Tuesday, October 28, 2008

╠Insight - Tivo, Do people really just hate ads?╣

As some of you may know I work part time at Dick Smith in order to fund part of my university lifestyle. Today I made it to work and we had a video about Tivo set up. For those of you who don't know what Tivo is, you obviously haven't seen enough american TV shows. It's basically a high powered hard drive recorder. The current Aus model has 2 HD tuners built in and is basically built in order for you to pick a show you like and then Tivo records it for you. Tivo has access to guides so it can actually make sure that it tapes your show even if it is shifted to a different day. Handy yes, worth $700...well that's questionable.

The thing about the American Tivo that made it so successful as far as I've heard is its ability to cut out the ads. Meaning if you select a season pass to a show, by the time the final show airs on TV you basically have a bluray quality series of that show, much higher quality than those DVD series that we can pay large amounts for or if movies are more your thing then boom, it's yours as soon as it airs ad free. So from this you have a shot at two very large markets, television advertising and DVD sales.

The interesting thing about Australian Tivo is that it lacks this ad skipping feature due to our laws regarding advertising. Without this it is still a very smart and powerful box...however this all should lead to an interesting point now because it now will demonstrate just the value people put on simply avoiding the ads on TV. Tivo took over America, every 'average' american TV family has one. Now ten years after its introduction to Australia will we see the same thing, or does this ad skipping feature simply make Tivo fade into obscurity in the Hard Drive recorder market?

After seeing the ad rerun many times at work this morning I was almost dead set on getting one until I realized the ad skipping feature wasn't included, so I have a personal interest in seeing just how big a factor this feature is to Australia as a whole.


Peter Wagstaff said...

I agree - Aussie TiVo is nothing more than a branded PVR. Give me the same thing without the TiVo brand from Strathfield for $150 any day!

Such a pity that the commercial networks have so much power - do they realise it will eventually lead to their downfall if they don't give customers what they really want?

Zac Martin said...

I'm with you both on this one.

Ten years ago people weren't downloading shows from the Internet so they could watch them when they wanted, how they wanted and commercial free.

Launching a product like this, today, is almost pointless and a temporary fix at best.

Jono Sumner said...

The main benefit of TiVo in today's society is that it will recommend similar shows that you may also like. Say you watch an episode of Family Guy and and Episode of the Simpsons, it will record and suggest you watch say... Futurama or South Park. It analysis your viewing habbits and suggests other similar viewing, a very useful feature in America where a large portion of the population have some sort of cable TV. It means instead of having to browse through 90 stations of TV and know whats on everything, this box will fix all that for you.
TiVo itself doesn't skip ads... it allows you to fast forward through ads, as do most previous Australian PVR's. Upon entering a 'secret' code, you can skip 30 second intervals in the TV ads... but you can't just press a button and have it take you to the beginning of the next segment of the show. Even in America they don't advertise this feature and a code is needed to unlock it, whether or not a code can unlock the Australian version is unbeknown to me, but you can still definitely fast forward through the adds on prerecorded programs.
I still don't think its worth $700 in an Australian market and I think in time it will come down. It has to in order to sell.
But for a recorder with an ibuilt detailed TV guide, recommended viewing, 2 HD tuners, and a relative sized hard drive. You are of course, paying partially for branding; but all in all, its not really that poor a concept.

madberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madberg said...

Actually, the American TiVos don't really skip ads by default, they just allow users to with the remote. In fact, as far as I know, the Australian TiVos can use the 30 second skip just like American TiVos:

TiVo 30 second skip

Beyond that, I really think most people praise TiVo here for the time-shifting qualities. That allows all of us to have lives independent of TV schedules. You watch what you want, when you want to, not necessarily when it airs.

Edit: Sorry - didn't get that link right . . .

Tannie said...

I think Tivo is basing itself on that ability to watch whatever you want whenever you want too much, because it's not actually a new thing. I got a hard drive recorder a few years ago which basically does the same thing. I come home from Uni and find that all the shows I like from the previous day have been recorded and can now be watched.

So this thing that Tivo is basing itself on isn't new technology. The only real benefit is in the time saving manner that Tivo finds the shows for you as opposed to you finding them. Which I admit is a good improvement, however an ability I suspect in most peoples minds not to be worth almost double what mine cost years ago.

The 30 second skip is also something that isn't new. I'm not sure if it's y current player that has it or it was a previous video or dvd recorder but it had a 30 second skip without the need to enter any secret codes.

The ad calls Tivo the biggest revolution since TV itself. At most it is simply a fancy box with market leading features, it is in no way a revolution at its current stage.

Zac Martin said...

I'm not sure where I heard this, but apparently at some point people were showing certain types of commercials that appeared to play at a normal speed when fast forwarded with Tivo.

Fun facts, f f fun fun facts!