There comes a time in any electronic gadget's life when it becomes useless and although it's inevitable, the length of the useful lifespan can vary greatly. In recent years firmware updates have really helped extend the life of devices, but when the manufacturer has no financial incentive to support older products, it can mean a premature end (at least from the customer's perspective). Well after three years that time has apparently come for FiOS TV subscribers who own ATI Digital Cable Tuners (and many other CableCARD devices). Now before you get too up in arms about this, it isn't really Verizon's fault, you see said company wants to be able to use Cisco and Motorola devices in the same area and this means it needs a tech called Simulcrypt. This is good for most customers as it will likely bring better prices and selection. And although this is a CableLabs certified technology, a firmware update is required to ensure the device handles the encryption properly. So while a company like Ceton
has already released updates for its devices, ATI and other TV manufactures have long since given up on the CableCARD market, and hence, supporting any legacy devices. The only good news is that you now have the perfect excuse to justify replacing your obsolete device. Don't like this option? Well you can get a FiOS DVR (with it's 2002 circa 160GB HDD) or just file a complaint to the FCC -- this won't do much, but might make you feel better.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.