TiVo is coming to Australia – but so what?

TiVo has made the announcement that it’s making its way to Australia next year. But before we all get ahead of ourselves, why is this so exciting?

I know that many in tech land are jumping for joy over the announcement that TiVo is on its way to Australia some time next year. But before we all get ahead of ourselves, why is this so exciting?

Let’s back it up a bit first, TiVo is a box that plugs into the TV aerial allowing you to record television shows. The bit that caught the world’s attention when it launched was the ability to plug in an Internet connection and use the accompanying electronic program guide that came with the unit (via a subscription service) to record programs with ease. However, TiVo launched in the U.S. in 1999 and spread quickly throughout America and the U.K. allowing owners to record free-to-air, satellite and other TV services. It was easy to use, it worked brilliantly and its popularity grew as owners were effortlessly capturing TV programs in digital quality and playing them back whenever they had time to view them. The ability to skip TV commercials was a talking point and a popular feature of TiVo, but more importantly than that TiVo meant you never had to miss your favourite TV show.

Fast forward seven years to now and TiVo has competition that does all its core functions plus more. The Media Center PC (all PCs that sit under your TV, not just PCs that run Windows Media Center edition of Windows) do all that TiVo does, but adds the ability to talk wirelessly with your home PC in its native language, display pictures, play digital music, download and display podcasts and surf the internet. Media Center PCs are also just as up-gradeable and easy to use. Electronic program guides are available through third parties like Ice TV and they are cheaper than the North American subscription price of
$12.95 USD a month. I am sure that one day even Microsoft themselves might look at providing an eft solution for a subscription fee.

So TiVo has competition. The technology solutions TiVo provides are already available in Australia. So let’s look forward to the arrival of TiVo but keep some perspective in that if you want a TiVo experience, go to your local pc vendor and buy one today. Your tv experience will be forever changed in the same way that broadband changed the way we use the Internet.