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.