The much loved US-based DVR TiVo has had a rocky relationship down under, but looks like it has finally come to a close. TiVo units are no longer being sold online via TiVo’s website or listed on either of their retailer websites, Harvey Norman or Joyce Mayne.
While TiVo in the US has been the benchmark for DVRs, it never really took hold in the Australian market. Personally I own and love a TiVo, but like many have complained that the Australian licensees of the TiVo brand, Hybrid Television Services, have failed to keep pace with the US version.
Australians, only ever got TiVo Series 3 and minor hard drive size increases since launching here in 2008. During the same time, US consumers got TiVo Premiere (series 4) with a faster, flash-based interface, as well as compatibility with mobile applications. Additional online services like YouTube, Pandora and Podcasts were also absent from the Aussie version.
As sales numbers dwindled, so did the number of employees in the company and support is basically non-existent at this point. This seems to be massive failing on the part of Hybrid TV Services given they were unable to secure any bundling deals with television manufacturers.
Enquiries to a local Harvey Norman store confirmed that the product is longer being sold there and actually hasn’t been for the past two months. This news arrives despite no official confirmation on TiVo’s website and the TiVo Australia website still listing the two retail outlets as the place to purchase from.
Time to look for alternatives for your DVR needs, unfortunately most require a paid IceTV subscription.
A quick check of TiVo Australia’s social accounts and it confirms the lights are out at TiVo. The last post on Facebook was on August 14, while the last post on Twitter was on the November 11th last year. It’s time for TiVo Australia to come clean on this shut down, there’s a lot of concerned customers wondering how long the guide and CASPA servers will be up.
This post quickly made it’s way to Whirlpool Forums, and forum user Brad posted a reply from TiVo Support. The official company line is “We can assure you that Hybrid TV – the licensee of TiVo in Australia and New Zealand – it’s business as usual!” I decided to call bullshit on that and did some investigating. I picked 6 random Harvey Norman stores from around the country and decided to cold call them, enquiring about TiVo availability.
Below are the results from each call.
FYSHWICK – None for last 3-4 months
BATEMANS BAY – 2 in-stock (1TB $580), unsure about future stock
BONDI JUNCTION – None. (Not sure if they are getting any more stock, suggested they may be changing distributors)
CAMPBELLTOWN SUPERSTORE – None, ordered in 28/8, still waiting. Commented that they never really sold many and customer service / returning them was a nightmare.
MARTIN PLACE – None. No chance at getting any more. A couple of months ago, they stopped being imported and dropped off the system. No reason provided to Harvey Norman.
QUEEN STREET MALL, BRISBANE – None for 3 months. TiVo have stopped bringing them into the country. Expects it was due to poor sales and increase in competition. Also referred to customer complaints about poor email-only support.
I could have kept calling, but you this is now crystal clear, there is no doubt, TiVo is dead in Australia. Hybrid TV are now past being disingenuous and are lying to consumers. Please share this post and make sure none of your friends and family purchase an end-of-life device without knowing it.