Australians Can Now Rent A TiVo

TiVo launched in Australia with a AUD$699 price tag and no subscription fees, and it has been doing OK base on past reports. But perhaps not well enough to satisfy Seven Network. Smarthouse reports that Hybrid Media Services, which was setup by Seven to handle TiVo in Australia launched a new TiVo offer. Under the new offer, called Flexirent, users are able to rent a TiVo for AUD$37.58/month over a three year period or AUD$48.22/month with a two year commitment. That would add up to AUD$1,352.88, or AUD$1,157.28, over the terms of the agreements. Conversely, it would eliminate the up-front cost, which may appeal to some users.

For users interesting in owning their TiVo outright, but for whom the AUD$699 cost is too much to swallow in one go, a 10-payment plan is also offered. AUD$69.90 a month for 10 months covers the cost of the TiVo.

The up-front, no fees and retail options remains for user who prefer that option.

Foxtel’s General Manager Box Office, New Media and Pay-Per-View, Brenden Moo responded by saying“I was under the impression that TiVo were not going to offer a subscription service their new Flexirent offering smacks of a disguised subscription fee”. That is one way to look at it, but he may be concerned as Foxtel’s pay-TV service subscription costs from AUD$37.95 up to AUD$105.95 depending on the package, and their iQ2 HD DVR is an additional AUD$200 up-front. So a TiVo subscription package priced about the same as their low-end offer with no up-front fee could provide some strong competition.

There’s another interesting tidbit on the TiVo Australia website, while they’re using MPEG-2 today for movie downloads, by March 2009 they plan to use MPEG-4 to reduce bandwidth usage and speed up downloads. Since other announcements for Australia have later appeared in the US it makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing MPEG-4 movie downloads in the US soon.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • unixbigot

    Flexirent isn’t renting. It’s a brand name for a lease-like finance contract. A bunch of chain-stores (eg Harvey Norman) use flexirent as their ‘store card’ for people who want to buy electronics or appliances on credit.

    Essentially you’re signing up for a 3 year lease at 30% interest. You might get to buy the corpse for $100 residual at the end if you’re lucky.

  • MegaZone

    They refer to it as renting on the website, so that’s what I was going with. I think we have similar arrangements in the US, and companies that specialize in that kind of thing – like Rent-A-Center. It would be nice to know what happens at the end of the 2- or 3-year term.

  • unixbigot

    Yeah, we have a long-established outfit here (how old? They’re called “Radio Rentals”) which appears similar.

    As for FlexiRent, it looks like they (eg. eschew the usual ‘residual buy out’ in favour of end-of-lease sweeteners like “upgrade and save three months payment” or a “double time offer” (pay one extra month and keep the item free for another 1-3 yrs). Keeping the customer coming back for new swag every 3 yrs appears to be the game here.

    The actual FlexiRent Capital website isn’t talking to me today…