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678 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 76894 8-Feb-2011 09:20 Send private message

Would this have knock on effects for NZ Tivo owners as far as services and content go?

From The Register Today

TiVo hits pause button in Australia

Staff shed in restructure, Fetch TV a buyer?
By Natalie Apostolou

Just over a week after a much-publicised kick-off in New Zealand, it has emerged TiVo's A/NZ partner Hybrid TV has wound back operations to a skeleton staff. Sources have told The Register an asset sale for the video-on-demand platform could be on the cards.

Robbie Minicola, CEO of TiVo Australia’s licensee Hybrid TV, has confirmed the business restructured in December but would not comment on the details.

According to Reg sources, about 40 staff were shed in the restructuring process, including CTO Brad Wilson and head of corporate affairs Rebecca Blasina. The call centre operations have also been reduced to email-only responses.

Hybrid TV now reportedly has five staff remaining in Australia and New Zealand, putting the future of services to its claimed customer base of 80,000 in question. A spokesperson for the company would not comment on the recent events or the future viability of Hybrid TV.

Industry sources suggest that Hybrid TV is in advanced talks with emerging IPTV provider Fetch TV to offload its assets. Both parties have a ISP mutual partner in iiNet which may be set to benefit from any such consolidation.

The company launched in Australian 2008 and despite a sustained marketing blitz, retail and ISP partnerships, the VOD service has failed to get traction in the Australian market. It is understood that controlling shareholder Seven was unimpressed with the lacklustre take up particularly following a very poor Q4 sales period.

Hybrid TV is majority owned by the Seven Media Group with a 67 per cent stake, and New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ with 33 per cent Hybrid TV has Telecom NZ as its major ISP partner in New Zealand.

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  Reply # 436683 8-Feb-2011 09:37 Send private message

As per my post in another thread, in the New Zealand case we all knew it from the start (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/freitasm/7133). The decision to go with a sales channel restricted to Telecom only instead of normal retail channels was the problem.

Until today people still think they have to have a Telecom broadband plan to use TiVo. This just kills the whole thing for a lot of uninformed people.

Also, no one buys TV stuff at a telephone store. It's crazy talk.




10 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 436691 8-Feb-2011 09:51 Send private message

Dammit! I only got my TiVo just a few weeks ago and thought the device itself is actually not too bad. I'm actually watching more TV lately because of it. I have to agree though, if only they had this thing available also at your usual retail chains they probably would have sold more units by now.



678 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436696 8-Feb-2011 09:57 Send private message

If they do sell, it might be worth their while to invest in effective advertising so that people have their misconceptions corrected.

They could have used the Rugby World Cup as a selling point more if Maori TV would share their EPG data and that channel was in HD as they are showing at least 6 games that are not on either 3 or 1. I am only assuming that 1 & 3 will broadcast in HD.

I still have to explain to people what TiVo is whenever I am asked if I have Sky TV and I say, no I have TiVo Freeview which is more often than not, followed by the question "does it have Sky Movies Sport channels?"



DLS

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  Reply # 436794 8-Feb-2011 13:00 Send private message

Sad day. This is a great product.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436807 8-Feb-2011 13:21 Send private message

It ain't all over till the fat lady sings.
Let's hope someone rescues it and does something good with it. Otherwise I suspect Telecom as resellers will be responsible for refunding all TiVo owners for a product that's not fit for purpose.

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  Reply # 436808 8-Feb-2011 13:24 Send private message

Hope that the EPG still gets updated otherwise it's back to the old VCR program method..




Regards,

Old3eyes



678 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436811 8-Feb-2011 13:27 Send private message

I love mine, just wish the intermittant HDMI signal loss/rediscover issue would go away.

The potential is there for all sorts of things to happen.
I can get web based streaming content on my Blu Ray player & PS3, why not the TiVo.

By now I should be able to order a Pizza through this thing. it's 2011, where's my flying car?

I hope someone sees the potential and decides it is a great platform for something they want to provide.

DLS

73 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 436814 8-Feb-2011 13:35 Send private message

It will be interesting to see what happens if it does go under.  Will it still work, just with no EPG so none of the advanced features??

I will return mine to telecom and ask for a full refund (Note: I am still paying mine off so it doesn't owe me much yet.)  Any consumer guarantees act experts to give advise on this.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436889 8-Feb-2011 17:09 Send private message

 Any consumer guarantees act experts to give advise on this.

I'll be looking for the Force Majeure clause in the contract first. 

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Master Geek


  Reply # 436900 8-Feb-2011 17:37 Send private message

minimoke:
 Any consumer guarantees act experts to give advise on this.

I'll be looking for the Force Majeure clause in the contract first. 
I dont think the floods, cyclones of bush fires in Australia will be the cause for the closure so Force Majeure shouldn't apply.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436921 8-Feb-2011 18:41 Send private message

I got 3 of em. I like them a lot. But Telecom will get them all back if it all fall's over and I have no guide information.

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  Reply # 436943 8-Feb-2011 19:20 Send private message

Promising hardware, hobbled by a poor marketing strategy, silliness around the HNP, and being joined to a paranoid broadcaster that meant good hardware running crippled firmware.

My view is that they should have:

1. Made it available through the mass market retailers, where most people go to buy TV stuff.

2. Promoted it properly - with ads on TVNZ etc , a peoperly informative website (the one they ran with is rubbish), and ensuring the people who sold it were trained and had promotional material. The Telecom store I went into pointed it out to me, had no literature, didn't have the specs, and the sales person couldn't answer basic questions.

3. Not tried to charge a silly sum of extra money to be able to access the boxes drive over your home network, and lock the ability to do so to a particular subnet mask etc.

4. Not deliberately crippled the firmware - eg the box is capable of a 60-second skip for ads, TVNZ made them remove this.

5. Just run with a full EPG. You can't copyright mere facts (TV3 news screens at 6pm etc), and the recent Aussie court ruling supported this. If TVNZ wasn't the owner, with its own silliness in the background, this wouldn't have happened.

6. Allowed HD output over component (like other boxes can do) - more TVNZ driven silliness

7. Run with something a bit more attractive than the dreadful CASPA as a sweetener value ad service.

8. Increased its value by also enabling it to function as a network connected media player, with external USB connectivity etc for downloaded/ripped files, much like the WDTV and Popcorn Hour units.

How they thought that a crippled product, with no visibility or promotion, that didn't have a compelling feature set, with next to no retail channel would sell in bulk is beyond me. I didn't buy because I was worried it would fail, and the product is useless without the EPG and server checks to see if HNP is enabled etc, which disappear if the company folds. When (I think it is when not if) Hybrid folds then it will be an own goal, and TVNZ deserves to lose its investment.

Telecom should be worried. If Hybrid folds and the product no longer works then I suspect they will be looking at an awful lot of returned units under the CGA!

436 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 436946 8-Feb-2011 19:28 Send private message

CJPhoto:
minimoke:
 Any consumer guarantees act experts to give advise on this.

I'll be looking for the Force Majeure clause in the contract first. 
I dont think the floods, cyclones of bush fires in Australia will be the cause for the closure so Force Majeure shouldn't apply.

FM isn't just for acts of god - they can be applied to commercial situations.

But more to the point in telecoms Terms they say "We are not responsible for the TiVo Service or the CASPA™ Service, which are services provided by Hybrid Television Services." 

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  Reply # 436949 8-Feb-2011 19:34 Send private message

And two more things.

1. Their website is pathetic, and should have been tested before it went live. Want extra drive space? Great there is a 1TB drive expander pushed on their website, with a "click here to buy online" button. The button takes you to a list of things that you can buy online - and there is no drive expander listed. Also, the "extensive" support information section and FAQs etc contains almost noting useful.

2. Wireless network adapter is available, for $89. So far so good. Except the Tivo can record HD video, and the wireless adapter is wireless G, not N. I shudder to think how long it would take to transfer, say, a two hour film in HD to a home network (if you had purchased the outrageously priced HNP access key to allow this).

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  Reply # 436951 8-Feb-2011 19:42 Send private message

Lots of great opinions coming out now. Maybe we should all get together, buy the company, and run it properly?

But seriously, I brought mine purely as they were the best, most reliable, and cheapest PVR on the market (apologies to those that paid full price).

I would be happy just to go back to the Freeview EPG rather than no EPG at all. Software patch perhaps or more difficult?

Watch this space I guess...my money is on a new owner and perhaps even better things for TiVo customers. Fingers crossed




Artificial intelligence is no match, for natural stupidity



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