While TiVo may not be available to Australian consumers until July 29th, Australian tech site iTWire got some hands-on time with one today and liked what they saw. The author saying “it lives up to my high expectations.” As he put it:
The Australian TiVo offers the four vital features that almost every other PVR on the Australian market lack – a proper Electronic Program Guide, a “Season Pass” feature, intelligent storage management and a generous margin for error when it comes to scheduling recordings.
He seems to have laid to rest the unsubstantiated rumor that the Australian TiVo would somehow block ad skipping by saying it has fast-forward, but not a 30-second skip. However, he doesn’t clarify if he tried the SPS30S 30-second skip backdoor that US TiVo units have, or was just referring to the fact it isn’t a standard feature. I suspect the latter. He also answers a question I had about the eSATA port by saying it is not currently active and will be activated in a future firmware update.
Australian TV networks are worse than US networks when it comes to sticking with a published schedule. They regularly start early and run late, which will make TiVo’s padding abilities useful. But it sounds like TiVo has a special trick up its sleeve for Australia. According to iTWire it will automatically pad recordings by 10 minutes during prime time – ending recording 10 minutes after the scheduled program end (the time is adjustable). And recordings of live programs are automatically extended by an hour, which sounds like a nice improvement on the reminder message US units received in a recent update. This sounds just like the ‘soft padding’ that has been oft requested in the US, and I hope we see this development re-imported back to the states. I do kind of presume it only auto-pads recordings when the tuner is free and nothing else is scheduled to record, of course.
All in all it was a very positive review, good news for TiVo’s prospects down under.