By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Channel Seven ended over a year of waiting by launching its TiVo digital TV recorder today, with an on-sale date set for “the last few days of July”, according to Harvey Norman.

The announcement, made at 11 am today, confirmed that the $700 device will arrive in Harvey Norman and Domayne stores six weeks ahead of rival chains due to an exclusive distribution agreement.

Speaking to, Harvey Norman executive director, David Ackery, said while the on-sale date would be at only three weeks away, promotion and advertising would only begin from the middle of the month.

Pre-orders will be taken from next week, he said.

The HD box will also come with an iPod dock, allowing users to transfer TV programs and films to their iPod.

TiVo has had a troubled birth in this country, with initial launch plans delayed by a renegotiation of the licensing contract after Harvey Norman said the suggested $500 up front price with a $10-12 subscription fee would slow initial take-up.

Some critics have also pointed out TiVo has a very similar feature range to Foxtel’s iQ service, but without access to pay TV channels.

Channel Seven countered this by saying TiVo subscribers will have access to approximately 100 web TV channels, but
Foxtel content, product development and delivery executive director, Patrick Delaney, said in the Australian Financial Review that Seven’s 50-100,000 units a year sales goal was unrealistic, partly because of the need for an internet connectiion. 

“The TiVo box is very expensive and there is a hidden cost – that is, the need to get a broadband connection to use its online features. There are also issues around the reliability of the box and the cost of technology upgrades.”