Ask an American about TiVO and they will describe to you the best TV viewing experience out there. Back in 2008 a company called Hybrid worked with Channel 7 to relese the Personal ?Video REcordring (PVR) unit to the Australian market for the first time. Due to a few features missing (namely the ability to skip ads with the press of a button) compared to the US one, it never really hit the mark for the masses. By the end of 2012 it was discontinued with the service still able to be used to set and record shows but with the inevitibablity that it would at some stage in the futurue stop working.
I bought myself a unit in 2010 and immediately found myself loving the device. I was able to plug it into my tv and record a couple of shows at once, pre program shows up to a week in advance, pause live tv, fast forward ads and set the box to record shows from my mobile. It was (and still is) one of the best units to use when contributing to your tv viewing experience.
There are plenty of TiVo lovers out there, myself included. The interface to view the episodes guide, set recordings and search has won it a lot of fans. Us fans believe that there is nothing superior to this discontinued service that can match the features and value on offer with TiVo. I was resigned to the fact though that eventually it would stop working and there would be a replacement arriving that wasn’t called TiVo.
My first attempt at replacing the TiVo: FetchTV
A internet enables service that is requires a subscription either through Optus, iiNet or Internode. http://www.internode.on.net/residential/entertainment/fetch_tv/
I though Fetch would be the easiest and cheapest way to quickly test whether it would be a suitable upgrade.
Now each system is differently marginally, but those margins are what you are used to when watching TV. Somethings the TiVo is renound for that are hard to find in any other system are:
- After fast forwarding, when you hit play it goes back five seconds in case you overshot the show. Perfect for fast forwarding through ads
- There is back button that goes back 5 seconds during playback that allows you to recapture a moment or event immediately again.
- You can set a recording without the need of an app through a mobile or desktop browser from any device.
- Base recordings off your favourite actor or sports team.
- 100% free to use after you bought it
- Can transfer recordings to PC to store there
Now unfortunately the Fetch TV does not have any of these features which is a glaring omission when you are used to using the system everyday.
Some areas which the Fetch box has over the TiVo unit does include:
- No annoying sound effects when browsing through menus
- Cleaner more modern looking interface.
- No issues with video output (720p/1080i would be difficult to properly work with my unit)
- Fast menu speed.
- Can watch shows via mobile and tablets much more quickly and smoothly.
- Much smaller in physical size.
I will stick with the Fetch Box for a couple of months to see how it performs day to day. It does cost $10 a month which does include the unit hire so all up I will be down a bit in cost, but I should still be able to get a good price for my used TiVo unit when I sell it to help offset
Ice TV are another subscription based episode guide service that is renowned as the most accurate at timing shows. You do need to provide your own hardware through.