Australian TiVo fans have been waiting for announcements from Hybrid TV for quite some time, especially after a scare when it looked like local operations might fold. The TiVo is reliant on a custom EPG which it downloads from the internet, without which it becomes an expensive paperweight.
Before anyone gets excited about the new TiVo XL, it's important to read the fine print. This so-called new TiVo is a 'limited edition' because it's actually an old model that TiVo doesn't even sell in the US anymore. Don't be confused by the 'XL' tag, this is not a new-generation Series 4 TiVo such as the Premiere XL. The new TiVo XL is exactly the same Series 3 TiVo that we've had in Australia since 2008, just with a bigger hard drive.
When I complained about this to Hybrid TV, I was told; 'Series 4 requires significant investment to create for this market and with the Australian population there is no Return On Investment'. That's not much consolation to Australians who invested in a TiVo on the assumption that the service would continue to improve. Instead Australians are expected to cough up a hefty $699 for what is basically a discontinued model. Meanwhile Australian competitors such as Fetch TV and T-Box, not to mention local hardware makers such as Strong, offer better value and continue to add new features because they're selling Personal Video Recorders designed for an Australian market.
The TiVo copped a lot of flak when it first launched in Australia, due to the high price, small hard drive and lack of ad-skipping. I was one of the few reviewers who actually defended it, because its core PVR features are some of the best on the market. They still are, but the Australian TiVo is stuck in a time warp. For a few months we didn't hear a peep out of Hybrid TV and there were rumours that the TiVo might even lose EPG support. Off the record I was continually assured that big things were on the horizon, but they never materialised. CONTINUED