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TiVo: for almost a grand, you can feel the love

The TiVo Device and wireless adapter will sell for $920 when the service launches in November. Telecom shops will sell the device, the cost which can be added to Telecom bills for a down payment of $200 and then $30 per month.

To get the most out of it, users will need a Telecom wireless broadband connection, preferably ADSL2+. Users of other ISPs won’t be able to access the full range of available content but, according to TiVo boss Robbee Minicola, will get, “Freeview on steroids.”

Users will have the ability to pause and rewind programmes, set the Season Pass? feature to record every episode in a series – even if the network shuffles the programme off to a different slot – and use the KidZone feature to stop the kids from accessing age-inappropriate content.

The best news in yesterday’s announcement is for Telecom Broadband customers. They will be able to download TiVo content and watch ppv content without it affecting their data cap.

Hybrid TV, the Australasian licensee for TiVo, intends to source ad-supported/ppv television content, games and ppv movie on demand (MOD) content directly from digital rights owners such as studios, rather than dealing through content aggregators.

The TiVo technology is ‘intelligent’, actively assessing network capability, so downloaded movies or games will buffer before commencing. TiVo is designed to buffer enough data that programmes won’t ‘stutter’ – the stop/start internet users often experience when watching, say, YouTube streaming videos.

A Telecom spokesperson said that, based on the modelling they’ve done, buffering would take between a few seconds (for those very close to an exchange with a very fast connection) and ten minutes. Plenty of time to pop the corn before the movie starts, then.

As TiVo receives signals through a UHF aerial, people who currently use Freeview because they have no available terrestrial signal won’t be able to use the service. TiVo receives the HD signals for TVOne, TV2 and TV3, but users will need an HDMI cable (not included for your $920).

How much future viewing you’ll be able to record and salt away is not yet clear, as Hybrid has yet to announce the hard-drive (HDD) size for the unit. Australian devices come with a 160GB HDD.

Some content is able to can be shared between devices, allowing users to shift it to computers and mobiles, but ppv content will be supplied on a licence or rental basis, not transferable to other devices and unable to viewed more than once.

TVNZ owns a 33% stake in Hybrid TV, the majority shareholding being held by Australia’s Seven Network.

The mytivo website splashscreen says, “Get ready to feel the TiVo love.” At over $900, early adopters will be expecting quite a lot of love this Christmas.

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