Samsung, Foxtel fight Tivo's entry into PVR market

A battle of the titans

A battle of the titans is about to unfold between the Seven Network and Foxtel in the personal video recorder (PVR) market with the impending launch of the TiVo PVR in the Australian market by Seven.

Foxtel has announced a partnership with Samsung to offer buyers of the company's series 5 and 6 high-definition (HD) LCD televisions a choice of either a free Foxtel HD+ service for three months or a Samsung BD1500 Blu-ray player.

Existing Foxtel subscribers who purchase a 40in series 5 or 6 Samsung high-definition LCD TV in July will be offered a free Foxtel HD+ upgrade and three months of the Foxtel HD complete package, and will have the Foxtel iQ2 service fee waived. New Foxtel subscribers who sign up for 24 months and purchase one of the select TVs will also receive free Foxtel iQ2 installation.

In August, the promotion will be changed: purchasers of a 46in Samsung LCD Series 5 or 6 TV will be eligible for the same Foxtel HD+ offer but not a free Blu-ray player.

Samsung's director of marketing Kurt Jovais said the decision to form a strategic partnership with Foxtel is about giving its customers more choice. "Customers know what they want and this promotion is about listening to those demands", said Jovais.

According to Foxtel's executive director Patrick Delany, the joint promotion represents "the start of a significant strategic alliance between Foxtel and Samsung to life the bar in awareness of HD television".

Foxtel is the only player in the Australian PVR market that supports the capture of digital pay TV and incorporates a real electronic programming guide. Foxtel has a subscriber base of more than 1.5 million customers.

For the last decade, TiVo has been the de-facto standard for PVRs in the US, and its Australian launch has been highly anticipated. At its core, it records digital TV broadcasts and saves them for later viewing, just like any regular PVR. What made TiVo stand out from the crowd of other PVRs was its ability to suggest — and automatically record — shows that were similar to the ones that the user had already flagged.

Harvey Norman will get first dibs on the Australian distribution of TiVo when Seven launches it on 29 July exclusively through the retailer's stores.

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Julie Shingleton

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