Friday, July 27, 2007

Rupert Murdoch has ruined my life

I am sure he did not intend to ruin my life, but Rupert Murdoch has done just that. He has removed the major source of joy and happiness in my life. How did he do it? Well unfortunately he purchased Direct TV in 2003. Direct TV is my satellite television provider.

Satellite television is fantastic. The picture quality is great. Beyond that, there *WAS* a great, fabulous relationship between Tivo and Direct TV. Tivo automatically finds and digitally records your favorite tv shows, films, etc. Tivo finds and records shows by title, actor, director, genre, or keyword.

While that might not sound like much, try to imagine coming home after an extremely grueling day, to find that the Tivo has recorded a movie that you never heard of, that you never knew existed, and that, had you known about it, you would have wanted to watch.

For example, the Tivo heuristically discovers that film noir is your favorite type of film. Now, you can forget about your dreadful day and become totally and completely absorbed in watching this wonderful film noir film that the Tivo found and recorded for you. I loved this. It was the second source of joy and happiness in my life (my husband is the first). I spent many lovely and pleasurable hours watching new films, introduced to me by the Tivo, that gave me such happiness.

Rupert Murdoch took that away from me.

Shortly after taking control of Direct TV, Rupert Murdoch determined that Direct TV should retain all the profits associated with its operation. This meant that Direct TV would not license or pay royalties to Tivo. Instead Direct TV customers were required to shop at the "Company Store" and purchase new digital video recorders that were manufactured according to Direct TV specifications and controlled by Brand Murdoch.

I was forced to purchase one. It is completely awful. The user interface is so awful, it could be a textbook example of poor user interface design. The feature set is abysmal. Reliability is awful; we often have to power cycle the unit to play back movies. Of course, these new, feature-poor DVRs are little more than VCRs that record to disk instead of tape. I guess that was easy for Rupert Murdoch to understand. He has insufficient imagination to appreciate the advanced features that customers like me had so thoroughly enjoyed and utilized.

Of course, Rupert Murdoch had to have some excuse to appear to be running Direct TV in an open and fair manner. Direct TV points out that one can still use a Tivo with a Direct TV box. Let's examine that carefully.

When the satellite transmits the signal, your local satellite receiver, the Direct TV box receives the signal, decompresses the signal, and displays the signal on your television. If you are using a Tivo, the Tivo receives the decompressed satellite signal from the Direct TV box, and then recompresses the signal to store it on disk. Then when you, the viewer, want to watch the program, the Tivo has to decompress the signal to display it on your television. Thus the Tivo has to do an extra step to compress and decompress the signal. The constant decompressing and recompressing results in a reduced quality image when you view it on television.

Prior to Rupert Murdoch's unconscionable meddling, the satellite box and the Tivo functionality were integrated, this meant there was no unnecessary decompression and recompression. (previously the integrated unit recorded the satellite feed and decompressed it once for your television). Thus, prior to Rupert Murdoch, the Tivo image quality on your television was excellent.

So what does the FCC have to say about this? The FCC does not see Rupert Murdoch as a monopolist, because the FCC maintains that consumers have many choices with television. The FCC tells me that I could always obtain cable television instead of satellite, so that I have freedom of choice. Despite their absurd propaganda, cable television is inferior to satellite television in terms of image quality. Thus, in my opinion, I do not have a choice. The FCC is incorrect, and I am stuck with Rupert Murdoch's pathetic DVR.

I personally think that Rupert Murdoch has worn out his welcome, and he and his absurb trophy wife, Wendy Deng, should high tail it back to Australia and live out their lives in oblivion, something they richly deserve.

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