Low Blow for Kiwi TiVo Owners


Today’s announcement that the TiVo’s Australasian service would end in October was inevitable but Kiwis are getting a raw deal compared to Australians.

Whereas Aussie customers at least are being offered $100 “swap out” with a Fetch TV PVR, no such exit strategy is available for New Zealanders.

It’s ironic that such an iconic brand should fail in this market when TiVo was at the forefront of the PVR revolution in the US.

But the launch was botched both here and across the Tasman, the technology was never updated to match the improvements in the US service, and the rise of streaming and catch-up services, from TVNZ On-Demand and Freeview | Plus to Lightbox and Netflix, has increasingly made a dedicated free-to-air recorder in many homes redundant — especially if these households subscribe to Sky’s MySky service.

There’s also been a leap in alternatives, from Smart TVs that allow limited USB hard drive recording to Freeview | HD recorders and Panasonic’s powerhouse PVRs with much greater recording capacities.

Even so, I’ll miss my TiVo. Over the last couple of years it’s suffered more bugs than it should but nothing that rebooting didn’t fix and, unlike Sky’s rival, the hard drive never crashed.

It was also way ahead of Sky’s and other devices with its sophistication, ease of use, and the ability to series stack and retrieve accidentally deleted recordings.

It would have softened the blow had Hybrid Television Services, which licensed the technology here, at least offered a swap out deal to Kiwis but perhaps an enterprising retailer will use the countdown to October 31 to entice TiVo owners to switch to a shinier new machine — although that’s probably a long shot given Noel Leeming, for instance, hasn’t sold a TiVo unit since 2012!

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