subscriptions offered by the professional leagues would become reasonably priced.

      For regular TV programming you can usually find the broadcasts on The PirateBay in about 12 – 15 hours after the broadcast, but for sports…forget about it…these guys put MPAA and RIAA to shame in terms of how they enforce their intellectual property rights.

      • drjayphd says:

        Especially if they didn’t have blackouts either. One of the big reasons I wouldn’t totally cut the cable and go with streaming for sports is that between my fiance and myself, one of our chosen sports teams will get blacked out between where we’re going to live soon (Lawn Guyland) and where we plan on settling (western MA).

  11. TBGBoodler says:

    This makes no sense because the OP wants to record shows that probably have commercials. Chances are he was either going to fast-forward through them anyway (which he can do on the DVR as well whether he’s recording or not–if he watches on a delay), or end up watching them.

    Even if some commericals are skipped, chances are some are not. I would think every time a show is watched, it’s a win for the advertiser. Why do they put up with this crap from the cable companies?

  12. Bob says:

    “Where Leon lives, very program that’s not on one of the over-the-air broadcast networks…”

    Um, you’re missing a word in there after “lives.”

    “and every time Leon ejected a recorded TV program from your VCR…”

    What’s Leon doing using my VCR? I think you meant he ejected it from HIS VCR.

    Damn, I know the whole blog mentality is “Go go go go! Get those stories up! Rack up those site clicks! Go go go!” but the constant typos day in and day out are starting to get old really fast. Try a little proofreading. I know the extra minute might lose you some site clicks, but still…

    • chefboyardee says:

      Yeah, especially considering there’s what, a story an hour, two on a busy day? And half the time the stories are 3-day old news, so there’s no rush to post them. I feel like a broken record posting about it, but I seriously catch a typo at least every other story, and I know they have an editor on staff…I wonder what that person does all day. Half the time even after pointing typos out, they don’t get corrected. I love Consumerist but this kind of stuff makes it look like a two-bit operation.

      Today’s obvious one, because it’s even visible in the homepage snippet, is “Where Leon lives, very program that’s”

      *every

      • Browsing says:

        What’s worse is I had to read it 3 times to realize the word was supposed to be every…Too many mistakes on this blog….

  13. LabanDenter says:

    So you like sports, but are threatening to go to netflix? LOL right.

    P.S. 700 hours of record tv = 175 days of watching 4 hours a day. not counting anytihng new you might record…

    Its like hoarding without the mess.

    • Bativac says:

      This is why I dumped my DVR. I realized I was “hoarding” TV shows, and then I’d feel guilty about not watching them and would spend hour of my free time not really enjoying the shows but “getting through” them.

      We dumped the DVR and the hi-def and just have basic cable and internet. Still too expensive but my wife loves her Hallmark Channel and Lifetime.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      700 hours of recorded TV is video on demand but with the stuff you’re actually interested in.

      Plus you can skip through all of the commercials.

  14. TuxMan says:

    What? The op wants to archive years worth of tv programs on his computer? and the tv networks are going to limit him to the capacity of his tivo?

    wait what so the op just need another tivo for more storage.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      If he gets another Tivo, it won’t be able to stream programs from the one he already has.

      His TV in the living room won’t be able to watch recordings from the TV in the bedroom.

      It doesn’t matter how much aggregate storage he has.

  15. TuxMan says:

    What? The op wants to archive years worth of tv programs on his computer? and the tv networks are going to limit him to the capacity of his tivo?

    wait what so the op just need another tivo for more storage.

  16. Sian says:

    Hells yeah Adventure Time!

  17. dullard says:

    Time Warner Cable and Verizon FIOS now offer DVRs with 500 GB hard drives rather than the 160 GB drives that were available earlier. In addition, Verizon FIOS also offers the ability to add an external eSATA hard drive for additional capacity. You might check to see if Time Warner Cable offers the same capability.

    Those with satellite providers might also want to check with their company.

    • kathygnome says:

      I don’t think any of the cable provided DVRs even provide the function to transfer items to a PC.

    • TBGBoodler says:

      Once you’ve gone TiVo it’s hard to go back.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        > Once you’ve gone TiVo it’s hard to go back.

        Quite. Tivos have had the ability to use external expansion storage for quite some time.

        The original Tivos were also quickly hacked to allow for extra storage.

        My own S1 Tivo was so hacked.

  18. He says:

    The only good solutions to a don’t copy flag are kind of expensive (in money and time). Buy a Silcondust or Ceton tuner and setup a MythTV server for your recordings. Those devices use cablecards, but can serve content to open source DVR software. On the plus side, once you have it set up, no more transfers back and forth, cause it’s all just stored on your cheapo multi terabyte drive array and served to your front ends on demand. Also, Myth will chop out the commercials automatically while you sleep if you so choose. But if you’re going the easy peasy commercial route (because Tivo still does rock), I don’t know of any fix for a bad cable company besides satellite TV.

    • shepd says:

      Yes, MythTV is the answer. I’ve used it for nearly a decade and it’s slicker than snot. :)

      It’s so good I don’t understand why anyone would want to be handcuffed to a crap commercial product. Too lazy for the initial couple of hours of investment, maybe?

  19. RvLeshrac says:

    I don’t have any sympathy for the people “just now finding this out.” We shouted and screamed for nearly a decade and no one listened to us.

    It isn’t even a case of “I told you so.” *Hundreds of thousands of us* told you so.

  20. Tacojelly says:

    Cut the cord. Cable companies will never learn that you make money through new ideas and innovation, not turning away your customers.

    16 bucks a month for Hulu and Netflix, then buy everything else ala carte through Amazon.

  21. hansolo247 says:

    FiOS is very sparing with the CCI’s.

    Pretty much everything on that is copy freely. HBO/Max go Copy Once around the time of big premieres of series but go back to Copy Freely relatively soon.

    BrightHouse and TWC copy once everything. SO annoying.

    I’d recommend WMC and the xbox…true multi-room DVR.

  22. OutPastPluto says:

    This is why a use Hauppauge HD-PVRs with my DirecTV boxes and would never consider using my local landline monopoly (which is Time Warner). TWC is notorious for setting their cable card flags to unnecessarily restrictive values. This buggers cable card tuners under Linux and MacOS.

    I am not surprised it also interferes with Tivos.

  23. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m still using a VCR.

  24. jimbobsq says:

    Cut your cord. Netflix + HuluPlus + iTunes delivers more than enough content to entertain, except for live sports. If the sports are a bid deal find a local sports bar. Or with the money you save on cable you could travel to several sporting events per year and attend in person.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      iTunes! I rented my first movie on there over the Memorial Day holiday–The Hulk, so my bf and I could watch it before we saw Avengers. It downloaded fine to my computer and we plugged it into his HDTV and just watched it. Couldn’t have been easier. I may do that again. :)

  25. Sarek says:

    I have the TWC DVR and it sometimes makes its own decisions to not record a particular program. I look at the grid and the program is in red, meaning that it will be recorded. I look for it the next morning and it’s not there. Nobody at TWC can explain this to me.

  26. alexwade says:

    There is always a way. With the Hauppage HD PVR you can transfer any program you want. Of course, it is a much bigger hassle to use, but it does work nicely.

  27. LanMan04 says:

    I’ll just leave this here: http://code.google.com/p/kmttg/

  28. pattymc says:

    http://eztv.it/

    I cut the cord years ago – I do not even have a television set. You can download not only network shows but BBC programs as well, most of which are fantastic. It takes a few minutes to get an hour show, no commercials, with my most excellent FIOS. I do not watch sports but I imagine there are private sites for downloading that sort of thing.

  29. incident_man says:

    Ever since media companies pulled the trick of selling “licenses” instead of the actual media product, a consumer’s right to use that product as they wish ceased to exist.

    For example, when a person buys a DVD, CD, video game, or computer software, they’re not actually buying the product. Instead, they’re buying a “license” to USE the product and the license holder dictates the terms of that use. Furthermore, the license holder holds the right to rescind that license at any time and for any reason, like when a new software version comes out, rendering your legal right to use the product (and the product itself) useless. When you buy a media product, read the T&Cs very carefully.

    That is why I don’t buy the aforementioned products anymore. Free software, OTA tv and radio, and Netflix are the only way to go, IMHO.

  30. Nicolaus99 says:

    Google. “Show Name”. Torrent.

    If a paying customer is going to be treated like a thief by default, you may as well pirate the show and be done with it. If you are so dead set on making your own recordings, google up the subject and get your science on.

  31. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Dear stupid cable companies:

    1. We can’t afford to pay your insanely high bills anymore. The economy sucks dirt. We know studios are demanding high prices for their content, but that’s not OUR fight; it’s yours. Which leads me to:

    2. The content you are charging out the ass for is putrid, lame and junky. Why studios are so proud of it is baffling. You could tell them you won’t buy it unless it gets better. You can manage; all you show is reruns anyway.

    3. If you have a decent product, one that is affordable by most people even in a recession, and it is easily accessible–meaning NOT LOCKED DOWN, people will buy it. Yes, I said buy. But we can’t buy it if we can’t get to it. DRM doesn’t protect anything; all it does is piss of your soon-to-be-former customers. In this day and age, with the technologies we have, it should not be harder to just watch a show than in years past. Besides, the whole recording shows thing has already been dealt with back in the days of tapes. Get a clue!

    4. I’m watching buttloads of reruns on Netflix, documentaries, little-known movies that sometimes turn out to be quite enjoyable, and new episodes of shows I enjoyed on satellite (Bridezillas, etc.) that I only have to wait a bit to see. I’ve watched several things on Crackle, and thanks to Catastrophegirl’s website, I’ve discovered some offbeat content I’m looking forward to exploring. Not to mention, Family Video is still going strong and I can rent your crap on DVD if I deign to do so.

    I DON’T NEED YOU.

    • incident_man says:

      Amen to that!. The only thing saving Netflix, Hulu and other internet streaming services is Net Neutrality. Should that cease to exist, watch out! Cable and satellite providers (and the media companies they do business with) are just itching to find a legal way to eliminate streaming services.

  32. Kuri says:

    They squeeze, the more that slips from their grasp.

  33. smajor says:

    File a complaint with the FCC. Add your voice. I filed a complaint for the exact same reason with the FCC over Time Warner’s broadcast flags. Be specific and be sure to mention that they make it virtually impossible to use any DVRs but theirs. I received a call from Time Warner in response to my complaint less than a week after filing it. They seem to take them seriously. I also suggested in my complaint that the FCC intervene and set some broadcast standards to bring everyone in line. Unless they hear from more consumers like us, it won’t change.

  34. Mark702 says:

    Damn grammar. Seriously Consumerist? Can you at least get the morons like Laura who write for you to at least PROOFREAD for grammar and spelling mistakes?

    “very program” instead of “every program”

  35. axiomatic says:

    Seriously this is not a hard hurdle to surmount. Google “remove drm tivo recordings” and there is a bevy of software waiting to fix your problem.

  36. McDoctor says:

    This is old news and is not entirely Time Warner’s (or any other cable company that does this) fault. The way that TiVos, prior to the premiere, implement multi-room VIEWING is to actually copy the show from one DVR to another in a networked setup. When the copy protect flags are set, making this copy is obviously a problem. EITHER Time-Warner not setting the flags OR TiVo implementing streaming (and not copying the program,) could solve this problem.

    In fact, that’s what TiVo DID do for the TiVo premiere units. They now have a feature called multi-room STREAMING in addition to multi-room viewing, and this is OK with respect to viewing copy-once content in multiple rooms. I’m not sure that there is any inherent reason why TiVo couldn’t go back and implement this feature on earlier versions of their DVR other then that they are lazy and don’t want to spend the time to do it.

  37. RayanneGraff says:

    Yup, shit like this is basically why piracy & illegal streaming websites are thriving. Make your product difficult to use, and people won’t want to use it.

  38. Rocky says:

    Here’s the possible way around. Does your cable box have component video out, like early HDTVs used to have? Component video is high-def, but analog, so there can’t be any encryption or content locking on it. Hauppauge makes an external box to hook up to a computer that can record from component video inputs.
    http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

    • scoosdad says:

      I own one of these. The quality you get through the component cables is stunning. You can argue up and down that “it’s not digital”, but it doesn’t matter. Aside from not being able to do 1080p with one, you just can’t tell.

      Pair one of those with a bit of cheap software called “Smart Cutter” and you can chop out the commercials or extra stuff that comes before or after the program with frame accuracy and without needing to spend hours re-encoding the file, and you’re in heaven.