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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6 Responses to “Low Blow for Kiwi TiVo Owners”

  1. Sad indeed. I use mine all the time in fact it’s my TV tuner as my panel doesn’t have a digital tuner. I do have an old Dish DVR which I’ll run up and see if it works but the Freeview UI is terrible. Hybrid in Ozz really screwed up the TiVo launch in this part of the world. I’m sure lots of people would have been happy to pay a small monthly maintenance fee to keep the EPG live and newer replacements units coming into the local market. Just have a look at the US TiVo website and see the great stuff there. Not interested in getting Sky just for the recorder. Guess it will just be a tuner box end of October until I decide to buy a new TV.

  2. Has anyone here got Apple TV? I can get apps on my TV via my Sony Blu-ray player but they are so darn boring. In fact, I only use Netflix and YouTube so I’m thinking of getting Apple TV, hopefully it includes apps for Lightbox and Amazon Video 🙂

  3. Hi Trevor, I have a ATV 3 which I use for US Netflix and Apple movies. I believe that the Apple TV 4 can also get some NZ on-demand apps as well. For Amazon you will need the Amazon FireTV stick or box. No Amazon video on ATV (Big competitor :-))

  4. Sad news but the fact is mine hasn’t been used much in the last two years since I replaced my duff one. Hybrid’s customer service has been appalling; twice I requested a replacement, twice I got a “refurb” that was dead in the box! Eventually found a brand new one on trademe for about $100.
    by then there was nothing worth recording off FTA. Now there are better sources of TV material, in much better quality than you can get from Freeview.

  5. Thanks for the replies Paul and thx1138, I think I will get it, I notice Lightbox are on there amongst many others, the Sony one I have got with my Blu-ray player is hopeless for apps in fact I notice they are taking some off at the end of the month 🙂

  6. So far I really love having Apple TV, it’s REALLY good with Netflix as it starts right away and in HD as before for me it would take a few seconds to start and would stream up to HD, it’s also wonderful having Lightbox 🙂

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