TiVO Tells You How To Defeat Their DRM To Keep You From Canceling

Want to cancel your TiVo? When you call to tell them about it, they might just try to teach you how to defeat their DRM in order to keep you as a customer. That’s what happened to Tino, and he wrote all about it. From his blog:

I explain to her that I know I can move the files over but raw TiVo files are encrypted and useless. She said you can just download an application to convert them yourself. I explained this would be illegal under the DMCA and TiVo somewhat agressevly tries to enforce the encryption. She said so there is no way you can get an application to convert the files. I told her that I could get such an application but that it is quite illegal and Tivo could sue me or worse. The total times she tryed to get me to do something illega so I would keep the TiVo service, about 4. If I wanted to be illegal I could just dump the cable too and friggin download everything DRM and commercial free, DUH.

TiVo2Go’s Terms and Conditions say:

The TiVoToGo feature includes security measures designed to prevent infringement of copyrighted works. You agree not to take any steps to defeat any TiVo security measures or to use any third party applications that may bypass any TiVo security measures.

It’s sad when your retention people have to talk customers into doing something against your Terms and Conditions in a desperate attempt to keep them. DRM gives The Consumerist a headache. DRM should be sponsored by Excedrin Migraine.—MEGHANN MARCO

TiVo cancelled [tinokaltsas]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Youthier says:

    I can’t even grasp the concept of wanting to cancel TiVo.

  2. dtreichler says:

    Oh the joy of the lifetime subscription…

  3. str1cken says:

    The user pointed out one of the biggest problems with DRM.

    The technology does a lousy job of keeping people honest because the illegal materials are so much better than the legitimate.

  4. juri squared says:

    In my experience (okay, my husband’s, since he’s the TiVo hacker), TiVo has always been pretty wink-wink-nudge-nudge friendly to user hacks, so this doesn’t really surprise me.

  5. crayonshinobi says:

    Tivo apparently subscribes to the Macrovision philosophy about DRM..you know..how, DRM increases not decreases consumer value…

    How ironic that circumventing this added value of DRM is the preferred method of customer retention.

  6. Wargazm says:

    “I could just dump the cable too and friggin download everything DRM and commercial free”

    ding ding ding!

  7. adamondi says:

    @jurijuri: That is very true, jurijuri. TiVo has always chosen to turn a blind eye to all of the TiVo hacking that goes on out there. Since all TiVo boxes are actually specialized Linux computers, there are a ton of people who do all sorts of stuff with their TiVos that are not necessarily part of the originally intended purpose of the product. And TiVo itself has, if not encouraged this hacking, definitely not discouraged it.

    I think that characterizing the statements of the TiVo CSR as “a desperate attempt to keep [customers]” is completely incorrect. TiVo is fully aware that there are plenty of ways to break their DRM and get at the good stuff in the files on their boxes.

    It sounds to me like this was a savvy CSR who knew that this guy’s complaint about the DRM (and his trying to use that as a reason for canceling) was bunk. He even admitted that he knew about the easily obtainable program that will decrypt TiVo files.

  8. isadora says:


    What she said.

  9. I cancelled Tivo because I have a Series2 player and I have an HDTV. Until the prices of the Series3 player go down, it’s not worth my money. I do not see any value in recording standard digital cable television shows on a high-def television. The quality is horrendous.

  10. Babylonfive says:

    You used the series2 BEFORE on a regular TV, and the quality was the same horrendous, or WORSE. The high-def simply allows you to see that same resolution spread over more dots… just because the TV is CAPABLE of doing better, it didn’t suddenly make the Series2 unacceptable…

    I have the same situation with my replaytv and I view the programs same as I did before, but on a nicer bigger TV (until I buy the series3)…

    If your statement was true, then shy didn’t you throw out the old TV AND the S2 before?