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Lifetime subscription or not, TiVo is cutting off support for its original DVR

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Thanks to the proliferation of the DVR as a concept, the TiVo name may not carry the weight it once did, but it still deserves credit as the company that brought the DVR to the mainstream. Now, the first model the company sold to customers, aptly named the Series 1, is finally being retired.

TiVo broke the news to customers in an email that begin to circulate on Tuesday evening, and was shared on the TiVo Community message board. Series 1 boxes will make their final call to the company to update the TiVo guide on September 15, which will provide them with listings until the end of September. After that, this particular model of DVR will no longer be able to update its listings.

As to why this is happening, it all has to do with TiVo’s recent acquisition by Rovi. TiVo will begin using Rovi Guide data instead of its own, and has either decided that Series 1 model DVRs aren’t worth updating, or perhaps a technical issue is preventing the units from being updated to use the new guide data.

The venerable Series 1 was first sold in 1999, while the last units were manufactured in 2002. Though it has been 17 years since the model was introduced and most TiVo customers have moved to newer equipment, a total of 3,500 customers are still running the aging hardware. These users will still be able to pause, rewind, fast-forward, and record TV, but without listings, they will lose essential functionality.

In hopes of making it up to the affected customers, the company is offering $75 Visa gift cards to all who are affected. Not everyone is happy to take the money and walk away, especially since the lifetime subscriptions many users bought along with the DVR didn’t end up lasting said lifetime.

“We know that this is disappointing, and we feel terrible about relaying this news,” TiVo wrote in the email regarding the Series 1 DVRs. “They’ve had a great run and we’re truly sorry to see them go.”

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Kris Wouk
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