Unfortunately we are vulnerable to this happening to any software which is not open source.
I seems lmost all these smart type devices being sold these days that need a remote connection are proprietary. Potentially apple devices are the same, but they don't remove essential features that will render a device useless, just because it has reached a certain age.
In this case it appears Hybrid always only a 10 year license to provide Tivo to Australia, and by the time they sold it in NZ, it was down to 7-8 years remaining. So IMO they should have stamped on the box that the box expired in 2017, so buyer knew that it had a time limited life to it. I would have thought that would have been required under NZ laws? In normal cases you would expect the parent company who owns the license to step in after the license expires, but Tivo US don't appear to be wanting to do that.
One that caught me, was Sony (and I understand Panasonic may also have been affected) with a YouTube TV app that stopped working.
YouTube had updated its TV app. That update rendered my TV YouTube playback redundant.
So the App that shows on my Sony won't play and Sony won't update the software - so it's no YouTube and buy another Sony TV (and Blu-Ray player - both were affected by the YouTube update).
The size of the company is no guarantee of ongoing service supply.
Apple TV has also removed a bunch of Apps from the ATV3.
Any new TV I buy in future will NOT be a smart TV due to the updating merry go round that leaves the end user high and dry..just like TIVO.
I had the same problem with my sony TV. Although that was slightly different, because the removal of youtube didn't render the TV useless . Sure someone may have purchased it mainly for youtube, but they could resolve that by just buying a chromecast to plug into it. The other thing is that Youtube is third party so in some ways sony doesn't have that much control over what youtube does. But it still isn't a good look for Sony, beucase I presume they could have had a downloadable update for it so it worked with the new API. Infact they have now removed other smart features since then, I don't think the facebook or twitter apps work any longer either. But I would like to see a warning placed on all these types of smart devices, warning that the service may end, and the ramifications, so consumers are aware and have some protection
Tivo is totally different , in that it is it's own proprietary system, and the removal of the EPG and genie etc, render the device next to useless. Tivo therefore has complete control over this. I think it is highly unusual for a company to issue a license to a third party for the running of a lifetime service, that should have lasted the life of the box (Hybrid Australias own words on their youtube channel), but then leave those customers without a provider when the license ends. As they are both overseas companies, I am guessing they don't need to abide by NZs consumer laws? I am guessing Australia's consumer laws at the time they were selling tivos wasn't up to the same levels as NZ consumer laws are. But why doesn't tivo just give someone the license to continue, because it is not going to cost TiVo any money in lost revenue, as they are no longer in the NZ market. So that is why as Greg posted above, people have no real option but to go back to the retailer, if Tivo overseas is just going to fob off kiwi customers about the problem. I guess the more people that complain to both the retailers, and Hybrid directly, the more likely they may do something about it. Especially if it is going to end up costing them money.