Sabres fan John Niedermeyer coughed up $150 for the NHL’s Center Ice package, naturally presuming he’d be free to watch games on his TiVo hard drive recorder at his convenience. Think again.

We recently upgraded our TiVo unit from an old DirecTiVo, to the new Series 3 TiVo HD, which apparently implements unnaturally strict copy protection on premium content. Because the new unit utilizes CableCards, TiVo has different rules for these TiVos as compared to Series 2 units, according to their support page:

Since the Series3 and TiVo HD are DCR devices, in addition to the Macrovision rules for analog content, they must also comply with the content protection policies for Digital Cable content.

What this means is that NHL Center Ice content is copy protected, and will be deleted within hours of the game™s completion. Gone. Irretrievable.

This angers me to no end, as I am a busy person, who is paying a premium price to the NHL, as well as TiVo. The NHL™s popularity has waned so much here in the States, that I can™t for a minute imagine that they are responsible for this policy.

I can’t either. Mostly because there’s at least one claim of the same thing happening to Major League Soccer telecasts —- not because it’s difficult to envision the NHL inconveniencing their customers.

UPDATE : courtesy Off Wing Opinion, the NHL blames TiVo!.