Fox Locks Down TiVo On FiOS

For years, we’ve proclaimed FiOS to be the best home for TIVo owners. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is in that regard. Yet, with newly introduced copy restrictions, this may no longer be the case. As first discovered on the MythTV mailing list, and coming to my attention via Twitter, Verizon now flags Fox’s cable content with the CCI Byte as “Copy Once.”

For TiVo and/or CableLabs, copy once allows us to DVR a show… but that recording cannot not be streamed beyond our home networks or downloaded to computer by TiVoToGo clients. Also, given the unfinished TiVo Online experience, it’s quite likely these shows will similarly be out of reach for in-home browser-based streaming.

Verizon Direct indicates that Fox requested the lockdown of their properties, including National geographic and Fox Business News:

Sorry for the inconvenience, after doing some digging around we found that the copy-once was implemented on those national services at provider request.

What we don’t know is if Verizon is contractually obligated to comply or if they even pushed back. At the end of the day, I guess it doesn’t matter. Prior to this week, only HBO and Cinemax were restricted on FiOS (compared to everything but the locals on TWC, who presumably made their own unilateral consumer-unfriendly decision). But, also as of this week, Comcast is not locking down Fox cable content. Given Xfinity On Demand integration and similar levels of CableCARD support, Comcast is looking more attractive. And given this material change in FiOS and TiVo service, I’d like to think we could exit either contract without penalty should we choose to do so.

27 thoughts on “Fox Locks Down TiVo On FiOS”

  1. I’m currently stuck with Time Warner Cable’s draconian CCI behavior, so I’d take FiOS restricting fox over restricting everything in a heartbeat. FiOS isn’t available in my building yet. Even in NYC the rollout seems stalled.

    If anyone has any ideas on how to exert any pressure on how consumer unfriendly this is given the prices we are paying, I ‘d like to hear it.

  2. “And given this material change in FiOS service, I’d like to think we could exit our contracts without penalty should we choose to do so”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh, lordy. That’s a good one. Spit-take all over my laptop.

    If they ever implement bandwidth caps, a far more material change, even that’s not going to allow folks to void their contracts.

    It’s Kabletown, Jake…

  3. Moves like these are good for Slingbox… I still had one to unload. Guess I’ll be hanging onto it.

  4. Rob T.

    My answer was Roamio OTA. and stream the rest. I was rough the first month, but now I have so much content I don’t know if I’ll ever watch it all. Sure I pay VuDu $35 for the new season of Suits, but that will go over several months – mean while I’m saving $150 a month on cable.

    John G.

  5. “FiOS isn’t available in my building yet. Even in NYC the rollout seems stalled.”

    The rollout is halted nationwide, including NYC, and has been for a while now.

    But quite interestingly, in the last week or two, the NYC government started pressing the fact that the local FIOS franchise agreement seemingly demands that FIOS offer service to all residents, and thus by halting the NYC rollout, Verizon is in violation of their franchise agreement.

    Of course, Verizon lives to litigate. They like litigating more than they like winning. They like litigating more than they like money. Verizon’s official motto is “Litigo ergo sum”. So who knows where this goes, if anywhere, and how fast. But at least on the surface, the franchise agreement is quite clear, and Verizon is in violation.

  6. “What we don’t know is if Verizon is contractually obligated to comply or if they even pushed back.”

    FWIW, I don’t blame FIOS for this in the least. I blame Fox entirely. Same deal when Time-Warner pulled the same trick. I have no idea what contractual language the content companies have with FIOS, but I ain’t got no quarrel with FIOS respecting their demand. (And even if the contractual language is loose, carriage agreements are always up for another renewal. It’s just not a hill that makes sense for FIOS to die on.)

    For all their sins, FIOS has still been the sanest MSO in the nation regarding the CCI-byte by a country mile, and I respect that immensely. (And hell, even with Time-Warner and Fox pulling this nonsense, FIOS is still easily the sanest choice.)

  7. Yeah, they got to play nice with the folks they license the content from and the amount of people (by percent) this impacts is surely small. Doesn’t mean I like it. As far as TWC, I doubt every owner they worked with made the request and suspect TWC did it across the board of their own accord.

  8. I am a DISH subscriber. Just DVR’ed a Nat Geo program and played it back on my iPhone, over 4G cellular. The Hopper STB/gateway has Sling built in, so it was unicast from the STB

  9. If all else fails, I’ll just go OTA. Copy freely and no CCI Byte. I get good reception where I live. I have FIOS TV Local now because they offered me a reasonable deal to stay with my bundle (Local channels, 50/50 internet, phone). I was ready to go antenna, internet, cell phone). Nonsense like this will make me change my mind and just pay the fee to get out of my contract and purchase a OTA Tivo or OTA HD Homerun.

  10. Come out to Phoenix and see the amazeballs cci byte treatment Cox uses. All channels they can legally do it to are copy once. I finally broke down and bought a slingbox to work around it.

  11. They’re only hastening the inevitable. Dying industry grasping at the last shreds of revenue as the night chill swiftly closes in.

    Pretty funny, really. Every year tons of millenials (and gen-Y, and X too! I’m gen-X!) cut the cable, and Fox is doing their damnedest to make it /less/ attractive to a population increasingly consuming content on mobile platforms away from the TV. They think they’re protecting their revenue streams, but in truth they are committing suicide.

  12. “Every year tons of millenials (and gen-Y, and X too! I’m gen-X!) cut the cable”

    Pretty funny, indeed. I never understand how folks ‘cut the cable’. I’d think internet access would be valuable these days. Sure, cellular access points theoretically ‘work’, but it seems a wee bit expensive…

  13. Yeah… I’m on a two year FiOS Internet+TV bundle that’s cheaper than Internet alone. So we’ll keep paying for some sort of “cable” one way or another.

  14. For me, internet alone is $70/month for 300/30 on TWC. Adding TV would be $90 for the smallest bundle available for the first 12 months, and as usual much more after that initial promotional period.

    Of course I could drop my bandwidth and get a bundle for less– but I don’t want to.

  15. Option one:
    Continue to pay ~$200/mo for content that I can’t watch on laptops/tablets/smartphones (I spend more time in front of these than I do in front of the TV).

    Option two:
    Pay nothing. Download the same content and watch it on any screen I want.

    Damn they sure are making this a tough choice…

  16. “For me, internet alone is $70/month for 300/30 on TWC.”

    I pay less than 30% more for triple play including multiple premium cable channels…

    Cut The Cable™.

  17. I don’t have a choice. I still need to pay the extra $70 or so for the Ultimate HD tier on FiOS. If I were to “cut the cord” my monthly cost would go up much, much more to watch the same content I currently watch weekly.

    It sucks about the copy once flag. But three years ago FiOS implemented the copy Once flag for HBO and Cinemax. It was really only a matter of time until this happened with some regular cable channels.

  18. Redeye with Tom Shillue was locked as well. When Gutfeld was on the show it was able to be transferred.

  19. Been on a triple-play cable package via TWC for about 6 months now (AT&T is letting their legacy DSL die – got tired of multi-day outages).

    While I appreciate the promo price, I see no compelling need to keep cable TV past the expiration of the promo.

    Most any cable show I want is available on Hulu (past seasons) or I can buy the current season on a per-episode basis, commercial-free, from Amazon, for far less than paying a monthly cable TV bill.

    Remember, unlike some other providers, it is not cheaper to bundle cable + internet on TWC vs. internet alone.

  20. The problem is that this is no longer the 1970’s and 80’s. The Supreme Court may be forced to revisit this because today the ability to watch our recorded content is either transferred to a legacy TiVo or viewed remotely or on a private device. The younger generation just does not invest in the home TV set model to view content, even if they have some type of DVR, and even those who do have cable as our source for content, one needs the ability to manage that content to be able to view it relevant to how we live in the 21st century. That really was the spirit of Universal vs. Sony: private personal use for time shifting, and in today’s world PLACE shifting. The Supreme Court needs to clarify that PLACE shifting is REASONABLE because we are NOT pirating this material nor displaying it for PUBLIC use, only personal viewing at remote locations. Heaven help us all.

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