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Sony Television Entertainment

Sony DVR Useless After Rovi Stops TV Guide OnScreen 321

New submitter speedlaw writes "Rovi has just announced that they are stopping the TV Guide OnScreen service as of April 13th, 2013. This was announced via the service itself. This is an on-air listing service that provides listings over the air, as part of an OTA TV signal. Many devices, notably the Sony HDD 250 and 500 Digital Video Recorders, will no longer function without the clock-set data this stream provides. When other companies decide to stop supporting something, they don't make older systems useless. Worse, Sony never came out with another DVR in the U.S. market. Why do we have to rent them? How do we get Sony or Rovi to provide at least a software patch to set the clock so the DVR can at least retain 1980s VCR functionality? Sony admits there is no fix. A thread on AVS forums has a bunch of information on TV Guide OnScreen. The TV stations who broadcast the data have been ordered by Rovi to disconnect the data inserters and ship them back. I have a TiVo, and yes, I know all about HTPC, but this data stream was 'lifetime listings' like TiVo has 'lifetime listings' — now that Rovi is looking to cut service, my two DVR units are about to become useless."
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Sony DVR Useless After Rovi Stops TV Guide OnScreen

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:20AM (#41948039)

    Why don't the channels just broadcast the programme data alongside the actual programming? That's how they do it here, in the DVB-T streams. A full week's worth of programming and programme descriptions, transmitted over the air.

  • by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:26AM (#41948061)

    There should be a mandate that if you want to be a dick and no longer choose to support the software of an obsolete product you sold to maintain core functionality, you should forfeit the source code. At the very least, make it legal to reverse engineer and distribute fixes/functionality without fear of retribution. This is going to become much more common in the future unless someone does something.

  • COTS versus embedded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:30AM (#41948067)

    This is why you buy COTS hardware instead of embedded solutions, guys. You can always upgrade the software on your own if you have to, but if you can't get to the firmware, then there's no telling if there's some dependancy or requirement to an outside source that you've overlooked. People have been building their own PVRs for years now, and many open source solutions like XMBC have matured to the point where they offer multiple service providers on a wide variety of cheap hardware.

    And here's another reason people pirate: I know that I'll always have my video files on my harddrive. They're in a video container format that's been industry standard for years. There are no commercials, no external dependancies, and will play on almost any computer. I can't get that with Netflix -- once, I was halfway through watching a series on 'instant play' when they yanked the entire series. It's no longer available because of some obscure licensing issue that I wasn't informed of until after it was gone. When you rely on "legal" solutions, you're conceding that they have the right and ability to terminate your access at any time. That's also why I don't watch cable TV: It's encrypted and I can't record it. I can't go back and watch it again, and it may never be available again. With pirated content, I know exactly when it'll be available once I have it: Forever.

  • You're in America (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:30AM (#41948069)

    Cant you just sue them?

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @04:11AM (#41948175)
    Plays for Sure and Kin were nothing compared to the Sony Rootkit [wikipedia.org] fiasco. That was a much lower low than anything Microsoft ever did; Sony, like no other.
  • Just don't buy them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @04:26AM (#41948219) Journal

    I bought a Sony DVR/DVD player about four years ago. It booted up with a choice of EPGs - a plain one, and one with additional functionality and adverts. Yes, half the screen was occupied by ads. After getting annoyed with that after about two microseconds I switched to the plain one.

    After a couple of years it started misbehaving, as these things do, telling me that the only thing on TV was 'No Channel Information'. So I thought I'd switch back and see how bad the ad-ridden one was. So I found the setting deep in the unexplored regions of the menu system and flipped.

    Same old ad-ridden screen, except this time the ads were blank placeholders. I reckon nobody wanted to advertise there, since nobody was using the annoying EPG...

    I did an upgrade from a new OS via a DVD from the Sony web site and it fixed most of the EPG blankness, but the thing has been pretty flakey from day one. I think the initial flakeyness is controlled to be just enough that you don't know if its your own fault for not reading the instructions or if it is genuine faults. Products are always released when the cost in fixing the bugs is more than the cost of handling support calls, right?

    Anyway, no more Sony for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @05:28AM (#41948357)

    I have a VCR that's over 20 years old that still works fine. Weird thing is, it's a Sony.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @05:32AM (#41948365)

    Rovi uses patents to make money of stuff like DVRs, EPGs and copy protection. I guess they could be called a 'patent troll'. More DVRs sold equals more money for Rovi.

    Rovi was born as Macrovision, the VCR copy protect signal. That was compulsory on video cards. So if you have a computer with composite of S-VHS out you probably paid Rovi half a dollar for that.

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @06:26AM (#41948503) Journal

    Actually the very first VCR my parent's owned got the programming directly from teletext. You could go to the page where the program is listed, select the page, and it would take the data directly from that page and store it (and it even got the correct VPS times that way, in cases they differed from scheduled times). That was before the invention of ShowView, the system which presumably was making programming your VCR so simple. I've never understood why entering a seemingly arbitrary number should be more easy than just selecting directly from the program table. Indeed, that was the easiest to program VCR I've ever come across, and superior to all the systems which came later, without exceptions. And it worked perfectly for more than a decade (apart from a nasty Y2K bug which you had to work around by lying about the year) until the VCR stopped working correctly (and it was not the programming part that failed)

    And of course, if the stations had ever stopped to provide programming data over teletext, the VCR had also the option to enter everything manually.

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday November 11, 2012 @07:19AM (#41948637) Homepage

    Yes - I agree, if you don't support it at least make the source code available.

    I recently upgraded from CentOS5 to CentOS6. I have a 4 year old Brother printer/scanner, the RPMs for the drivers would not install (wrong [old] version of glibc & similar). Brother tech support tried to be helpful, but no - it was no longer sold and they would not create new RPMs. With a bit of fiddling I was able to get it to work - but a naive user would not have [I am not being rude about some people].

    I will never buy a Brother product again - 4 years is not that old for a bit of hardware; if they don't maintain their drivers I will not take the risk of being left with working but unusable hardware; neither will I support a company that leaves its customers in the lurch.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @01:15PM (#41950259)

    It'll also be a cold day in hell before I plug an ethernet cable into a TV and give it access to the internet.

    My TV has an Ethernet connection and can do things like show YouTube and Netflix. I don't care about any of those extras because other cheaper devices can also do this for me.

    But, the Ethernet connection does give me an easy way to apply updates (one has already improved picture quality), and stream media from a PC. The TV also has a web browser that is good enough to allow basic browsing, and works pretty well if you add a bluetooth keyboard. With bookmarks, you can do things like check the local weather without even needing a keyboard. This means that you can do some things without having to have another device involved. You can also control the TV using an Android or iOS app.

    So, yeah, when they stop supporting the TV with updates, some of this functionality will stop, but there is a lot that an Ethernet connection gives you that will never go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:39PM (#41950821)

    same. I have the LN40B630. There was I think only a couple firmware updates since I bought it. Same with my LG Blu Ray player, and the last one of which farked up my DVD quality.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming