Whenever I buy something with a lifetime subscription, I always ask myself “whose lifetime”? I got a reminder of that this afternoon when an email from Simple.TV let me know that it’s shutting down its service on August 5.
In some cases (cough TiVo), a lifetime subscription is for the life of the unit, but not Simple.TV, which allowed transferring subs or adding devices to them. “Every Simple.TV subscription can accommodate new units as long as you have a valid Simple.TV subscription,” says its FAQ page. No, in this case, it’s the lifetime of the service.
Today’s email said, “Unfortunately, we are unable to move the company forward or continue to operate the services required to keep our systems online. This means that you will no longer be able to record or play content using your Simple.TV device.” So the device I bought will become a brick, and I have barely a week to transfer any recordings.
Included in the Simple.TV notice was a discount code for a TiVo Roamio OTA. However, even though I love the TiVo user interface, my primary use of the Simple.TV was to stream live TV when I was on the road. The Roamio can’t do that without help. My best memories of Simple.TV were from hotel rooms in Europe; unlike Tablo or Dish Anywhere, the Simple.TV app served up a sub-channel from my home OTA antenna within just a few seconds of launch. I’ll miss that. When setting up its program guide, if Simple.TV’s listing service didn’t recognize one of my market’s squirrelly sub-channels, it would let me substitute the listings from another market’s channel. I’ll miss that too.
The shutdown isn’t a huge shock. Simple.TV hasn’t changed its home page TV screen (still showing Community) for years now. At least I got my money’s worth out of the fire-sale, first-generation, single-tuner unit that I bought years ago.
The old quote fits here: “The pioneers get the arrows and the settlers get the land.” Simple.TV was a true pioneer. Rest in peace.