Sticking point for TiVo

BY TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 07:07 18/08/2009
Tivo
Fairfax Media
LOOSE ENDS: TIVO will go on sale in New Zealand in the first week of November, despite loose ends over the inclusion of Prime and TV3.

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TIVO will go on sale in New Zealand in the first week of November, despite loose ends over the inclusion of Prime and TV3.

The hi-tech personal video recorder will let viewers watch Freeview's free-to-air service, FreeviewHD, and download programmes and access services over the internet.

Sky Television removed one hindrance this week, agreeing to broadcast Prime on Freeview. That means TiVo will be able to receive all the major free-to-air channels.

But Sky TV and fellow broadcaster MediaWorks could still stymie TiVo's appeal by refusing permission for Prime, TV3 and C4 programming information to be listed in TiVo's electronic programming guide (EPG).

TiVo will let viewers select and record programmes that are listed in the EPG.

Sky chief executive John Fellet said Sky had agreed to provide Prime's listings to Freeview for its EPG, but there was no similar deal with TiVo's Australian and New Zealand rights holder, Hybrid Television Services.

Hybrid chief executive Robbee Minicola said Prime's inclusion on Freeview was "fantastic".

Negotiations with MediaWorks and Sky TV over the EPG data were confidential. It would be "really sad" if their programmes were not listed, she said.

"I don't see any reason why Prime would not want to be in our EPG. If people don't know what's on Prime, they are not going to watch it . . . There is no 'war'. Let the best service, for the right home, win."

Some internet-enabled services, likely to include downloadable films, would be available at TiVo's launch, Ms Minicola said.

Hybrid was still negotiating with retailers over TiVo's distribution, and with internet providers.

Television New Zealand bought a one-third stake in Hybrid for A$8 million (NZ$9.8m) in March.

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- The Dominion Post

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