Sunday, March 28, 2010

GEM IPTV Interactive Interface

Around 2001 I looked at the web based Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standards for adding web like features to broadcast TV and was not very impressed. There is now Globally Executable MHP (GEM), a followup specification for adding web-like interaction to digital broadcast TV, IPTV and Blu-Ray players. I am also not impressed with GEM.

Like MHP, this is a formal set of standards (ETSI TS 102 819, ETSI TS 102 728, ITU Recommendation ITU-T J.202). GEM assumes the consumer device has Java and then assumes the makers of a class of devices (such as set top boxes or DVD players) define a set of features for such devices.

Like MHP the features of each GEM implementation has to be very carefully defined, as the devices will be produces in the millions and the communications media for broadcast TV and DVD players is very constrained and non-interactive. The consumer device can't simply request a different version of some content from the broadcaster or from the DVD disk, as the communication is one way. The consumer does not expect to have to keep upgrading their low cost box with more memory and software.

In the case of IPTV the situation could be different, as IP indicates "Internet Protocol" which is usually interactive. However, devices and series from the broadcast industry for IPTV tend to build the same limitations as broadcast TV in.

While I see standards such as GEM as being needed for enhancing broadcast TV and DVDs, I don;t see these as very important platforms or ones with large growth potential. The future web-like format for use on Internet-like networks is simply the actual web on the actual Internet. Rather than the Internet and the web constraining themselves to fit with the limitations set by old fashioned broadcast digital TV, I see digital TV being a legacy service on the Internet.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ScreenACT Project Pod

ScreenACT Project Pod has 24 places available for the first phase in helping Canberra based digital content developers, with entries closing 10.00am 29th March 2010. The project is designed along similar lines to the InnovationACT annual event run by the ANU. There is a nine page "Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines" avialable, as well as Key Dates and FAQs about the project.

ScreenAct Vision

ScreenACT offers support with the general aim of helping to develop the local screen industry, thereby enhancing the ACT production industry’s capabilities and employment opportunities.

Project Pod Aim

Project Pod is a professional and project development opportunity that aims to build capability in screen project development, increase networks, and support a group of targeted projects through to a market-­‐ready stage.

The program has four main phases, which start with broad learning goals, then narrow down, focussing on key teams to help them refine their projects to the point that they are ready to take to market. As part of this, several top projects will receive extra funding.

Guiding Principles Screen

ACT supports:

  • the film, video production, TV and digital media industries.
  • projects that are intended to result in commercial or business focused outcomes.
  • applicants who have started their careers and can demonstrate professional experience.

ScreenACT will give preference to:

  • participants who show a commitment to the six-­‐month process.
  • projects intended for production and post production in the ACT and Capital Region.
  • applications that are professional in their presentation, thought and execution.


About ScreenAct Project Pod

The ScreenACT Project Pod is a six-­‐month program that is open to all professional screen practitioners (individuals and teams) in the ACT/Capital Region. It consists of four phases:

  • Phase One – Two workshops
  • Phase Two – One-­‐on-­‐one project development
  • Phase Three – Industry Feedback and future project plans
  • Phase Four – ScreenACT Grants allocated to as many as four selected projects Selection for the Project Pod is competitive.

Phase One will include up to 24 participants. Phases Two through Four will have up to ten participants.

Project Pod will be led by a number of different providers, and tailored to the needs of the individual participants based on their project’s format and genre.

  • Phase One will be delivered by Stephen Cleary, who is an international script consultant and developer, and by ScreenACT
  • Phases Two and Three to be delivered by local developers with oversight and input from Stephen Cleary and
  • Phase Four delivered by ScreenACT.

All participants for all phases to be selected by an industry panel, with ScreenACT acting as secretariat, and with the sign-­‐off of the CEO of Canberra Business Council on final participants and funding.

Phase One costs participants $600 for the two workshops. The first workshop is over four days, and the second over two. Phases Two through Four have no participation cost.

The program covers narrative and story, introduction to development practice, pitching and presentation skills, introduction to producing, networking with industry professionals and Screen Australia representatives, and one-­‐on-­‐one professional development assistance on a project basis.

Project Pod projects can come from film, television or digital media industries. ScreenACT will consider projects that include but are not limited to:

  • Feature films, television drama series, mini-­‐series, telemovies, broadcast length documentary, television documentary series, reality TV series and digital media projects.
  • ScreenACT will NOT consider the development or production of TV commercials, corporate videos, or training videos

PLEASE NOTE: As this is the pilot ScreenACT Project Pod, ScreenACT reserves the rights to make changes to the project as deemed necessary. ...

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be residents of the ACT or Capital Region (as shown on the map on ScreenACT’s website:

Applicants must have started their careers and be able to demonstrate some degree of professional experience.

Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia, and be 18 years old or older.

Applicants can be individuals or up to a team of two. The team leader must attend all sessions. The second team member is expected to attend all sessions, however there is some flexibility on this issue.

Applicants must be the producer, director, and/or writer of the project. Applicants must also be the copyright holder, or have an option to the rights in any and all works on which the project is based. The charge for phase one is per person regardless of individual or team status....

Key Dates

Applications openFriday, 19th March, 2010
Applications closeMonday 29th March, 2010 – 10.00am
Phase One successful applications announcedThursday 1st April, 2010
Phase One: First Project Pod Workshop (4 days)Friday 23rd – Monday 26th April, 2010
Phase One: Second Project Pod Workshop (2 days)Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd May, 2010
Revised treatment dueFriday 14th May, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Two successful applications announcedFriday, 28th May, 2010
Phase Three Workshop (1 day)Saturday, 19th June, 2010
Delivery of agreed project deliverablesFriday 1st October, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Four Workshop (3 days)Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th October, 2010


Assessment Criteria

In assessing applications, the ScreenACT Assessment Committee will mark applications against the following criteria:

  • Qualification under the general guidelines and guiding principles
  • Originality and strength of concept
  • Commercial viability of the project
  • The strength of the creative team
  • Commitment to the entire process
  • Likelihood of the project proceeding into production


From: Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines, ScreenACT, 19 March 2010

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Wall TV Like a Painting

Slim LED backlight LCD TVs are becoming avialable at reasonable prices. This raises the prospect of mounting them on the wall, like a painting. Kogan are offering a 41 mm thick 26 Inch TV for around AU$600. These have provision for the usual VESA wall mount. The screen is thin around the edges and so would appear to float away from the wall. It might be interesting to mount it amongst some paintings, put an artwork on the screen and see how many people notice it is a TV.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Led Strip Lighting Around Flat Screen TVs

Led Strip LightingThe Philips Ambilight LCD HDTV range have lights around the edges and on the back which claimed to reduce eye strain and make the colours look better. There are numerous online discussions of using Led Strip Lighting for a similar effect, including suggestions by Ikea with their DIODER lights. Most of these do not automatically adjust the light level and colour as Phillips claim to do. But the effect might also be useful for desktop LCD computer screens, with the lighting strips providing subtle and efficient lighting for a desk. The lighting strips are now commonly available.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Freeview and barbers

Saw a familiar face on TV just now. The latest Freeview advertising "more for me" features Enrico the barber of Annandale. He is something of a I was sitting in there when summoned to Samoa). and others mention him in their travelogues. Freeview seem to have difficulty comming to grips with mdia in the 21st century. Their media release for this new advertising campaign includes a web address, user id (moreforme) and password (launch09) of where to get a copy. It seems to have escaped their attention that they could simply put a copy on a service such as YouTibe, but then, if they did that why would we need digital broadcast TV?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Audio to video synchronisation for Australian Digital TV

ABC Radio Hobart is interviewing me 7:10am tomorrow about problems with Audio to video synchronisation for Australian Digital TV. I am not expert on digital TV, but must have done okay when interviewed by ABC Radio WA South West on the switch over to digital TV last month.

As I understand it, the problem is most likely in the viewer's equipment, not the TV studio or broadcast equipment. I have the problem myself using a Widescreen LCD for TV. The audio takes a different path through my home theatre system, from the video which goes from the set top box to the display. Delays with processing the video result in it being out of sync with the audio. Some equipment allows for adjusting the audio to match the image, but my cheap home theatre doesn't (nor does the TiVo set top box).

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sony LCD TV Presence Sensor

Sony 40The Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV comes with a "Presence Sensor". This can be switched on so that the unit will turn off the screen to save power if it detected no one is in the room. It switches the picture back on instantly when someone comes in. The feature does save power with my measurements showing a drop from 109 Watt to 60 Watt.

Presumably this feature works using an infra-red sensor, as used in low cost burglar alarms. The sensor appears to have a range of about 3.5 m over 120 degrees. The time can be set to 7 seconds to test the feature. It might be set to five minutes for a screen which is only used occasionally or thirty minutes more typically.

The system works very well and would be useful in education and for digital signage. One problem is that the feature does not seem to be active when the TV is receiving VGA input. Otherwise it could be used in meeting rooms and parts of libraries not in constant use. One feature I would like to see is the screen brighten slowly, rather than come on suddenly at full brightness.

Also it would be useful if the feature had a second stage which would switch the unit to standby after a further period of inactivity. That would save more power (dropping consumption to 25 Watt), at the cost of the unit taking longer to restart.

See also:
  1. Sony 40 Inch LCD TV Initial Impressions

  2. Sony BRAVIA WE Series LCD TV".

ps: Sony TVs are also available via but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

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Sony 40 Inch LCD TV Initial Impressions

Sony 40The Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV comes in a box 210 x 1250 x 785 mm weighing 26 kg. It is light enough for one person to lift, but so large it takes to to move it. This is much heavier and larger than a LCD projector. But it is lighter than a comparable sized plasma screen.

The unit is relatively simple to unpack and assemble, with a stand which slots into the bottom of the screen and is held with four bolts.

I connected an VGA cable to a computer and composite input from a digital set top box. The unit also has HDMI 2 input, but I did not have a HDMI cable available. No cables were supplied with the unit, apart from the power cable.

Plugged in using VGA to my laptop, the screen gave a very clear computer display, but disappointingly dim. The display was not bright enough to be used in a room with sunlight coming through the window. The display was unusable in conditions where a 24 inch Dell 2405FPW LCD display worked fine. When sunlight in the room was reduced, the screen brightened enough to be usable.

Plugged into a digital set top box via component video, the unit gave an acceptable resolution image. However, as with the PC display, the image was not bright enough to be comfortably viewed. It turned out that this was a problem with the Power Saving feature. When set to "high" this dims the screen. This makes the unit not bright enough for typical digital signage or presentation applications. Turing this power saving setting to "off" was the only way to obtain an acceptable level of brightness.

Power consumption

When I plugged the unit in it drew 76 Watt. The unit arrived in "shop" mode, with the power savings setting turned off. It took some time to work out how to turn off this mode. Many people would not find, or not be able to set, the power saving setting and Sony should set them on before delivery.

The unit used 120 Watt when displaying moving component video and 123 Watt with PC input. When in standby mode it used 26 Watt. The unit also has a physical power switch which reduced consumption to less than 1 Watt (the limit of measurement of my power meter).

Safety Problem

The instruction manual for the unit includes advice for preventing the TV from toppling over. This says to install a machine screw (not supplied) into a hole on the the TV and tie a "strong cord" (not supplied) to it, with the other end secured to the TV stand with a bolt (not supplied). These instructions will not be relevant in most educational and digital signage applications, where the unit will be securely attached to a wall with a Vesa mount. However, the manual instructions are inadequate and the unit is unsafe for home use, as supplied. The unit should be withdrawn from retail sale until this is corrected.

See also: "Sony BRAVIA WE Series LCD TV".

ps: Sony TVs are also available via but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

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Sony 40Sony have loaned me a Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV to try out for a few days. Specifically I wanted to see if this unit save much energy. The application I have in mind is for learning commons, where flat screens are used for digital signage and for presentations. In this applications the screens tend to be left on all day, so energy use is an issue.

One disappointment is that according to the specifications, the unit appears to be florescent backlit, not LED. As a result the backlight has to be all on, or off, the lighting behind black parts of the image can't be turned off.

However, the unit offers a Presence Sensor, which would be useful for public venues. This switches the picture off when no one is in the room. Sony claim this saves 50% of the power. This could be good for presentation screens, which tend to get left on. It may also be very effective for some applications of digital signage: when the person come within viewing range of the screen it will light up, thus attracting their attention.

At present the TV is still in the box, on the floor, some comments about how it goes to follow...

ps: Sony TVs are also available via but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Australian digital TV switch-over

ABC Radio WA South West interviewed me about the switch over to digital TV today. There seems to be a considerable level of confusion in the community. The government provides a table showing the Digital TV Timetable by Region. The WA South West is last on the list being from 1 July to 31 December 2013. However, this doesn't mean the people can't watch the new digital TV now, just that they can will not be able to watch the old analog after the end of 2013. The government provides a useful Digital Ready web site. However, the labelling scheme for TVs is a little misleading. The consumer might think they need to go out and get a "Digital TV Capable" TV, when the TV they have now probably is. I did not get a chance to mention some of the issues with the Freeview campaign.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Australian TV to broadcast web pages

According to media reports the Australian Freeview consortium proposes to use MPEG-4 video and an MHEG-5 electronic program guide (EPG) for new Australian free to air digital TV transmissions. The use of MPEG-4 has received the most attention as this would require an extra chip in the digital TV tuners (or some upgraded software) over the current MPEG-2 standard (and also government approval). What has received less attention is that the MHEG-5 standard includes a subset of HTML 3.2 slightly modified for TV. This is used for providing the program guide, but can also be used for web-like interactive content, including advertisements.

MHEG-5 is used in the UK and and New Zealand and so seems a reasonable choice for Australia. HTML 3.2 is a very old web standard and would not be a good choice for regular web pages, but is suitable for the limited role it has on a set-top box. MHEG-5 is also used for digital signage.

Unfortunately no technical details of what Freeview propose to do are provided on their web site. Freevie have also chosen not to use the standards they are reported to be proposing other Australians use. The Freeview web site seems to be entirely composed of Flash media and so very difficult to access.

Another issue is if Freview's limited form of interactive TV will be of much interest to an audience now acquiring iPhones, Wiis with web browsers and Google Android phones. It may be that by the time Freeview is available, it will be of no more interest than old fashioned analogue TV.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Digital TV Ad Spoof

Nick Broughall has posted a copy of a spoof of the Freeview TV advertisement. The advertised Freeview service is a non-profit advertising campaign for free to air digital TV. This campaign is a half hearted attempt at making the digital TV offering seem an improvement on the analogue service and a competitor to Pay TV. However, as the ad points out in a satirical and entertaining way, the supposed extra channels on Freeview will be mostly used to provide copies of what is currently provided.

There will be only limited genuine high definition programming and much of the content will be low value material which few will want to watch. In addition channels have been reluctant to provide an accurate and comprehensive electronic program guide, as this would allow those with personal video recorders (PVRs) to break out of the stations linear programming. As the spoof says, Freeview may encourage viewers to move to Internet broadband based TV viewing, due to the poor free to air offering. Interestingly, Channel Seven is one of the members of the Freeview consortium, but is also encouraging Internet broadband TV viewing on TiVo, the PVR it distributes in Australia.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TiVo Internet Service Provider for Australia

According to media reports, the Seven Media Group will offer its own broadband Internet service with the TiVo digital set-top boxes it distributes in Australia. The service is expected to start in April and cost $79 to $99 a month, including the TiVo set-top box on a two-year contract. This is a clever idea as it gives Seven a revenue stream from the TiVo (instead of a one off sale) and also an instant defacto Australian pay TV network. Broadband delivery can be slow: the movie I downloaded to my TiVo over the Internet took hours. But Seven could deliver some content over the Internet connection and some over its own digital channels. Seven would also have the capability to provide Google style clickable advertisements, customised for each viewer, which would make for a very profitable service.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Optus trialling digital video broadcast to mobile phones

According to a report by Stuart Corner, Optus trialling digital video broadcast to mobile phones. This uses Nokia N96 phones and the DVB-H standard. The trial is providing nine programmes. It should be noted that this technology is not using the Internet, or the mobile telephone network for carrying the video, it uses a 7MHz UHF TV broadcast channel (which can carry up to 30 programmes).

Given that the pubic broadcasters (ABC and SBS) and the Free to air TV stations are not using all the spectrum they have already been allocated for TV, there does not seem to be much point in allocating more spectrum to another rival form of TV. The customers for a mobile phone TV service would assume it is carried over the Internet and provides "on demand" Internet type service, they will be rightly disappointed when they find it is just old fashioned TV. The Australian Government has allowed trials, but not rushed to allocate spectrium for this new service and rightly so as no one is likely to want it.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

TiVo Mostly Good After Two Months

After two months, I have mostly good things to report on the TiVo. Its ability to predict what I might want to watch is so good as to be unnerving. Several times I went to manually record a program and found that I could rewind back through the part of the show from before I started recording it. The TiVo anticipated I wanted the program and had already started recording. In other cases I couldn't rewind live, but could do so several days later (I assume the TiVo filled in the missing bit from a repeat).

The "Wishlist" function to find programs on topics works well. I have an interest in trains so asked for TiVo to record train documentaries. I thought this might take months, but within a few days the TiVo found an episode of a travel documentary which featured a train.

There have been some problems. I found once or twice the TiVo was recording the same show using both tuners simultaneously: one on standard definition and one high definition. Most of the time this is not a problem, with the guide indicating that these are the same programs so only one version gets recorded. To eliminate the program I decided to delete the HD channels, as these look no better on my small screen than standard definition. But I then found the HD channels kept reappearing the next day. After several deletes the TiVo seems to have got the idea I don't want HD.

Also I have had a problem with the remote control not responding a couple of times. The amber light on the TiVo flashes to indicate that the box is receiving signals from the remote control, but their is no response to any buttons pressed. The only way I have found to fix this is to turn off power to the box and restart it. After a minute the TiVo reboots and everything is fine for a few days.

However overall the clever interface makes me wonder why all PVRs are not like the TiVo.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

TiVo in Australia: Mobile Web Interface

One of the news items I found about PVRs refereed to an interface for iPhones. TiVo has the Central Online web interface, for remotely controlling a TiVo (not yet available for Australia). A quick check with Opera Small Screen Rendering showed the web page adjusted reasonably well to a small screen. So I ran some more tests. Compatibility with smartphones, should not be too hard, especially for iPhone. TiVo could start by adding a mobile style sheet.

Web Accessibility Test of TiVo Central Online

A Test Accessibility Web (TAW 3.0 8/9/08 1:57 AM) validation test for conformance to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999 on reported these issues:
Test summary outcome

AutomaticHuman review
Priority 1455
Priority 21554
Priority 3421
This is not as bad as it looks, with most being easily fixed, such as missing text equivalents (captions) for images:
  • Human review required Verify that text equivalent for image is useful
  • Missing text equivalent for image (3)
    • Line 660:
    • Line 677:
    • Line 694: ...

W3C Markup Validator Test of TiVo Central Online

The W3C Markup Validator, found 28 Errors. The validation makes fussy checks for things like "&" in URLs (you are supposed to use "&" but most page designers don't). Others were about older HTML code being used in a XHTML document. These errors will not matter with a desktop browser, but may cause problems with limited TV and mobile browsers.

W3C mobileOK Checker Test of TiVo Central Online

The very much more specific W3C mobileOK Checker [Beta], not surprisingly found the page was "not mobileOK Basic":


  1. Error Tests failed: 9 / 25
  2. Info Tests passed: 16 / 25
  3. Warning Warnings: 49
Mobile Okay specify the use of the very restrictive XHTML Basic, whereas the TiVo page is the more relaxed XHTML Transitional. Mobile Okay also recommends limiting the use of other resources. In some cases these limits would be too restrictive for a regular web page, but for something like a TV guide they should be mostly achievable, to make a web site suitable for desktop web browsers and mobile ones. Some of the issues are easly fixed, such as lack of a page title:

  2. Related best practice: [EXTERNAL_RESOURCES] Keep the number of externally linked resources to a minimum.

    • Error The HTTP status code is 404 or 5xx (in response to the resource ...
      and the response relates to a request for an included resource
    • Warning There are more than 10 embedded external resources ...

    Related best practice: [GRAPHICS_FOR_SPACING] Do not use graphics for spacing.

    • Error The HTTP status code is 404 or 5xx (in response to the resource ...
      and the response relates to a request for an included resource
    • Warning There is a small fully transparent image ...

    Related best practices: [IMAGES_RESIZING] Resize images at the server, if they have an intrinsic size. [IMAGES_SPECIFY_SIZE] Specify the size of images in markup, if they have an intrinsic size. ...

    • Error Either the height or width attribute is missing ...

    Related best practice: [NON-TEXT_ALTERNATIVES] Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element.

    • Error The alt attribute is missing ...

    Related best practice: [NO_FRAMES] Do not use frames.

    • Error The document contains a frame, frameset or iframe element

    Related best practice:
    [PAGE_SIZE_LIMIT] Ensure that the overall size of page is appropriate to the memory limitations of the device.

    • Error The size of the document's markup (42190 bytes) exceeds 10 kilobytes
    • Error The total size of the page (230077 bytes) exceeds 20 kilobytes (Primary document: 42190, Images: 187887, Style sheets: 0) ...
  8. Error PAGE_TITLE

    Related best practice:
    [PAGE_TITLE] Provide a short but descriptive page title.

    • Error There is no page title ...

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TiVo in Australia: PC Software to work with TiVo

Roxio Easy Media Creator SuiteTiVo give away PC and Macintosh versions of software for transferring content to and from the PVR. These can be used to transfer music and photos to the TiVo and for doing slideshows. Also you can transfer content from the TiVo to PC. TiVo also sell Roxio Easy Media Creator for PC and Roxio Toast for Mac for doing this in a more user friendly fashion. I haven't tried any of these and don't know if Australian TiVos have been blocked from using them.

For those wanting to write their own software, TiVo provide downloads for TiVo Beacon SDK (723k, zip) , TiVo Desktop Plug-in SDK (482k, zip) , Example Apache plug-in for Music and Photos v1.1 (12k, Source code) , TiVo Home Media Feature: Music and Photos Server Protocol Specification v1.1.0 (PDF), TiVo Connect Automatic Machine Discovery Protocol Specification v1.5.1 (PDF).

TiVo also provide open source "HME software" for broadband TiVo applications. There is a SDK, UI Toolkit for TiVo-style menus, Developer's Guide and UI Documentation.

There are numerous independent open source projects and books on hacking the TiVo. Andrew Tridgell gets frequent mentions in these for his work in Australia on interfacing the TiVo (he got it to work in Australia years before the official introduction):

Hacking the TiVo"... However, this capability was denied the rest of us until a pioneering effort by Andrew Tridgell (Tridge) developed the original network adapter for the TiVos that enabled people to use certain types of older PC-style ISA ..." (Hacking the TiVo, on Page 87).

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

TiVo in Australia: What next?

Now having the TiVo ticking over in the corner of the lounge room, I thought I would look at some of the features and issues for the future.A news search on "TiVo" found 1,943 recent stories, so here are the ones most interesting. Some of these may go some way to explaining why Channel Seven introduced TiVo to Australia and how it sees this competing with cable TV:

Saving TV advertising the TiVo way, Maggie Shiels, BBC, 23 Jul 08, 09:46 GMT:
"... TiVo have partnered up with Amazon ... the 'Product Purchase Feature' will pair up any item that is available from Amazon with a TV show and allow TiVo viewers to simply click and buy. ..."
This sounds like the ultimate in product placement: You see something you like on a TV show (apparently any TV show), and press a button on on the remote control to buy it.

iceTV and iPhone users rejoice: remote recording is here - again by Alex Zaharov-Reutt, iTWire, 8 August 2008:
" iPhone users can download the app via iTunes free of charge, with non-subscribers able to see the day’s TV guide, although subscribers get the full 7-day EPG (electronic program guide). ... remotely record shows if you have “any IceTV Interactive compatible PVR, Mac or Media Center PC, including the new Topfield 7100 and the Beyonwiz range of PVRs.”

In addition, you can “see what the Most Popular TV shows are for the coming week as well as create your own personalised TV guide with IceTV’s My Shows."

IceTV's site also reacts to the TiVo launch, for anyone that's interested, showing why it believes IceTV-equipped devices are superior to the TiVo offering."
The interesting part of this will to see if having a dedicated iPhone application, as opposed to using a web interface, will make remote scheduling of a PVR easier. It might turn out that iPhone users will prefer this way of working even when in front of the TV. This approach would not work with the current TiVo interface, as it only checks the internet for updates about every fifteen minutes for broadband users (but would be easy to change).

Assuming TiVo's web based interface ( Tivo Central Online, which is not yet available for Australia) has been designed for compatibility with smartphones, then it should work with an iPhone or similar. If TiVo have used W3C's web accessibility guidelines, then they are most of the way to a phone interface. You can then add extra web code for small screens which is automatically activated when a phone is detected (one catch is that the iPhone doesn't think it is a phone and you have to add extra code for it). I did a quick check with Opera in Small Screen mode and the TiVo Central Online adjusted reasonably well (the images would need to be made smaller and some keyboard shortcuts added).

Also the social networking aspect might catch on. Also note that this is not about watching TV remotely, just using the program guide information, so it will not use up a lot of the limited data allocation you get with a mobile phone account in Australia. ICE are selling a program guide, but now TiVo are giving it away with their unit.

Watching the watchers: TiVo tracks ad viewing by Stefanie Olsen, July 30, 2008 12:50 PM PDT:
" ... Starcom USA, a Chicago advertising agency with such clients as Walt Disney, Coke and Kraft, has teamed with TiVo to be the first to use its so-called PowerWatch Ratings Service, a Nielsen Ratings-like service that reports--based on input from a panel--which television shows and ads people fast-forward, watch, and time-shift (which means to record and watch later). TiVo reported the first findings of the new ratings system on Tuesday. ..."
It is a little worrying what the marketers will do with very detailed information about viewer behaviour. On the other hand, having more information about what people watch might improve TV. As an example, targeted ads on web pages for products you are interested in are less annoying than ones for something you don't want, or have a strong objection to.

YouTube free on Seven's TiVo, Nick Tabakoff, Australian IT , July 30, 2008:
"THE Seven Network's newly launched TiVo digital video recorder will offer users the ability to download YouTube internet videoclips to the box free by the start of next year, according to the man charged with selling the product outside the US.
It had been thought that Seven could charge subscribers for additional features as they became available on the TiVo box -- which was launched yesterday in Harvey Norman stores -- including internet downloads.

But Joshua Danovitz, TiVo's international general manager, said: "We're going to make YouTube available free of charge from early next year. ... "
The announcement that the extra features, such as watching video clips will be free, will be free, suggests that sales of TiVos may not be going as well as expected. It is a welcome announcement, but my limited broadband connection will not cope with many video downloads.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

TiVo in Australia: almost perfect

TiVoThe TiVo passed a major test when I got home this evening and found it had started recording a program I wanted to watch but had forgot to tell it to. Another test will come this weekend, when there is Olympic coverage on two channels and sport on the others: what will there be worth recording?

I have finally found how to turn the TiVo off. At the bottom of the "Messages & Settings" screen there is "Standby". This switches off the video output, while keeping recording going. As there is no video, my LCD monitor then goes to sleep as well, saving power. However, it would be a lot easier if there was an "off" button on the remote control. I suspect the standby mode was put in just to comply with US Energy Star requirements.

I had a message from the people doing the TiVo registration web site (they saw my blog posting). They are looking at the problems I had with registration. But I told them I had found a workaround in the interim.

I mentioned the TiVo to two people, but gave up after that. The response was so enthusiastic it was a little frightening. In both chases the person claimed their spouse wanted one.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

TiVo in Australia: getting better

TiVoAt my second attempt I was able to register my new TiVo and I am getting used to how it works. It is not perfect, but I am starting to see what all the fuss was about.

The TiVo remote control takes some getting used to. I was surprised that the volume control did not work. I pressed the volume up button and nothing happened. Eventually I found instructions which explained that the volume buttons on the remote control did not control the TiVo at all. Instead they control your home theatre system. I selected my brand of home theatre amplifier and then entered a code into the remote control. This then mimics the control for my amplifier. It works very well and saves the usual confusion where you adjust the STB volume one way and try and compensate with the amplifier.

There is also a TV Power button on the remote control intended to turn the TV on and off. My 24" Dell 2405FPW monitor has no remote control, so I entered the code for the amplifier, and can now turn it on and off remotely. However, there is a problem that there appears to be no way to turn the TiVo off. With a normal set top box I would push the off button to put it into standby mode. This then cuts the video signal to the screen which switches to standby mode. But the TiVo is always showing an image and I have to manually turn the monitor off.

Some adjustment was needed for the image resolution. By default the box seems to come set for standard definition TV: 576i video. Native mode is recommended, where the screen switches to a higher resolution, if that is being broadcast. But I found that while my monitor can display the maximum 1080i High Definition resolution, it takes a second or so to change, with annoying flashing in between. So I set the TiVo to always display 1080i (it converts up as necessary). This may not be ideal and as there really isn't any perceivable difference between SD and HD from across the room and no extra HD content, so I might opt for setting everything to SD.

Another setting I changed was to turn off all the lights on the TiVo's front panel. These were useful when setting it up but are distracting (looking like the panel on a 60's record player). Perhaps I will turn them back on when having unwelcome guests staying on my sofa bed. ;-)

The fan in the TiVo is not audible, but the disk drive can be heard within a metre or two when it is recording programs. This is not a problem when sitting accross the room.

Some of the terms used in the TiVo interface are a little confusing. For example, I assumed the "Now Showing" menu option displayed live TV (as it is "now showing"), but it is actually the list of what has been recorded (ie: "not now showing").

The text in the on screen program guide is not easily read from accross the room. This may not be a problem if you have a very large screen or very good eyesight, but the population is getting older and a large text option would be useful.

The "thumbs up and "thumbs down" buttons on the remote are clever and seem to work well: you use these to indicate programs you like or dislike to help the TiVo decide what to record.

The "season pass" feature will take some getting used to: it records all episodes of a show automatically, but there are a lot of options to set.

The "wish list" also looks interesting, where you can select programs or genres and request they be recorded. But so far the system has been able to find very little to suit my tastes. When the Olympics start on two channels, there is going to be even less worth watching.

But after only one day, the TiVo is starting to seem the obvious and natural way to watch TV. It seems obvious that you should be able to push a button to record a program, with the system knowing when to stop, and to record later episodes if you want. It also seems obvious for the system to record something you might want to watch if it is not doing anything else useful at the time.

Some problems are not really the TiVos fault. I had assumed I could simply select the HD versions of each station's programs. But I found that the ABC news was missing from ABC 1 HD, with just music and a weather map instead. So I locked out the HD channel and am using the SD one instead. Also Win TV HD started displaying music and scenery, in place of normal programs, so I locked that one out as well.

One thing I am wondering is if the TiVo (or its guide authors) are smart enough to record the SD version of a program, if the HD version is not available. The decision to introduce HD to Australia, in place of additional content, was not a good one, but that can't be blamed on the TiVo; it was done by government at the request of the existing TV stations.

See also:

TiVo Products on Amazon
  1. TiVo Books
  2. TiVo Accessories
  3. Download TiVo Content
  4. Other DVRs

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

TiVo in Australia: works but disappointing

TiVo LogoAt my first attempt I was unable to register my new TiVo and so not use it. The problem was that the TiVo web site reported the name of the suburb was not valid, even though it is in the Australia Post Postcode List. The next day someone who read my posting said they had similar problems with the Transact system and had got around it by entering an adjacent suburb which has the same postcode. This worked and I was able to register the unit, but it was till not an easy process.

The next step after web registration is that the TiVo prompts for the Australian Postal Code to be entered with the remote control. There are a couple of problems with this: I had to think for a moment what an "Australian Postal Code" is (they are called Postcodes in Australia and someone has not completely localised the TiVo software. Thesecond problem is that the numeric buttons on the remote control are very small and hard to read, but hopefully I will rarely need to use them.

The system then said it would access the network which might take a minute, but only took nine seconds. The TiVo was then set up to use my Internet connection to obtain the TV guide and updates (and to send back information about what I was watching presumably).

The TiVo then started downloading more setup data, which was to take three to five minutes. A five step sequence was displayed on screen: preparing, connecting, getting information, disconnecting and loading information. As I have only a relatively slow wireless broadband connection I was worried how long this would take. But it was done in two minutes 38 seconds, less than the lower estimate given.

The TiVo then began scanning for digital free to air channels. This took a minute, which is about the same as other digital STB (and less than for an analogue TV). The TiVo found 23 channels, which sounds a lot but many are HD duplicates of SD channels and ones with test patterns, duplicate content or channel guides.

The TiVo then connected to the Internet again to get the TV guide the was expected to take 120 to 20 minutes, which makes me wonder how much data is needed for a TV guide. The process actually only took five minutes and 48 seconds.

The setup process was now complete. I then pressed the oddly shaped TiVo button on the remote to activate it. This then presented an animated introduction which was annoying as I wondered if this was I was waiting to be downloaded (or was filling up the hard disk I had paid for). The introduction also contained a product placement for Qantas.

After the introduction I was given the "TiVo Central" menu, from which I selected "Watch Live TV". So after about 24 hours elapsed time and several hours of hard work I was finally able to watch TV.

TiVo BooksMy assessment is that the TiVo is beyond the ability of the average consumer to install and very much more difficult to get to work than a typical PVR. Perhaps now installed it will be easy, but the setup process is not. Also the physical design of the box and the remote control is dated and disappointing. The web based registration process is seriously flawed.

I thought the idea of additional how to Books about TiVo, such as TiVo for Dummies was unnecessary for what was celebrated as an easy to use product. But these could be very useful.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

TiVo in Australia: first impressions not good

TiVo LogoOn my way to a meeting I stopped in at the Harvey Norman store and purchased a TiVo. Unfortunately I have not been able to get the TiVo to work, apparently due to a fault with the TiVo web site.

These are some initial impressions of purchasing and setting up the unit:

TiVo BooksThe Harvey Norman salesperson was very knowledgeable and helpful. They were able to answer my esoteric questions and I got the impression that they were used to having to do a lot of explaining of the device to the customer, this be a conceptually difficult appliance.

The TiVo was $AU699, which seems reasonable for a twin high definition hard disk PVR. The salesperson assured me that the TV guide, which is downloaded vie the Internet was free (not just a limited time free offer).

The TiVo comes in a large box for a PVR. My first surprise was five minutes later when I got in my car and the phone rang: it was my credit card company calling to check the purchase I had just made really was me. Perhaps it was a coincidence, or perhaps TiVos are favorite choices of credit card thieves.

Opening the box at home I was surprised by the size of the unit, which as large as an old fashioned VCR. The box is about four times the size of my previous PVR. It is a big black metal box, with an aluminium trim on the front and a black panel which looks like it should have a display in it, but just has a power indicator light and some back lit letting indicating the video output type and the like. It reminded me of a seventies Radio Shack HiFi. TiVo might want to send a little money on some industrial design to make a more up market looking case.

The box also seemed to have a lot of polystyrene and excessive packaging: did the mains power cable really need to have closed cell foam wrapping around it as well as a plastic bag? I noticed these as I had been reading the ECMA Environmental Standards for ICT Products.

Apart from the TiVo itself, the box contained a dog bone shaped remote control (with coloured buttons which reminded me an 80s Amstrad computer). There was also a very complete set of cables, with ones for component video and stereo audio, as well as composite video. There were a set of Panasonic "Industrial" alkaline AA batteries for the remote control.

A surprising inclusion was an Ethernet cable. The TiVo requires an Internet connection for the extended TV guide and the download of additional software features. Unfortunately the Ethernet cable was only about one metre long and so did not reach my router (the salesperson did offer an optional WiFi adaptor, but I had a longer cable to hand).

A one page "Start Here" guide shows how to connect the cables. But it doesn't tell you to put the batteries in the remote control. Also the manual is confusingly called a "Quick Guide".

I plugged in all the cables and turned on the power as instructed and was rewarded with a welcome screen. After a minute the screen changed and I thought "that was quick" but it just changed to say it was still initialising the system and it was 3 minutes 49 seconds before the system initialisation was complete.

The display looks good on my 24" Dell 2405FPW monitor, although the TiVo is only providing it with 576i video. One annoyance is that the TiVo has an animated background to its information screens. This distracts from the information content, but despite this the text in screen is very readable, even with a relatively small screen. However, the text and graphics on the remote control are very hard to see.

The TiVo then stepped me through a test of the audio, and "Service Terms". I was asked to agree to the service agreement and privacy policy in the Viewer's Guide. But I have no idea what the "Viewer's Guide" is (they are not mentioned in the "Quick Guide" supplied).

I was then asked to activate the TiVo by visiting a web site. At this point the TiVo was getting annoyingly like setting up a computer, rather than a consumer appliance. I transcribed a fifteen digit number from the TiVo to the web site and pressed "activate". I was then presented with "Terms of Use of TiVo® box and the Tivo® service" and asked to agree to these. The terms are annoyingly long and a lawyer might like to check they are legal (see below).

The next screen then asked for my Name, Drivers Licence No. (or Mother's Maiden Name) and Date of Birth and the address where the TiVo would be used. There is some sense to asking for where the TiVo would be used (although some may not want to provide this). But it seems odd to require a divers licence number and date of birth to watch TV.

I tried omitting the diver's licence number, and date of birth. I got an error message which also inserted a slash ("/") in the Suburb field of the address. So I entered a date of birth and tried again. This time I got an error message saying the password was missing (I had entered one but the form seemed to forget it). I got another error message and another slash added to the address field. This time I was prompted for the driver's licence number (or mother's maiden name) and more slashes in the suburb field. The form then forgot the password again and added MORE SLASHES to the suburb field.

The form then complained that the suburb name (which by now had dozens of slashes in it) did not match the postcode: "Suburb and postcode do not match. Please check your details". At this point I was getting a little frustrated. I deleted the slashes the system had inserted and tried again. But the password had been deleted, causing another error message and inserting a slash back into the suburb field.

I deleted the slash, typed the password again and hoped the system was not going to check marriage records to see what my mothers maiden middle name was. Instead the suburb was again reported as wrong. So I checked the postcode and suburb with the Australia Post Postcode Search. I copied and pasted the suburb name and the postcode from the Australia Post site. This time I got "Please only use letters, numbers, commas, dashes and forward slashes" under the suburb field.

It happens the suburb I live in has an apostrophe in it ('), which the TiVo form does not appear to allow (although the
apostrophe is in the suburb name in the Australia Post list). I deleted the apostrophe and then got "Suburb and postcode do not match. Please check your details" again. At this point I had spend thirty minutes trying to fill in the form, far longer than it had taken to purchase, unpack and connect the TiVo. I still did not have a working TiVo and decided to give up and perhaps try again tomorrow (or send the unit back).

See also: Books about TiVo


1. These Terms are binding on you

These Terms govern the supply of the TiVo® service (“TiVo service”) and your use of any TiVo® box (“TiVo box”) or other associated TiVo equipment you buy from us including your activation and use of the TiVo service with the TiVo box.

If you buy your TiVo box or other equipment from us online, you will also be bound by the Terms governing our TiVo Shop.

Your use of your TiVo box and the TiVo service indicates your understanding and acceptance of these Terms, and has the same force and effect as if you had actually signed these Terms.

These Terms and the TiVo Shop Terms (if you bought your TiVo box online) represent the entire agreement governing your use of your TiVo box and the TiVo service and supersedes any prior or contemporaneous written or oral statements by us.

In these Terms: 'you' and 'your' mean the customer (you!); we, our and us mean Hybrid Television Services (ANZ) Pty Limited.

2. Your TiVo features

Your TiVo box comprises a digital video recorder (“DVR”) and any optional TiVo branded accessories purchased by you (“TiVo box”) which operates in conjunction the TiVo service. You may access and use the TiVo service only with a TiVo box that is authorised to receive the TiVo service. Activation of the TiVo service enables a range of features for you to use on your TiVo box, including but not limited to:

  1. an integrated Electronic Program Guide ("EPG"), which is supplied to your TiVo box for the purpose of recording free to air television;
  2. features such as pause, fast forward, rewind, instant replay, Search, Season Pass® recordings, WishList™ searches, TiVo® Suggestions, TiVo KidZone, closed captions and Parental Controls (all of which are described in more detail at ;
  3. a Remote Online Scheduling Feature, which enables you to schedule recordings on your TiVo box using the internet (and can be accessed by logging on to You can choose to record any broadcast television program airing in the following seven days;
  4. access to broadband content and applications; and
  5. access to updates and new features.

A complete list of features and information about them can always be found at The “TiVo service” means these features and any additional features and functionality that we may, at our discretion and from time to time, offer to you for you to access on your TiVo box at no additional cost.

3. Operating the TiVo box and activating the TiVo service

To operate the TiVo box you will need to do the following:

  1. You will need to connect the TiVo box to your personal broadband service. Depending on your home network set-up, this will require an Ethernet cable or purchase of a TiVo Wireless Adaptor. Amongst other things the TiVo box will use the broadband connection to keep your EPG up to date and to download upgrades to your TiVo box from time to time. The use of your personal broadband service to access the TiVo service will be at your cost and you will need to monitor it. Any Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) charges you incur to your ISP service provider are your responsibility.
  2. You will need to live within a free to air digital coverage area and to have a terrestrial television antenna at your home. Unfortunately, we can't absolutely guarantee you the availability or quality of digital television broadcasting, so there may be places within Australia where a customer cannot receive the TiVo service. Note: You will not be able to receive pay television services from providers such as Foxtel, Austar, SelecTV, TransACT or Neighbourhood Cable using your TiVo box.
  3. You will need to activatethe TiVo service, which you can do at, subject to these Terms. You will need your 15-digit TSN, found on the label on the back of your TiVo box.
  4. You will need to connect the TiVo box to your television by using the cables included in the carton or by purchasing an HDMI cable (available separately).
  5. You will need to follow the guidelines in the TiVo® HD Quick Guide and on to ensure continued access to all your TiVo features.


In addition to the terms set out in Parts A and D of these Terms, the following terms relate to your use of the TiVo service.

We will provide the TiVo service to you in accordance with these Terms, using reasonable skill and care.

We will also ensure that the TiVo service does everything we say it will do as far as it is reasonably within our power to do so.

1. User information

At the time you activate the TiVo service we will ask you to create an account for your TiVo service using your personal email address. At the time of activating the TiVo service, you will not be required to enter your credit card details, however if you buy an optional new feature upgrade (“Optional New Feature Upgrade”) at a future time, you will need to provide them to complete that purchase.

You must provide us with accurate and complete information when you activate your TiVo service. It is important that this information is entered correctly and updated if you change your email address. We will use this email address for correspondence with you. You must regularly check for emails from us at the email address you provided to us as we may send you important notices about the TiVo service using this email address, for example about planned upgrades or outages.

You must keep confidential all your identification and user information required to access the TiVo service.

We will keep your information confidential. See later in these Terms of Use of TiVo box and TiVo service for information about our Privacy Policy.

2. Availability and accuracy of the TiVo service

We try to make the TiVo service available to you at all times but sometimes availability is affected by factors outside our control. For this reason we can't guarantee that the TiVo service will be available to you at all times or that download speeds (for example, of upgrades to your TiVo box) won't vary from time to time. It may also be necessary to interrupt the TiVo service (or parts of it) occasionally in order to upgrade or maintain it. Should we need to interrupt the TiVo service we will:

  1. whenever possible conduct maintenance or upgrades between 1am and 6am Eastern Standard Time;
  2. if possible tell you in advance (via email or our website) if the TiVo service will be unavailable due to maintenance or any other foreseeable reason; and
  3. restore the TiVo service as soon as possible.

We try to make the TiVo service as accurate as possible. Unfortunately we cannot absolutely guarantee the accuracy of the TiVo service including the EPG information.

You acknowledge that your use of the TiVo service may not be uninterrupted, timely, secure or error free, and that any information obtained through the TiVo service (including third party content) may not be accurate or reliable.

3. Changes to the TiVo service and Optional New Feature Upgrades

We may at our discretion and from time to time change, add, or remove features and functionality of the TiVo service or discontinue one or some of the features of the TiVo service without notice. If you are dissatisfied with any such changes to the TiVo service, you may immediately cancel your use of the TiVo service as provided in these Terms without having to pay any early termination fee, however you acknowledge that your TiVo box will no longer be fully operational if it is not connected to the TiVo service.

We reserve the right to update software in your TiVo box to offer additional features and functions to your TiVo service or to improve the performance of the TiVo box. Under most circumstances upgrades will be done via your broadband connection and you won't have to do anything but leave your TiVo box plugged in and connected to your personal broadband service.

While upgrades to the TiVo service will be delivered to you automatically and free of charge (subject to third party ISP charges you incur in relation to your personal broadband service), from time to time we will also offer you the opportunity to purchase optional new feature upgrades, for a fee (“Optional New Feature Upgrades”). Optional New Feature Upgrades do not form part of the TiVo service but can be used in conjunction with it, and will be subject to their own terms and conditions at the time of purchase. You will be required to provide your credit card details to make those purchases.

4. Areas beyond our control

We want to give you the best service possible, but some things are beyond our control and we can't accept responsibility for them. We are not responsible for any failure to the TiVo service which occurs:

  1. due to fault with anything we have not supplied to you, such as your own television*, computer, broadband connection or home network infrastructure;
  2. because you do not use the TiVo service correctly according to our instructions;
  3. because you do not set up your TiVo box correctly according to our instructions;
  4. because you do not let us update software we provide to you (except for Optional New Feature Upgrades which you may choose not to purchase and which choice will not effect the TiVo service you continue to receive);
  5. due to natural disasters (including for example floods, lightning and fire), acts of terrorism, interruptions to power supplies or your personal broadband service or any other cause beyond our reasonable control.

*Television manufacturers advise you not to allow a still image such as on screen graphics and the electronic program guide graphics to be displayed on your television screen for an extended period of time. This can cause a permanent residual image to remain on some plasma, rear projection and LCD televisions, particularly during the first 200 hours of use. Read your television manufacturer’s manual for instructions and tips on avoiding ‘burn in’. It is something which is outside of our control.

To the extent permissible by law, you understand and agree that the TiVo service is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis.

5. Content

The TiVo service gives you the ability to access audio, video, and other media over which we exercise no editorial or programming control (“Third Party Content”). You understand that: (a) we do not guarantee the access to or the ability to record or display any particular program; (b)programming is not under our control; (c) Third Party Content providers may restrict or limit the ability to record, display or view particular programs by using a variety of copy protection mechanisms; (d) Third Party Content providers may restrict or revoke access to their content at any time; (e) we are not responsible for and have no editorial control over any Third Party Content; and (f) we have no control over the distribution of such content. You agree that we will have no liability to you, or anyone else who uses your TiVo box, with regard to any Third Party Content.

The content that you are able to record on, download to or transfer to your TiVo box (including Third Party Content) is protected by copyright. Unless you own the copyright in, or are licensed by the copyright owner to do a particular act with respect to that content, you are only allowed under Australian copyright law to record broadcast content for private and domestic use for watching or listening to that content at a more convenient time than the time when the broadcast was made, or may otherwise use that or other content (including broadband content) as expressly permitted or otherwise in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions of the Copyright Act. Nothing in these Terms permits, and we do not permit, you to use or deal with content recorded on, downloaded to or transferred to your TiVo box for any other purpose. If you are not the owner or licensee of content and you distribute or otherwise make it available to anyone else, you may be infringing copyright, and this will be treated as misuse of the TiVo service.

You acknowledge that the TiVo service and the TiVo servers that provide you with data and Third Party Content may not be free of viruses or other harmful components.

6. EPG and Remote Online Scheduling

You may access and use the EPG provided as part of the TiVo service only on a TiVo box that is authorised to receive it.

The EPG contains material which is the subject of copyright owned by the respective free to air television broadcaster(s) whose programs the EPG relates to, including the schedule of television programs to be broadcast by the broadcaster for the following seven days and the information associated with those schedules supplied by the broadcaster ("Program Listing Content").

The Program Listing Content remains at all times the property of the relevant broadcaster. You may only use the EPG and Program Listing Content for the purpose of using your TiVo box in accordance with these Terms for your private and domestic use, and you must not sublicense, sell, lease, loan, upload, download, communicate or distribute the Program Listing Content to any person.

Occasionally, the EPG may be made inaccurate, for example due to an overrun or early start of a program, which is something managed by the television broadcasters and not us. We keep our EPG as up to date as possible but we cannot be liable for a missed recording due to timing inaccuracies, including when you use the Remote Online Scheduling feature of the TiVo service. Remember you always have the option of extending your recording.

Because scheduling requests you make using the Remote Online Scheduling feature of the TiVo service depend on your personal broadband service, we cannot be liable for a missed recording due to your personal broadband service failing to deliver the scheduling message to the servers which handle those requests.

7. Advertising

From time to time, there may be advertising displayed as part of the TiVo service, providing you information regarding products and services.

8. Term and termination of the TiVo service

Our agreement with you (as contained in these Terms) commences on the date you activate the TiVo service, and continues until terminated in accordance with these Terms.

We retain the absolute right to immediately suspend or terminate your TiVo service, and terminate this agreement with you (as contained in these Terms), if:

  1. you breach these Terms or the TiVo Shop Terms (if applicable) in a material way;
  2. you misuse (or we can establish you have attempted to misuse) the TiVo service;
  3. you alter (or we can establish you have attempted to alter) your TiVo-enabled software or use the TiVo service in such a manner as to infringe upon our intellectual property rights or those of our suppliers or any third party;
  4. we cease to provide the TiVo service, or any part of it, for example in order to comply with our legal obligations (including legislative changes) or Court orders; or
  5. we have reasonable grounds to believe that a threat or risk of security, injury or damage exists.

You also have the right to immediately terminate your TiVo service, and terminate our agreement (without having to pay any early termination fee), if we breach these Terms or the TiVo Shop Terms (if applicable) in a material way.

We may monitor your use of the TiVo service to ensure that you are complying with these Terms. We will comply with our Privacy Policy (at if we do.

We may investigate any alleged misuse of the TiVo service and may involve or assist police or other law enforcement agencies in doing so without notice to you.

Termination will not affect either party's respective rights or remedies.


In addition to the terms set out in Parts A and D of these Terms, the following terms relate to your use of the TiVo box.

1. Compatibility

The TiVo box is compatible with most televisions and broadband services, however, we are not responsible for ensuring that the TiVo service, TiVo box or software we provide will be compatible with your television nor with other equipment nor with your personal broadband service. It is your responsibility to check whether you have any compatibility problems before the expiry of our money back guarantee period referred to in clause 4 below.

The TiVo box is not compatible and will not interconnect with the equipment and services of pay television providers such as Foxtel, Austar, SelecTV, TransACT or Neighbourhood Cable.

For connection to wireless networks, we only support the TiVo-branded Wireless Adaptor. Any other wireless adaptor cannot be guaranteed to connect your TiVo box to a wireless network.

You acknowledge that that the TiVo box or TiVo service may not be compatible with any other specific hardware or service.

2. Your responsibilities

When you buy a TiVo box from us or from a retail store, title (full ownership) passes to you when you have paid for it in full and risk in (responsibility for) the TiVo box passes to you as soon as you receive it. You are responsible for the use you make of your TiVo box and the TiVo service.

You must keep your TiVo box secure against use by others. You are liable for all liability resulting from use of your TiVo box, whether authorised by you or not. If your TiVo box is lost or stolen, you will be responsible for replacing it and upon replacement you will have to activate the TiVo service to connect to your replacement TiVo box.

You must also ensure that any other person you permit to access your TiVo box also complies with these Terms.

You agree not to tamper with or otherwise modify your TiVo box – this form of misuse is treated very seriously by us.

3. Liability and exchanges in relation to damaged or faulty products

Implied warranties and liability - Nothing in these Terms removes or limits any rights that you have under existing laws or regulations and codes, including the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and the various State and Territory fair trading laws, including for example that the services provided under these Terms are provided with due care and skill and the goods are fit for the purpose for which they are supplied and are of merchantable quality. These rights are described in more detail in Part D of these Terms.

To the maximum extent permitted by law, all other terms, conditions and warranties, other than the limited warranty provided below in this clause, whether express or implied are expressly excluded.

Limited Warranty - All new TiVo boxes carry an express warranty against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for 12 months from the time of purchase by you (“Limited Warranty Period”). Our warranty obligations for TiVo boxes are limited to the terms set forth below:

If a hardware defect arises and a valid claim is received within the Limited Warranty Period, at our option and to the extent permitted by law, we will either:

  1. repair the hardware defect at no charge, using new or refurbished replacement parts; or
  2. exchange the TiVo box with a new or “as new” TiVo box.

Replacement under warranty will be like for like, refurbished or "as new", meaning the replacement may have been used for testing or demonstration purposes, or may have been returned by customers who were unable to receive a digital television signal or broadband service where they lived. A refurbished TiVo box will have been checked, tested and re-packed. You will not receive a new version or model unless none of the models returned as faulty remain in stock, new or refurbished.

A warranty of thirty days or the balance of the warranty period on your original TiVo box, whichever is the greater, will apply to the replacement TiVo box.


This Limited Warranty applies only to hardware products that can be identified by the “TiVo” trademark, trade and, or logo affixed to them. The Limited Warranty does not apply to any non-TiVo hardware products or any software, even if packaged or sold with TiVo hardware.

Other than as required by law as set out above and in Part D of these Terms, we cannot accept responsibility for everything that happens to your TiVo box. We are not responsible for, and this warranty is voided with respect to and does not apply to:

  1. damage caused by accident (whether by you or a third party);
  2. damage caused by operating the TiVo box outside the permitted or intended uses described by us or arising from failure to follow instructions on use of the TiVo box;
  3. damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not an authorised repairer of TiVo boxes;
  4. a TiVo box or part that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without our written permission;
  5. consumable parts, such as batteries, unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship;
  6. cosmetic damage, including but not limited to scratches, dents and broken plastic on ports, that does not otherwise affect the TiVo box’s functionality or materially impair your use;
  7. if any TSN has been removed or defaced;
  8. any abuse, misuse, neglect, mishandling or misapplication (including, for example, opening up, modifying or tampering with the hardware and use with incompatible non-TiVo products);
  9. any unusual hazards affecting the TiVo box or failure to provide a suitable environment for the TiVo box (including for example exposure to excessive humidity, heat, cold, dust, food, liquids, magnetic or electromagnetic interference, or incorrect power voltage);
  10. electrical supply problems resulting from misuse; or
  11. natural disasters (including for example floods, lightning and fire), acts of terrorism, or any other cause beyond our reasonable control.

If you believe:

  • your TiVo box was damaged or faulty when it is delivered to you; or
  • your TiVo box has become faulty while still within the Limited Warranty Period and the fault is not excluded from our Limited Warranty (see “Exclusions and Limitations” section above),

go to and follow the process set out there to see if you are entitled to make a warranty claim. That process forms part of these Terms.

If you do not comply with your obligations set out at in relation to warranty claims (for example if it turns out that the fault is not covered by the Limited Warranty or the claim is made outside the Limited Warranty Period), you will be charged handling costs and you will have to pay for your TiVo box to be repaired.

When your TiVo box is exchanged for a new or ‘as new’ TiVo box, your original TiVo box for which the exchange is made must be returned to us and becomes our property.

You acknowledge that you will need to re-activate the TiVo service after your TiVo box is repaired or replaced. This is because the TiVo box gets re-set during repairs, and a refurbished TiVo box will not contain your original recordings.

Process for repairs not covered by Limited Warranty terms or outside Limited Warranty Period

If your TiVo box needs servicing but is not covered by terms of the Limited Warranty, or the Limited Warranty Period has expired, you will have to pay for your TiVo box to be repaired.

4. 14 day money back guarantee

We offer a 14 day money back guarantee for TiVo boxes purchased on our website (and some retailers offer the same guarantee if you bought your TiVo box from them). If your TiVo box is not damaged or faulty but, within 14 days of delivery of your TiVo Box, you:

  • decide you are not satisfied with the purchase of your TiVo box; or
  • discover after your TiVo box has been delivered to you that you do not receive a digital television signal where you live or that your personal broadband service is not compatible with the TiVo box;

and you would like to return your TiVo box and get a refund of the price paid, go to and follow the process set out there for the 14 day money back guarantee. That process forms part of these Terms.

If you comply with your obligations set out at in relation to our 14 day money back guarantee, we will refund your purchase price of your TiVo box (along with the purchase price of the TiVo Wireless Adaptor if you purchased it at the same time as your TiVo box and returned it at the same time as your TiVo box). If you do not comply with those obligations, you will not be entitled to a refund and you will be charged handling costs.

When we refund your money under our 14 day money back guarantee, your TiVo box must be returned to us and becomes our property.

5. Title to Software and Intellectual Property

You received certain software in your TiVo box at the time of purchase, and other software programs may be delivered to your TiVo box by us from time to time, which your TiVo box will automatically accept. You may use that software solely in executable code form and solely in conjunction with your TiVo box.

You must not use any unauthorised software on your TiVo box.

Any attempt to disassemble, decompile, create derivative works from, reverse engineer, modify, sublicense, distribute or use for other purposes either the TiVo box or the software in the TiVo box is strictly prohibited, except as expressly set out below in relation to Open Source Software.

We and our suppliers retain title to and ownership of all the software on the TiVo box and certain intellectual property rights in the TiVo box. We and our suppliers also retain ownership of all copyright and trademarks in and on the TiVo box. Without limiting the foregoing, all TiVo copyright and trademarks are the exclusive property of TiVo Inc. TiVo Inc. is an intended third-party beneficiary of these Terms.

Without limiting the foregoing, "TiVo", the TiVo logo, " TiVo, TV Your Way ", and "Season Pass" are registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. "WishList", "Thumbs Down" (logo and text), "Thumbs Up" (logo and text) are trademarks of TiVo Inc. The absence of a product or service name or logo belonging to TiVo Inc. anywhere in the text of the website or other publications and materials regarding the TiVo box and/ or TiVo service does not constitute a waiver of TiVo's trademark or other intellectual property rights concerning that name or logo. All other products and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. HTS and TiVo Inc. disclaim any and all rights in these marks.

If in future you install separate software intended for installation on your home computer for use in conjunction with your TiVo box, ownership and the other terms of use of that software will be governed by the applicable end user licence agreement, to which you must agree before installation.

If you fail to comply with these Terms, we may terminate this licence to use the software of the TiVo box, except for the Open Source Software.

You will find some of our supplier’s software licence terms in the Copyrights and Trademarks menu option on your TiVo box, as well as on Nothing in those terms serve to reduce your rights under the laws of the states and territories of Australia.

6. Open Source Software

Certain components of the software on the TiVo box are subject to so-called open-source licences such as the GNU General Public License Version 2 (“Open-Source Software”). Open Source Software is not subject to the restrictions in clause entitled “Title to Software and Intellectual Property” above, and is subject to the terms of the applicable open-source licence. You are free to use, modify and distribute Open Source Software, so long as you comply with the terms of the applicable open-source licence (available at

To the extent required by the terms of the applicable open-source licences, we and our suppliers make our modifications to Open Source Software that we distribute pursuant to such open-source licences available to the public in source code form at


In addition to the terms set out in Parts A, B (regarding the TiVo service) and C (regarding the TiVo box) of these Terms, the following terms relate to your use of both the TiVo service and TiVo box.

1. Customer support

We commit to supplying the TiVo service within 24 hours of you activating it.

Once you have activated the TiVo service, for additional customer support, go to

You acknowledge that if the TiVo box crashes, in some cases your recordings and/ or broadband content may be affected.

You acknowledge that any defects in the TiVo service may not be corrected.

2. Changes to these Terms

We may vary these Terms or any information contained on our website at any time. However, if a variation is likely to have a detrimental impact on you, and that impact is more than a minor impact, we will notify you of the change no later than when the change becomes effective.

3. Privacy, notices and messages

Your use of our website or access to the TiVo service and use of the TiVo box will be taken to indicate your consent to our collection, use and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with the terms of our Privacy Policy, which forms part of these Terms and is available at Please read it carefully before using the TiVo service.

From time to time you may receive messages from us about the TiVo service: mostly by email to the email address you have nominated, but occasionally to your television. We will only send you messages which we believe you will find useful, for example messages about keeping your personal broadband service connected at all times, about activation, upgrade availability, program line up changes and imminent maintenance to the TiVo service. You agree as part of your acceptance of these Terms, to us sending you emails for those and related purposes.

4. Supplier Liability

Under Division 2 Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (“TPA”) and other state based legislation, certain warranties and conditions (“Implied Terms”) are implied into your contract with us. The operation of, and liability for breach of, the Implied Terms cannot be, and are not in this contract, excluded and can only be limited in certain circumstances.

Except for the Implied Terms, we exclude to the fullest extent permitted by law all terms implied by statute, at law, in fact or otherwise.

You understand and agree that our suppliers have no warranty obligations or other liabilities to you under this contract.

We exclude to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any liabilities, losses, damages, costs or expenses (whether arising in contract, tort (including negligence) or under any other cause of action) suffered or incurred by any person in connection with this contract or an act or omission of our or any of our suppliers' personnel in connection with this contract:

  1. on behalf of and for the benefit of our suppliers; and
  2. for ourselves, except for liability for breach of the Implied Terms which cannot be excluded by law (which may be limited to the extent permitted by the TPA).

In addition, pursuant to section 68A of the TPA, in respect of any of the goods or services supplied under this contract which are not of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption, our liability for breach of a condition or warranty implied into this contract by the TPA other than a condition or warranty implied by section 69 is limited:

  1. in the case of goods, to any one of the following as determined by us:
    1. the replacement of the goods or the supply of equivalent goods; or
    2. the repair of the goods; or
    3. the payment of the cost of replacing the goods or of acquiring equivalent goods; or
    4. the payment of the cost of having the goods repaired;
  2. in the case of services, to any one of the following as determined by us:
    1. the supplying of the services again; or
    2. the payment of the cost of having the services supplied again.

Nothing in these Terms shall limit or exclude our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

To the extent permissible by law, we will not be liable under these Terms for any loss of income, loss of profits, loss of contracts, loss of data or for any indirect or consequential loss or damage of any kind howsoever arising and whether caused by tort (including negligence), breach of contract or otherwise.

To the extent permissible by law, our maximum aggregate liability under these Terms whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise shall in no circumstances exceed the amount payable by you to us in respect of the product(s) in question.

5. Assignment

We may transfer all or part of our rights and obligations under these Terms to our business partners or related bodies corporate. However, if assignment is likely to have a detrimental impact on you, and that impact is more than a minor impact, we will notify you about this.

The TiVo service is provided for your personal, non-commercial use, and may not be resold, in whole or in part. If you transfer or sell your TiVo box, the purchaser will need to re-activate the TiVo service.

6. Indemnity

You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from and against any and all claims, proceedings, injuries, liabilities, losses, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ charges on an indemnity basis), including but not limited to claims against us or the TiVo service alleging negligence, copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement, relating to or arising out of your breach of our agreement with you (as contained in these Terms), your misuse of the TiVo service, or your unauthorised modification or alteration of the TiVo box or software on the TiVo box.

7. Applicable Law

These Terms are governed by the laws in force in New South Wales, Australia and you irrevocably and unconditionally submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales, Australia and any courts which may hear appeals form those courts.

From: Terms of Use of TiVo® box and the Tivo® service, 2008, Hybrid Television Services (ANZ) Pty Limited, 2008

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