OPINION: “undelete” programs from the DIRECTV playlist

I think we’ve all done it… you get delete happy and remove something from your playlist that shouldn’t have been deleted. You feel bad about it, but certainly it’s not as bad as it once was, considering that a lot of programs are available on demand and with streaming. It may be a little inconvenient but it’s a lot rarer to miss a program now than it was 10 years ago.

That is, unless the program is something local, because that stuff isn’t on demand, like, ever. The family could get pretty angry at you if you delete something from the local news that showed a local sports team or ceremony. That’s when you wish DIRECTV had some sort of “undelete” or recycle bin functionality.

And to be very honest with you, I’m not sure why it doesn’t.

I mean, let’s look at the facts. TiVo has this functionality, so it absolutely can be done with a DVR. The DIRECTV DVR (and the TiVo one for that matter) is based on Linux, which clearly has this kind of function in its desktop operating system and even has it in its server operating systems with addon programs like ext4. So there’s clearly not a technical reason for this to be left out of the receiver’s function.

I’ve heard it whispered that the DVR fills empty space with on demand programs and movies so they’re available immediately, so you really don’t have as much free space as you need. The thought is that your hard drive is actually full of this stuff and it gets deleted to make room for your programs dynamically, and you aren’t even aware of it. That’s possible and it would make sense, of course the only thing is that DIRECTV staff won’t confirm this and there’s no way to really prove it short of vivisecting your DVR which is just not allowed by your customer agreement.

Still, I have to feel like there could be a little bit of a compromise here. I know, the DVR does ask me if I’m sure before I delete anything. This is its way of making sure I’m not being an idiot. But you know, the “Are you sure” prompt happens with every deletion, so you tend to ignore it over time, right? It certainly would be a nice addition if at least the programs deleted in the last day were made available for undelete. That couldn’t possibly have an effect on whatever Machiavellian plans DIRECTV has for the free space on its DVRs, right?

It is no secret that DIRECTV and AT&T engineers are working hard on the next generation of home products, to unify the U-Verse and DIRECTV worlds, or more precisely the home-wired and satellite-delivered worlds. I have been told that this next-generation device is really, in a lot of ways, the answer to a lot of questions that have been going around for some time, and that it’s the device that will silence a lot of critics who will tell you that DIRECTV’s product selection needs a refresh. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll stick in an undelete function. Let’s hope!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.