By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Foxtel has this morning announced a raft of new channels and features. Additionally, the pay TV service provider will be giving every new subscriber an iQ hard disk recorder for free. This move is yet another broadside at the PVR market, and the struggling TiVo device in particular.

The new channels, which will commence airing on 15 November, are LifeStyle You (self help programming), 13th Street (murder mysteries), the Style Network (fashion and beauty), Showtime Action, Showtime Comedy, Showtime Drama, Starpics (movies dedicated to one actor), FMC (family movies), Kids Co, Eurosport, Discovery Turbo Max and Nat Geo Wild.

The biggest new feature announced this morning is a new download service available from this Thursday 1 October. Foxtel subscribers will be able to log onto Foxtel’s website and download programs from 38 different channels. This includes TV shows, movies and sporting events.

This service is especially critical in the ongoing battle between Foxtel and TiVo. The much-publicised “media centre” was investing much of its potential in its download and catch-up TV offering. With Foxtel now coming over the top with a more diverse and better featured product, TiVo will be very concerned about its long term viability. has repeatedly called TiVo boss Robbee Minicola for comment on this issue – she has not returned our calls.

In order to secure the PVR market for itself, Foxtel will be giving its iQ boxes away for each new subscriber. There are a number of new packages for consumer to choose from, or customers can get the full package, which includes two free Box Office movies per month, for $120 (traditional) or $135 (HD).