In an investor's call yesterday, News Corp (and DirecTV) owner Rupert Murdoch was asked directly whether his other satellite company (that has a free DVR) and DirecTiVo would continue to co-exist and he gave a cautious non-answer:
"We're looking at it very closely," he said, indicating that News Corp. is still torn between the PVRs developed by its own NDS Group PLC and TiVo, which has a partnership with Hughes' DirecTV unit. "Maybe we'll be offering both," Murdoch said. "There's been no decision taken on that."
This news comes at a particularly bad time for me personally, I just ordered a brand-new Phillips DSR7000, a Triple LNB dish, and DirecTV to install at my new home (note: I'll be selling my SuperTiVo project box on eBay -- stay tuned for info on that if you're in the market for a new standalone TiVo).
"The broadcast flag rule forces manufacturers to remove useful recording features from television products you can buy today," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen. "The FCC has decided that the way to get Americans to adopt digital DTV is to make it cost more and do less."
What this will mean for HDTV recorders like upcoming TiVo products and other software/hardware products is unknown, but it will definitely delay products going to market and might prevent products from ever hitting the market if they don't obtain FCC approval.
The biggest shock is that public affairs and news programming are not exempt from the rules. This means that public domain programming like CSPAN and PBS will need to also be encrypted, which seems like nonsense, since the Broadcast Flag was designed primarily to protect Hollywood movies.
While doing research into building a new 200+ hour DirecTivo unit, I stumbled across the current state of the art in large disk hacking.
Many trails lead to Todd Miller's guide to using large disks with TiVo, which includes his own hacks and even a patched kernel he's hacked together. Unfortunately from everything I've read, support for large (>137Gb) disks is largely limited to Series 1 TiVo devices, and these kernel hacks are a bit fragile, as TiVo OS upgrades may render your hacked box useless (or require a restore from backup).
While searching for wireless multimedia adapters for my home stereo setup, I stumbled across the SMCWMR-AG from SMC Networks. It looks to be the first 802.11a and 802.11g compatible media receiver. It handles jpegs, mp3, mpeg 1 and 2, and internet radio streams (through a PC server interface), but unfortunately doesn't handle DiVX video, AAC audio, or WMA audio. It's available for pre-order on Amazon, though I'll have to keep looking for the perfect home media adapter.