With new services, TiVo's now 'not a video recorder'

With a variety of new features such as pizza ordering and online photo services on the way, TiVo would like to now be thought of as a central media hub.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read
Do you want to put a central media hub under your Christmas tree?

For almost ten years, the name TiVo has been synonymous with digitally recording television the United States, and yet Australian TiVo representatives no longer want you to think of their product as a video recorder.

With a variety of new TiVo services on the way, they would like you to think of it as a central media hub, thank you very much.

Despite its relatively short tenure in this country, Hybrid TV, the distributors of TiVo in Australia, relaunched the device at an event in Sydney today with a raft of new features including pizza ordering, online photo services and "catch-up" TV downloads.

"TiVo is a media device, not a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). DVRs as a category peaked in 2006, and it's now dying," said Hybrid TV CEO Robbee Minicola. "TiVo doesn't want to be thought of as a PVR or DVR."

She then proceeded to announce a raft of new services planned for 2009 to back up this claim including:

  • the ability to order Dominos pizzas through TiVo
  • a Home Networking Package, including TiVoToGo which will be available for "under AU$100"
  • streamed Nova and Vega radio content through an alliance with DMG Radio (from Q1)
  • PixelEyes, a service that allows users to view photos on their TV through TiVo after they have uploaded them online at either Picasa or Photobucket
  • daily updated horoscopes
  • a World Clock to set national and international time zones

Minicola also claimed success with several other recently launched features, such as the Sunrise Weather updates. Since launching on October 22, they are now used by 73 per cent of users every week. In addition, Minicola said the free Blockbuster Movie of the Week trial which started two days ago on December 1 had already been used by 25 per cent of users.

The company plans to expand the service next year with ad-supported "free" movies in addition to paid VOD downloads and is in talks with ISPs about including them in unmetered content.

Minicola said she saw TiVo as an inclusive device that brought the family together through new features such as games and the upcoming ability to catch up on programs they've missed.

"Our absolute goal in 2009 is television via broadband. Catch-up TV is a critical thing for us," Minicola said.

Luring away pay TV customers was the next step: "We need to assuage the thirty per cent of consumers mindlessly paying for channels they simply do not watch," she stated.

Minicola said though other vendors had tried bundling services together before, none of them have had the push of the TiVo brand. "We're not saying it's special, we're saying it's bloody convenient," she concluded.