Well, this is a good news, bad news situation. According to iTWire, the Australian TiVo due for release in early 2008 will be based on the TiVo HD recently released in the US. No big surprise there, I was expecting that the TiVo HD would be the reference platform for any new boxes developed in the immediate future. However, there is also this:
Australians won’t enjoy the ad-skipping features found in US TiVo, confirms Phil Dobbie – chief marketing officer of engin, an Australian consumer VoIP provider part owned by the Seven television network. Seven will sell TiVo in Australia next year through engin, to be available before the Beijing Olympics in August.
“Australians will be able to fast forward through ads, but not totally skip. It will be a fast scan – you should be able to get through an ad break in 30 seconds,” Dobbie says.
Now, I’m not sure exactly what they mean. The US TiVos don’t have any real ‘ad-skipping features’. The closest thing I can think of is the not-so-secret 30-second skip back-door code. Other than that, US users simply have fast-forward – as apparently the Australians will have. So this could mean that the Australian software will disable the 30-second skip back-door – or it might just be meaningless hot air referring to non-existent ‘ad-skipping features’. Though I tend to think it means the former.
They do confirm that the Australian units, like the US model, will be able to use a WiFi adapter for broadband connectivity, in addition to the built-in Ethernet port. Unlike the US model, the Australian model will not work with cable television – just DVB-T broadcasts. Seven is “still wavering” on the size of the hard drive. (The US TiVo HD has 160GB.) Just as US units can have recordings scheduled from TiVo.com and Yahoo! TV, the Australian units will support scheduling recordings from TiVo.com.au and Yahoo! Australia. Australian pricing has yet to be finalized, according to Dobbie:
“I think economies of scale mean it will probably be a little bit higher here, but we’ll look at the market when we launch. It isn’t the intention that it will be priced at a premium, we do intend that it will be comparable with other PVRs.”
Good news on the whole.