TiVo coming to Australia -- without subscription fees

Foxtel’s newest rival to be fee-free

The Seven Media Group is set to launch the Australian version of the TiVo digital television recorder in July, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report today. There will be no monthly subscription fee for the online-enabled, high-speed service.

The TiVo will be a rival to Foxtel's iQ service, which has a subscription fee. Foxtel plans to release its upgraded iQ2 box during June. It will have the ability to watch and record the network's programming in high definition.

Originally launched in the late 1990s, in the US the TiVo has a $US13 per month subscription fee, which includes access to a program guide with a fortnight's advance data.

The Australian TiVo will have the ability access a program guide, record and playback television, and access TiVo's online partners for interactive content.

According to the SMH, Seven network sales director James Warburton could not confirm a launch date for the TiVo but said the service was "in its final stages". Previous reports indicated that Seven hoped to release the recorder before the Beijing Olympic Games in August. Television networks Nine and Ten have signed agreements with Seven to include their program guide data in the TiVo's online functionality.

Wireless broadband provider Unwired, owned by the Seven Media Group, is completing negotiations with six separate retailers to stock the TiVo.

The TiVo service currently offered in the US provides on-demand movie, television and music downloads, as well as photo sharing and access to online social networking sites. It was the product's recommendation system that first brought it into the limelight several years ago, with users given suggestions on new television shows based on their previous viewing habits.

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Campbell Simpson

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