TiVo went on sale yesterday on Taiwan as planned. So far the news on the unit is sparse, but it looks like it is based on the Series2 platform. Actually it looks very much like the original black Series2 boxes, and not the newer silver ‘nightlight’ boxes. The major noticeable difference is that they include an RJ-45 wired Ethernet jack! Gives some hope to a refreshed S2 here in the states. They have a 160GB hard drive and appear to record in wide screen – 720×540 resolution. (US standalone systems record in 480×480 at Best (544×480 in some specific conditions), and DVD units are 720×480.) Unless quality is really sacrificed, the higher resolution would mean less time per GB storage. Otherwise they seem to have the same interfaces as the US SA units, and the peanut remote looks the same.
This post on the Yahoo Finance TiVo message board links to three Taiwanese articles on the new TiVo. I can’t read them (if anyone can do a translation, please do), but this one from CNet Taiwan has pictures of the new box and some screen shots of the new interface. The unit is being sold for the equivalent of roughly US$400 and a one year subscription is roughly US$45. TiVo shifted the hardware/subscription pricing ratio to better suit the Taiwanese market, where higher acquisition costs are accepted but higher subscription fees are unpopular. (Exactly the opposite of what TiVo is finding in the US, interestingly enough – in the US if they drop the price of the box and raise the subscription fee, they get more subscriptions.)
It has been reported that the service is a ‘stripped down’ version of the US service, but it isn’t clear that that means. I don’t know if it means the unit doesn’t have all of the flexibility, such as Season Passes and Wishlists, or perhaps it doesn’t include features like TiVoToGo or Home Media Engine. I’m hoping that, as people buy these, news gets out online. There is also a discussion thread at TiVoCommunity.com.