Tivo begins to sell out

As reported in the Washington Post yesterday, Tivo is beginning to cave in to network pressure to place limits and restrictions on a user’s ability to record certain programs.

In its latest upgrade, Tivo apparently included a patch that allows the content provider to flag certain programs for automatic deletion after a certain date. The patch also prevents flagged programs from being transferred to other hardware platforms (media servers, DVD, etc.).

Is it coincidence that the two programs that were “accidentally” flagged on September 10, The Simpsons and King of the Hill, happen to be among the most popular television DVD sets on the market? Here’s a pic of some of the Fox shows red-flagged. Another screen shot shows the user’s inability to reset the delete preferences for the red-flagged recordings. And finally, here’s a screen shot of the restriction explanation.

It would certainly make sense for networks to desire a more temporary storage format for such programs (and other successful DVD sellers like “The Family Guy” and ABC’s “Lost”).

A recent viewer captured a screen shot of the red flag on the IFC channel. The info screen also shows the delete flag is not unintentional.

Tivo denies any such motive. But what other purpose could such architecture serve?

Here’s the official FAQ about the Macrovision Copy Protection from Tivo.com.