I've been a very happy DirecTV customer since 1997, and until today, I've never had a single problem with any of my receivers or my service.
Sometime between this afternoon and this evening, my DirecTV receiver (
HD 20-100 HR20/100) decided that it wouldn't let me see a picture on my television (Hitachi 60V500.) In place of a picture -- on every single channel, whether it was local, over-the-air, HD, or anything else --
I got the error message in this image, which you can click to embiggen.
If you would prefer not to embiggen, it reads: "This program includes content protection that restricts viewing on the television attached to your DIRECTV receiver's HDMI connector."
I spent a lot of time on the phone with an extremely helpful DirecTV customer service representative who helped me troubleshoot the problem, one step at a time, until we determined that this is a result of some kind of DirecTV software glitch, which prevents TVs like mine from getting a picture to go with its sound.
Here's the thing: I understand that DirecTV won't be able to resolve this issue for several weeks, and the best advice DirecTV can give me is to unplug my HDMI cable (and whisking any
1080i 1080p content I may want to watch) in favor of component cables, until they can come up with a software fix to this problem. I don't have component cables for my DirecTV box, so now I get to go buy them. I get to incur additional expense just so I can watch the programming I'm already paying for on the television I bought, that's worked perfectly for years. Defective by design, indeed.
If you look closely at the error message, you can see that it mentions "content protection" -- that's another word for DRM. How many DirecTV customers are currently hosed by this DRM-related nightmare? I'm not sure, but I can tell you what the number would be if the damn studios and networks weren't so dead set on treating their customers like criminals: zero.