‘We have no regrets’: Channel Seven washes hands of TiVo in Australia

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This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell

Will a new distributor emerge for TiVo? Pictured here is the Roamio Pro, TiVo's new high-end PVR.

Will a new distributor emerge for TiVo? Pictured here is the Roamio Pro, TiVo’s new high-end PVR.

Channel Seven has finally given confirmation that its interest in TiVo in Australia is officially zero. A representative of the network advised Appliance Retailer last night at the launch of FreeviewPlus that it no longer had any involvement in the famous American PVR brand and that Hybrid TV, the subsidiary established to be the official Australian licensee, had been effectively dissolved.

While the popular service has remained dormant for a long time, the television network’s exact role in the product and interest in the service has been nebulous. The website for TiVo in Australia — MyTiVo.com.au — occasionally has been updated with new notices, the most recent one announcing that Quickflix was replacing Caspa as the set top boxes subscription streaming supplier. The last media release in the newsroom is from November 2011 and the website hasn’t sold actual TiVo boxes for at least 18 months.

“Hybrid TV is done,” said the Channel Seven representative.

Shortly after Hybrid TV’s exit from selling TiVo devices in Australia, this author wrote a feature arguing that Channel Seven was the cause of both TiVo’s fledgling success and its ultimate failure. The crux of this position is that Channel Seven was so intent on owning the infrastructure — blocking out Foxtel, opposing subscription services, not involving the other free-to-air networks — that the market was always going to turn against it.

Does Channel Seven have any regrets?

“None at all. It was a great product for its time but Seven no longer has any involvement in TiVo. It’s up to TiVo in the United States if it ever comes back to Australia.”

TiVo continues to enjoy a strong following in the United States and its most recent release of PVRs have been well received. The new Roamio service, which allows for recording of free-to-air and cable TV, remote access via connected devices like smartphones and tablets, and access to on-demand content is described as being “a cable box, a DVR, an Apple TV and a Slingbox in a single experience”. In a very positive review for VentureBeatRakesh Agrawal called the new range, “the best TV viewing experience that money can buy”. Joshua Goldman at Cnet gave the high-end model 4 stars out of 5, describing it as “excellent”. Nilay Patel at The Verge said the Roamio Pro was the “ultimate DVR”. All three of these American reviewers criticised the expensiveness of TiVo, which, in the United States, includes an upfront cost and a subscription fee. TiVo in Australia was sold in Australia with a relatively higher upfront cost but with no ongoing fees. The reason for this was twofold: launch partner Harvey Norman wanted the over the counter price to be more expensive and Channel Seven wanted a key point of difference between TiVo and Foxtel.

And while TiVo chugs along in the United States, owners of the PVR in Australia, many of which are now obsolete, take to forums and blogs to find out why the set top box they purchased at top dollar only a few years ago is no longer being supported. The general tone of these posts is that TiVo was a much-loved device for many Australian consumers and there is a sense of anger that it is no longer available. One poster goes so far as to say, “Who ever killed TiVo in Australia should be bought before the courts”. It is unclear what they would be charged with but the passion for the product is undeniable.

The way is now clear for another distributor to step up and become the licensee for TiVo in Australia. Appliance Retailer understands that at least one regionally-based agency has expressed an interest in wholesaling TiVo.

“TiVo continues to explore opportunities with various potential partners with hopes to bring TiVo’s newest products to Australia in the future,” is the official line from TiVo Inc. PR and social media manager Seana Norvell.
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14 Responses to ‘We have no regrets’: Channel Seven washes hands of TiVo in Australia

  1. Peter Wed 3 Sep 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    Where does this leave existing TiVo owner?

  2. Glenn Latch Wed 3 Sep 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    The official technical partner for TiVo devices in Australia is Skyzer Technologies – http://www.skyzer.com.au

    • Peter Thu 4 Sep 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Sorry, I did not mean hardware support.

      I meant software support for current users.

      Is there an end date for the provision of the EPG server that TiVo’s contact each day?

      When this is turned off the TiVo’s will become dead and totally useless.

  3. Scuba Sun 19 Oct 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Let’s just face the inevitable: when your online EPG goes, TiVo is dead and becomes a boat anchor. There are far more sophisticated devices on the market now and “smart” TVs that will allow you to store recorded shows onto a USB stick. PVRs in general are obsolete.
    After having a TiVo since they were first released in Australia, I have only just recently been able to find a compatible wireless adapter for it. (The recommended ones listed on the TiVo website were always out-of-stock or no longer available).
    In case anyone is interested: the d-link DIR505 mobile companion Wi-Fi booster/ router/ repeater/ hotspot.
    Newer Smart TVs and other media devices have Wi-Fi built-in.

  4. Jc Wed 19 Nov 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    My TiVo is still going strong. It’s a brilliant and cheap alternative to FOXTEL. I’m hoping that TiVo Usa decide to roll out their new products here and use their full power (ad skipping etc). It’s definitely the best provider out there, just needs to better marketed.

  5. Anne Thu 25 Dec 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I love my TiVo very much. Being a shift worker, I find it is the only way I can effectively follow any series as I am not often home to catch the show. I object to the high prices of Foxtel and Optus and will not purchase them again. The TiVo is a wonderful alternative and one I wholeheartedly support and promote to everyone I know.
    It is a pity that no advertising campaign is available as I am sure it would go well in Australia if only people got to know about it. Currently it is not well known.
    I am hopeful that TiVo will have a resurgence as I would be heartbroken if it was completely discontinued. I know of no other to match it.

  6. SJ Fri 20 Feb 2015 at 12:50 am #

    Tivo is a great product. It is a pity it didn’t get more traction in the Australian market. The one off payment was particularly appealing as I hate the idea of ongoing subscription fees and being locked into any service particularly when the product can operate stand alone. If you do a whole-of-life costing the more expensive capital quickly pays for itself vs subscription fees over the life of the product. I hope Tivo does come back to Australia and we can enjoy the next generation of devices without any ongoing fees.

  7. John Y. Tue 3 Mar 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    I too love my Tivo, had it for several years after using a Topfield with my old CRT tv. If the online EPG goes can you still set it to record by time & channel as the menu seems to let you do this?

  8. sheryle padgett Mon 9 Mar 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Sheryle 8th March, 2015. We have had a Tivo since launched in Australia and love it. A huge disappointment Tivo can no longer be purchased in Oz. The latest version available in the U.S. is fabulous – you can record 6 channels at one time and you can also record up to 3,000 hours of t.v.

  9. LJR Thu 12 Mar 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    We absolutely love our TiVo but after years it started to play up so we bought a replacement. So disappointing! There is nothing in the Australian market that comes close to comparing. We tried the Topfield which was extremely hard to use & the sound was totally crap. Next we’ve tried the Panasonic- it’s a nightmare! Easier to use than Topfield but nowhere near the ease of use & functionality of TiVo. It’s constantly playing up too, loses reception, won’t turn on etc so we’re planning to take it back. If anyone knows an alternative to crap the crap PVRs out there, i’d love to hear it! Someone said they’re obsolete now??

  10. Ryan Thu 19 Mar 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    Have a Tivo for many years and LOVE IT. If anyone knows where to buy another Tivo, please let me know
    Tivo is still the best PVR in the market
    Bring Tivo Back To Australia

  11. Julie Williams Thu 16 Apr 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Not much I can add : I. Love. My. TiVo. Can’t say it any plainer! So easy to use. Any idea when the on-screen tv channels might go?

  12. Maxine Jorgensen Sun 21 Jun 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    I to love my TIVO have had it for many years but it is now starting to play up. I don’t know why I cannot get a new one as it is a fabulous device and there is nothing else in Australia that compares to it. No wonder it never took off as most of my friends never knew it existed. It was very poorly marketed. Any store with an ounce of nouse who bought the Aussie rights and who advertised this product as it deserved would make a killing.
    Is it possible for me to get one from the states or is there a conflict with wiring. I ask this because I obviously don’t understand the fundamentals.
    Maxine Jorgensen June 2015

  13. Stuart Milligan Mon 22 Jun 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    We also have had our TiVo for about 7 years now and it’s truly a fantastic easy to use device. Read the reviews for TiVos new machine in the states, nothing comes close to it. As it stands I am worried what I’m go to replace my TiVo with when she finally goes. I would buy a new TiVo tomorrow if I could and so would my in laws, and many of my friends. Common Australia somebody please bring TiVo back.

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