When I signed up for DirecTV back in 2004 I received the, now legendary, DirecTiVo (the Samsung S4040R). I loved it. I almost cried in late 2007 when I bought my first HDTV and “had” to give it up for a DirecTV HD DVR. Time marches on, though, and DirecTV and TiVo were no longer partners.
TiVo joined forces with DirecTV in early 2002 with units made by Phillips, Hughes, and Sony. Later RCA and Samsung joined in. Then in late 2006, when NewsCorp gained control of DirecTV, They phased out TiVo in favor of another NewsCorp company, NDS, which was already manufacturing DVR’s for the European market.
In late 2008, with NewsCorp out of the picture, DirecTV again announced a partnership with TiVo. And, since then, we have waited….and waited….and waited. Delay after delay has been announced. It’s really gotten to the point where DirecTV subscribers are starting to think of it as gamers think of Duke Nukem Forever!
The latest release, which was scheduled for late 2010, has apparently been pushed to early 2011. Rumors persist that beta units are floating around, but I know of nobody who has received one and requests to DirecTV are denied.
So, is this the ultimate Vaporware? For that matter, after reading reviews of the new TiVo Premiere, do users really want it? The current DirecTV HD DVR (the HR23-700) has a 500GB hard drive, which is more than most other DVR’s issued by cable and satellite providers. The software (interface) isn’t that bad either. I am starting to think that TiVo, as much as we all pull for them, are verging on extinction. They seriously need to get their Comcast and DirecTV boxes out the door yesterday before the battle is completely lost.
I canceled, well, actually, “suspended” my DirecTV account after the season finales of Lost and 24. But, as many of you know, from my previous post about the NFL and Sunday Ticket, I was hoping to stay gone permanently.
I have had no problem watching the few shows that I actually do watch online. And, with a media center PC sitting in my entertainment rack pumping HDMI video to my TV and SPDIF audio to my 5.1 receiver, the experience has been indistinguishable from DirecTV. In July, I paid $29.95 to Versus Online and had full coverage of every stage of the Tour de France. That is the only money I have shelled out for TV since May.
As I said in that previous post, though, the NFL will once again not be showing any games online (other than preseason). Worse, it seems that this won’t change anytime soon either.
Per Wikipedia: Currently, American satellite provider DIRECTV has exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket in the United States until the contract expires at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Well, the other night I received a call from a friendly DirecTV rep who wanted me to turn my service back on and was willing to make a deal if I would agree. I inquired about a deal on Sunday Ticket, but he couldn’t offer any more than the standard deal that anyone can get. Probably I could have held out, asked for more or declined and waited for the next call. After all, football season is still a month away. They offered me $5 off per month for the next 6 months. In 6 months football season will be ending. For $29.95 I took the family package and I will pay only $24.95. They also threw in three months free of Showtime, which I doubt I will use. Of course, in reality I will pay more than $24.95. There’s the $5 charge for HD service and the $5 charge for DVR service, but I am still paying $5 less than I was last Spring, so it’s not too bad of a deal.
When football ends I will be “suspending” the account again and maybe next football season I will get an even better offer.