As owners of DirecTiVos know, DirecTV has deliberately crippled the feature set on those units. Despite the hardware and software both being capable of supporting all of the standalone TiVo features – Music, Photos, HME, online scheduling, etc – DirecTV has deliberately disabled these features. And we know they work fine, because the software is still in the box, just disabled, and there are hacks to enable the features for the more technical users.
So, what’s new? DirecTV’s new HR20 DirecTV Plus HD DVR has a network port. They’re finally enabling it, but only to communicate with Intel Viiv PCs. You will be able to access music and photos from a Viiv PC on the DVR.
After years of not enabling features that would work with any PC *or* Mac (or Linux, BSD, etc) on the TiVo-based units, now they’re enabling a feature – only on their HD DVR, and only if you have a new Viiv-based Windows PC. Thanks DirecTV.
This really reinforces the theory that they’ve kept the TiVo-based units deliberately crippled because it would make their ‘Plus’ boxes look like a ‘Minus’ if they actually enabled the full feature set. The new DVRs are really a step backwards. While it is a long shot, their is a glimmer of hope now that Liberty Media is acquiring DirecTV from Rupert Murdoch. DirecTV switched to NDS based DVRs after Murdoch took over, mainly because he also held a large stake in NDS. Liberty Media is also an investor in TiVo. But there is a lot of momentum behind the switch, so it won’t be simple to switch back to TiVo even if Liberty wants to.