We’ve never had Foxtel.
I could never see the point.
Why pay all that money and still have to sit through bloody commercials?
Forgive me for being naive but I thought the idea was to stump up the money so you could see your content commercial free?
Anyway, not being big sport fans, we’ve always found plenty to watch on the free to air channels.
Having said that, we don’t actually watch much stuff in real time, preferring instead to record and watch shows later (not to mention skip the ads).
Our go to machine for recording over the past 10 years has been the Tivo digital video recorder.
Ironically Tivo is the best device that Apple never made, with one of the easiest to use interfaces in the business – so easy your grandad could use it.
With twin tuners it records shows in high definition to a hard drive and comes with features like “Season Pass” that records every new episode of a series, along with “WishList” searches that allow users to find and record shows that match their interests by title, actor, director, category, or keyword.
Granted our Tivo came with a measly 160Gb hard drive.
But you could easily bump up the capacity with an external drive, or crack it open and install a larger internal drive like I did.
Our brand new Tivo hadn’t seen a power point before I’d got out the screwdriver and swapped the original drive for a new, 1Tb AV drive.
Doing so must have voided the warranty but thankfully we never needed it.
The Tivo is also an interactive device in so far as it can automatically record programs based on your likes and dislikes, as nominated by the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons on the remote.
If you have two or more Tivos you can even record a show on one and watch it on the other.
That was then this is now.
Sadly, the Tivo service is being shut down at the end of this month and a devastated Tivo community is being forced to move on, with a $100 carrot to entice users to swap to a Fetch Mighty – discounted to $299.
After October 31 the Tivo will no longer work as designed, because it will no longer have access to the in-house electronic television guide that makes the whole thing possible.
That, dear readers, stinks. After almost a decade of service, we here at Hybrid Television Services are sad to report that we have reached the end of our TiVo license and the TiVo Service is coming to an end in Australia on 31 October 2017.
The thing is, when we bought into the Tivo at a cost of $699 it was supposed to come with lifetime support.
Whose lifetime I’m not sure, because I’m still very much alive and would really like to continue to receive the service.
A small group of devotees are trying to modify the device to keep it going.
You can read about their exploits on the Whirlpool forums, but as we went to print they had not succeeded and the 31st is fast approaching.
Overseas the Tivo continues to work and prosper, but even if you bought one online it wouldn’t work here.
It’s not surprising then that in signing up for the Fetch discount through the Harvey Norman stores, you’re required to hand over your Tivo and sign away any rights you may still have to the service.
The device was pioneered in 1997 by TiVo Inc. in the USA.
Channel 7 subsidiary Hybrid Television Services owns the rights to TiVo products in Australia and it is these rights that are due to expire on October 31.
Former Seven network Client Services & Research director, Robbee Minicola, was initially appointed to run the company.
Minicola boldly promised that through blending digital television with broadband content and services it would be able to provide Australians with a unique experience.
“The fight for penetration isn’t about volume – the fight is about content, services and a better user experience. With the TiVo media device – we can fight, and win, on all battlefields,” she said.
Despite repeated attempts to get users to pay for movies, initially through its own in-house Caspa streaming service, and later Blockbuster and Quickflix – this part of the business failed to fire.
The press releases dried up in 2011 and Minicola departed the scene around the same time, after a disappointing year, that saw poor sales, customer complaints and staff layoffs.
You might say the writing was on the wall after the Tivo from sale in 2013.
Proliferation of faster broadband and the rise of streaming services such as the cheap as chips Netflix probably had a lot to do with its demise.
In the UK users were given a 10-year stay of execution, but that’s not likely to happen here.
Reluctantly, with no obvious alternatives, we’ve decided to accept the Fetch Mighty offer.
We’re just waiting to take delivery.
I’ll let you know how we make out.