To Tivo OR Not To Tivo – That will be the question this July

The SMH reports today that a source inside Channel 7 has confirmed that Tivo will be released in July. The original vibe I received was that Tivo would be released in time for the Olympics so that Aussies could run out with their credit cards and not miss a moment of the Olympics’ coverage. Great plan, but in reality I doubt that a couple of weeks is enough time for the bulk of us to get Tivo in our houses for the event.

So the Tivo is arriving late, but what are the pros and cons of Tivo? Exactly how successful has Tivo been in countries where it has been on sale for some time?

In existence for just over ten years, Tivo as a company makes Personal Video Recorders (PVRs). They’re most well known in the USA, although they have had units sold in other countries such as Great Britain (although they are no longer sold there any more). In the U.S. Tivo is used for recording cable, free to air and satellite TV services. I was really impressed when staying at a hotel in New York once and the in-room TV had Tivo. Not only could I record shows when I was at meetings, I was able to record shows in a subject of interest. I asked it to record all NFL games, and it did that over the next three days that I was there. Every time I wanted to watch TV I was able to click a couple of buttons and watch NFL games, discussion panels, highlight shows and more.

The market share success of Tivo in the US PVR market has been said to be about 30 to 40%. It’s been argued this would be higher except that subscription fees need to be paid each month otherwise the electronic program guide does not work and the Tivo is unable to receive other online content assistance.

Landing in Australia again and Tivo (we’re told by Asher) will launch with a sale price of about $700. Um, are you serious $700! But wait, there is no monthly subscription fee attached and once you buy it, you own it forever.

I still need some convincing on Tivo. I have a media center pc, I hardly ever use it for recording TV, apart from watching back my Today Show segments. I prefer to just flick the TV on and watch a couple of shows when they are on and when nothing else is on I find something else to do. That said Tivo is easier to use and faster to schedule your TV shows

Will Tivo change Australia’s pattern of watching TV? In my opinion, not this year and not for while.