Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The new TiVo 320 device will be sold exclusively through only three major retail partners, with licensee Hybrid TV abandoning all other sales channels, including online.

Launched last night at a gala function in Pyrmont, Sydney, the new TiVo 320 device is the first new model from Hybrid TV since TiVo’s entrance into the Australian market 18 months ago. The key difference between the new model and the now run-out device is a doubling of hard drive capacity. The new 320GB TiVo will replace the original TiVo at the $699 price point.

In an interview with Current.com.au, Hybrid TV CEO Robbee Minicola revealed that the TiVo 320 will be exclusively distributed through the group’s select retail channel. These outlets are Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer, and affiliates including Clive Anthonys and Domayne. The new device will not be sold online or through other channels.

“We will not sell the Tivo 320 online,” Minicola declared. “If people want the Tivo 320 they have to go to JB, Harveys or Myer. We want to support the retailers, so basically the Tivo 160, our original model, will be sold online, but I have not authorised the Tivo 320 to be sold on the internet, because I want the traffic to go to the retailers to support the retailers.”

We asked Minicola if this was a grace period for retailers, or if this was the long term plan.

“I do not want to sell the Tivo 320s online. The main reason why I want people to go into stores is our retailers know about our product. People are better off going and speaking to Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi staff and to learn about our product.”

When asked if this move was a concession that online sales had not produced results in line with expectations, Minicola prevaricated, saying that online was used as an educational tool, reinforcing her message that retail is the best channel through which to sell the device.

As for the original TiVo 160, current stock will be sold through retail and online, but no new stock will be made available to retailers. The new RRP for this model is $599. Minicola stressed that this model is completely compatible with all new features, and that firmware upgrades will be pushed through to the device in the coming weeks.

The TiVo 320 goes on sale on 1 December 2009. Until 31 January 2009, a free home networking package, valued at RRP $199, will be included with the device.