TVNZ and TiVo announced today that Telecom is their exclusive broadband partner for the service. Launching in November this year, TiVo has expanded from being a digital video recording device to offering movies and TV programmes to rent, according to Robbee Minicola, CEO of official licensee Hybrid TV.
Programmes and movies will be in full 1080p high-definition video, Minicola says.
Customers are expected to buy a TiVo box outright at $899 for the standard model, or $920 for a device with wireless capabilities that lets you share content on home PCs. Telecom customers also get an option with a $200 down payment and monthly instalments of $30 over two years, on their phone bills.
No subscription services apply to the TiVO service that features TVNZ digital Freeview free-to-air material and Prime Television.
The TiVo boxes can be purchased over the internet at Telecom’s website, or in Telecom Retail shops and can be ordered via the phone. Only Telecom broadband customers get the full service with broadband-delivered pay-per-view content and future services, Minicola says. Non-Telecom broadband customers have access to the fourteen-day electronic programming guide and the TiVo recording features, as well as free-to-air Freeview channels, but not the pay-per-view content. She adds that overseas TiVo boxes won’t work in New Zealand as they’re not digital terrestrial transmission (DTT) compatible.
At the launch, TiVo’s pay-per-view content will be rentals only, Minicola says. Later on, TiVo is looking to supply rent-to-own content as well. Non free-to-air content, as supplied by TVNZ, will have digital rights management according to Minicola, and can’t be shared.
For the pay-to-view content delivered over the internet, Minicola promises there won’t be any interruptions or buffering pauses while people watch. She estimates that at 1.5Mbit/s speed, the first ten minutes of a programme or movie will take three to five minutes to download before viewers can watch. After that, there won't be any pauses, Minicola says.
Customers can programme their TiVo devices over the internet, Minicola says. This includes mobile phones that are internet-capable. Users will need a Telecom Yahoo-Xtra account, however.
Telecom Retail CEO Alan Gourdie says the TiVo service won’t cost its broadband customers anything above their usual monthly service costs. Data traffic for the TiVo service will be zero-rated by Telecom and won’t count towards customers’ monthly caps, Gourdie says.
Rick Ellis, CEO of TVNZ, which last year took an $8 million stake in Hybrid TV, says the state broadcaster is looking to make money out of the TiVo service through advertising.
Ellis also says TVNZ expects to profit from its share of Hybrid TV becoming more valuable, as the TiVo service uptake grows.