Why I use MythTV

Mike Ho from Techdirt provides his take on the “glorious future” of video players, sentiments with which I can strongly empathize:

With each new offering, it seems like viewers need a separate and proprietary piece of video playing software which is obviously aimed at enhancing the viewing experience for the audience. The DRM and the crazy number of different time limitations for how long you can watch you downloaded shows are really just bonus features. Imagine the glorious future of watching a la carte videos where every distribution channel has its own player and set of rules for how you can consume the content. Future DVRs will incorporate access control systems that would rival the most complex enterprise content management systems of today. I can’t wait to click through dozens of end-user agreements just to watch my favorite time-shifted shows! Progress is great.

I recently helped a family friend install a Rogers HD PVR at their home. It was an educational experience. They had several devices that needed to be hooked into the TV, but once everything was plugged in I thought it would be ready to go. Not so with Rogers… turning the HD PVR on for the first time displayed only a screen saying: “Your settop box has not yet be authorized. Please call <phone number/>”

I will never purchase a device that needs to phone home in order to turn on and work for me.

Rogers has a right to control the use of their network, sure, but to control your own device in your own house? The most obvious problem that comes to mind would be if you ever cancelled your Rogers cable account (say, to switch to another provider). Sure, the box may not work with another provider, that’s expected, but you wouldn’t even be able to turn it on to watch TV shows you’ve already recorded! Never mind trying to get this device to play nice with other devices you own…

Until a commercial company starts offering something that isn’t defective by design, I’m sticking to MythTV.

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