By Chris Nicholls

LOS ANGELES: TiVo is set to get a very heavy advertising push here from August 21 and Channel Seven won’t even have to pay a cent.

The much-debated digital video recorder is a key element in the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy, Tropic Thunder, set to be released next month, to the point where many key plot developments rely on its existence.

In the film, Ben Stiller plays a famous actor down on his luck, working on a movie set in the Vietnam War.

As part of his contract, he is entitled to receive a TiVo unit wherever he travels, and much of the film revolves around his inability to get one on the set of his new film.

Every phone conversation between Ben Stiller’s character, Tug Speedman, and his agent, played by Matthew McConaughey, includes a question from McConaughey as to whether Stiller has received his TiVo or not. 

One of the key developments in the film also occurs only when McConaughey tries to find out from the film’s producer why Stiller’s character has not received his TiVo.

To cement its position in audience’s minds, TiVo is also a key part of the film’s climactic scene.

Such heavy brand placement may seem out of place when viewed in isolation, but has a cultural context in the US, where TiVo is so dominant in the DVR space that it has become a verb, much like Google.

Regardless, the film’s local release on 21 August (it is due out in the US on 13 August) is sure to put TiVo into Australian audiences’ faces only a month after the device’s launch.