No HD happiness. Who do I blame? DirecTV? TiVo? Both of 'em? Telcos?

Okay... I'm mad. I see that TiVo is offering another lifetime subscription transfer if you buy a new HD TiVo between now and the 8th of November. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, it's anything BUT cool if that lifetime subscription is on a DirecTV + TiVo box. TiVo's fine-print spells out quite clearly that: DirecTV DVR's with TiVo service not eligible for offer. I know TiVo and DirecTV get along about as well as Sun and NetApp (okay... maybe not THAT bad), but this leaves me, and I gotta believe some others, in the lurch.

I've determined I'm more TiVo-happy than DirecTV-happy. I've heard multiple-independent accounts that other DVR services and software leave a lot to be desired, especially if one had TiVo at one point. I've also continued to hear verification that the cable companies still suck, and my own recent experiences with the Cable Company have been less than stellar. I even started using Verizon for local phone service... something I swore I'd never do after then-Bell-Atlantic botched a simple two-phone-line installation so badly that I had to violate the network interface boundary to fix it.

So I see several opportunities for improvement, but I'm assuming any of the companies in question will bite. I doubt it'll happen, but if the Red Sox can win a second World Series in four years (GO SOX!), anything's possible.

Hey telcos --> pay attention, here's one geek's wishlist:
  • Comcast - Start charging rates for two-cable-card HD setups that are competitive with DirecTV. You can get bonus points if I can get bundled discounts with business-class Internet service.
  • Verizon - Stop holding the Mass. legislature hostage with a statewide TV franchise bill and keep rolling out more FiOS. I'd kill for 5MB upstream (lets me do more work), and I'd even pay for it. Throw in FiOS TV (which is supposed to have the bandwidth of DirecTV with the bundling/saving opportunities of cable) and I might be all over it. I told your phone reps that if they do well, they'd get more of my monthly subscription money!
  • DirecTV - Get over yourself and re-partner with TiVO. I hear that if John Malone gets a large interest that such a re-partnering may very well happen. Throw in the $200 lifetime subscription upgrade fee, and I'll keep facing South-Southwest!
  • TiVo - Unless one of the above miracles happens, please consider a migration path for DirecTV Tivo users? I've a bad feeling one of your divorce terms was to not poach from the DirecTV subscriber base. If so, that's too bad, because I'll bet there are a lot of people who want to keep TiVo more than DirecTV.

Any takers? (I somehow doubt it, but a guy can hope...)
Comments:

With the recent changes in structure, DTV \*is\* much more TiVo friendly. But I think that's really unlikely to cause compatible hardware to be created in the short term. So for now, the DTV/TiVo stuff isn't going to be the best (since all the old stuff is MPEG2 only).

Haven't used it, but a lot of folks seem to think that the most recent DTV DVR isn't that bad.

Good luck.

Posted by Darren Dunham on October 31, 2007 at 06:39 AM EDT #

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