After a troubled history, one of Australia's most interesting digital TV companies went into administration last week, and it looked like that was the end. It was, in fact, for a couple of days. But in a surprising turnaround, it's back — Australian EPG service IceTV is alive again, now with a simplified monthly subscription business model.
Image credit: IceTV
Previously: IceTV Is Super Dead
If you're a previous user of IceTV, you'll know how useful its combination of detailed, up to date, informative electronic program guide was. Users of IceTV much preferred it over the often flaky and unreliable EPG broadcast over the air by Australia's free-to-air digital TV networks, and it also had the unique feature of being able to set recordings of entire series of programs, as well as remote adjustment of those recordings through IceTV's website.
IceTV was on life support at the end of last week, when administrators were called in to manage it during a serious financial dispute with the supplier of IceTV's new Skippa ad-skipping set top box. When crucial staff said they would not transition to a new iteration of the IceTV business — that was separating itself from the existing one to provide only the EPG service, with none of the potential problems of producing hardware — it was as good as dead.
But as of today, those support staff have agreed to a new deal with management and administrators, and the IceTV electronic program guide lives on. For new and existing subscribers, the EPG will be offered for a flat rate of $7.99 per month, with none of the long-term or unlimited subscriptions that put IceTV in hot water with substantial obligations to fill and no continuous income.
That means all existing subscriptions are worthless, but dedicated users will still be able to use IceTV as before.
Each subscription will support up to five digital TV recorders or other devices like Windows Media Centre home theatre PCs. All existing users' accounts, too, will remain active, retaining their existing series recording settings, although users with long-term subscriptions will find them expiring once a new processing gateway is set up for the monthly payments. Anyone who received one of the ill-fated Skippa set top boxes, too, will find their device supported by the new company, but will have to purchase an ongoing monthly subscription.
IceTV's forum announcement ends with a personal note from the support staff:
Personally, after contemplating TV recording without IceTV, I think $7.99 each month is better than the alternative of manually setting daily and weekly timers on my old PVRs and wondering how to avoid recording repeats on my new PVRs.
Dave... back at IceTV