By Chris Nicholls
SYDNEY: Harvey Norman has confirmed a 1 July on-sale date for the much-delayed TiVo digital video recorder, after news broke of a deal with Channel Seven to give the retailer a head start over its rivals.
While initial reports suggested a mid-July launch for the American device, Harvey Norman executive director, David Ackery, told Current.com.au that a the launch date had been confirmed for 1 July.
A report in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) said the July launch date would give Harvey Norman a three month lead time over its competitors for the TiVo.
However, Ackery remained silent on any other details, including price, saying “all will be revealed” at that time.
Rumours have put the price at approximately $700, which would make the device more expensive than its digital recorder rivals. The AFR reported Harvey Norman sells approximately 5,000 digital video recorders a month, almost all under $700.
TiVo has had a troubled birth in Australia, despite large initial success in its home country. Channel Seven had to re-negotiate its contract with the American parent, after Harvey Norman said the initial plan to charge subscribers a $10-$12 a month fee would hinder sales.
The new agreement, announced in May last year, means Channel Seven will pay TiVo a royalty fee based on numbers sold.
TiVo will arrive with several features other digital video recorders do not have, such as internet connectivity to allow users to search for and record programs based on keyword searches, and an ability to record all episodes of a series, skipping repeats.
However, TiVo may have a tough fight on its hands from Foxtel’s iQ system, which has very similar features and, depending on what deal Foxtel is running at the time, comes in at considerably less than the TiVo, which is also restricted to free-to-air networks.