TiVo's calling the new "Movie of the Week" service a "road test", but it's a trial which could have massive implications for TV users torn between free and pay-TV entertainment.
From next week, the first TiVO
owners in Australia will begin receiving a weekly movie from Blockbuster, delivered over the Internet to their TiVO box. The movie itself is free, though Internet data charges will apply (unless you're on an unlimited plan).
While it's a limited service for now, from December 1, all TiVO users will have Movie of the Week. Each week, a different movie will be available - starting with The Waterhorse next week, followed by Men in Black. TiVO users will be told ahead of time what movie is coming, presumably so they manage their download quotas.Update: We've been told that once the movie is downloaded and you press play you have 48 hours to watch it. If you don’t press play after you have downloaded it, it stays in your inbox for 7 days.
While TiVO says they're letting users take a "careful exploratory" look at downloads, it's a sign of things to come. From March 2009, TiVO will offer a "multitude" of downloadable movies and TV shows.
While it's a far cry from the masses of TV shows and movies available to Foxtel iQ2 owners, TiVO claims the service as proof that subscribing to a monthly Pay TV service isn't necessary in the age of the Internet.
"Again and again it simply proves the argument that Australians do not need to pay for television - the sponsorship model works...especially in difficult economic times such as those we are experiencing now," said Robbee Minicola CEO of Hybrid TV, the distributors of TiVO in Australia.
"And with the full service on offer from March next year, viewers will have a choice of what movie they want to watch on television without subscribing each month for hundreds they've seen before or never want to see."
Ouch, we're betting loving owners of Foxtel iQ2 may disagree.
See our TiVO review here
See our First Look: Foxtel iQ2, the good and the bad
See The Australian Tivo FAQ - What it does, will it skip ads, when it launches, will it work with Foxtel
See TiVo v Foxtel iQ2 - and the yellow jersey goes to . . .Tell us what you think? Are you happy with pay-TV, or do you prefer TiVO?