It’s been ten long years waiting for Tivo to finally come to Australia (launched 1998 in San Francisco, USA), so has the wait to ‘Tivo it’ been worth it?
What Tivo is:
A High Def (HD) Digital Video recorder (DVR) with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the market competitors (Foxtel IQ2, Panasonic, Samsung), but with a few interesting and unique differences such as ‘Season pass’, ‘wish list’, broadband functionality, dual TV tuners and a healthy price tag. It’s synchronised using free to air digital programme guides in order to work out what to record.
TiVo Australia officially launches to the public through Harvey Norman retailers on July 29th
$699. That looks like a steal when you compare how much it would cost if you bought the IQ2 from Foxtel which is essentially a ‘lease’ product that requires you to pay a further $20 - $30 on top of your monthly Foxtel bills. And then you still never own it...which makes Tivo look even better for value.
Australian TiVo vs. American TiVo:
Thanks to our complicated and fair dinkum copyright laws, don’t expect the Australian Tivo model to perform any ad skipping miracles. The Australian model has no such feature, unlike its American cousin which delivered TiVo huge amounts of hype and fame for being able to skip across ads like an excited kid in a lollypop shop. But there is hope, meaning you won’t have to suffer through those annoying Nappy San commercials. A 30x rapid skip button speeds through minutes of content in seconds; not unlike most DVR’s already on the market.
Is it Future Proof?
We knew you would wonder, so we asked Tom Rodgers , president and CEO of TiVo Australia ourselves. He told us that they have tentative plans to release a 500GB HD version at a future date, which would be a marked increase on the current 160GB version current available. Mr Rogers hinted at plans to allow external hard drives to work with the TiVo later down the track when an official hard drive accessory is released to market in 2009.
However, Rogers did tell us that there were no firm plans on the horizon for any kind of Blu-Ray or DVD burner options, much to our surprise, telling us that the aim of TiVo is “to keep it simple for customers”. But he did tell us in a rather cryptic James Bond style that you “can never say never” to a possible drive burner proposal one day.
So, is TiVo really that simple?
Yes, that’s one of the devices main benefits. It’s been described as the ‘ipod’ of Digital Video recorders, because it’s designed for mums and grandmas. Press ‘record’ and it goes at it. Press play and expect it all to work without hassles. It’s this very simplicity that Tivo is banking on for their success.
Will TiVo work with my Foxtel?
No. We also asked Tom Rodgers this important question and were dismayed to learn that it’s still impossible to use the TiVo free to air channels with free to air channels served through Foxtel. In other words, there’s no connection available to either device.
That’s a little disappointing for Foxtel customers who don’t want the financial hassle of ‘leasing’ the IQ2 product. The first company to figure out a way to get around this technical imperfection will make a great deal of money.
Sexy features that give the TiVo an edge.
Wish list – search for your favourite director or actors by typing in their name and looking for TV programmes they appear in. Handy if you’re a fan of B grade actors who don’t see much prime time action.
Season Pass - request the device to record every single episode of your favourite season automatically.
Kid Zone – allow parents to take the responsibility to make sure their children are watching programs that are safe from inappropriate material.
TiVo suggestions – Let TiVo suggest the shows you’ll be most keen to watch with a few clicks of the remote.
Tivo and broadband
The Tivo is optimised to work with a broadband connection with an Ethernet port at the back of the unit. You’ll be able to download HD content directly from the net onto the Tivo hard drive. You’ll even be able to store family photos and your favourite YouTbe clips on the unit further down the track.