Back in 2002, TiVo launched in the UK. It didn't do too well, and the company pulled out of the UK market, but continued to support those customers who had bought their product... Until now. Nine years later, those original UK TiVo customers are up in arms about the fact that TiVo are planning to stop supporting the backend, essentially turning their boxes into paperweights. Given the current financial problems TiVo Australia seems to find itself in, could this be a sign of things to come?
There was a small PR fire last week when it became apparent that TiVo had cut its local staff to just five people following some poor sales. Some media outlets reported that their internal PR member was part of the job cuts, which meant that the company eventually resorted to their Facebook page and Twitter to deny they were shutting down.
While nothing has changed since last week, the UK chain of events is worth taking note of. TiVo makes itself stand out as a DVR thanks to the software backend and their EPG, which is actually put together themselves. In the UK, TiVo now has a new partnership with Virgin to sell their hardware/software package tied to Virgin's cable TV network, which can really be seen as the impetus to stop supporting their old hardware.
Locally, the fact that TiVo is on a skeleton staff doesn't change the fact that they are still supported by Channel 7, and it until that changes, it's probably safe to say that even if Hybrid TV ceases to exist and stops selling TiVo hardware, Seven will continue to support the software backend for a period of time.
So Aussie TiVo users are safe for now. But if Seven decide to give up their involvement with TiVo in Australia... Then who knows what may happen...