Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Ever Happened To TiVo In Canada

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TiVo considered by most in the home entertainment industry to be the original personal digital video recorder was revolutionary in the United States in the first few years it was in the market.  Meanwhile Canadians could only look South enviously as American TiVo users were pausing live TV, recording two shows at a time and fast forwarding through commercials much faster than the VCRs that Canadians were stuck with at the time.

In 2008 TiVo finally launched in Canada only to crash and burn within just a few months.  Many blamed TiVo's failure in Canada on obsolete hardware they were trying to sell to Canadians.  Others blamed the monthly subscription fees that were higher than the rental fees charged by the cable and satellite TV companies.  

TiVo claimed that series 3 and later hardware was never sold in Canada because the Canadian Radio-Television Commission never mandated cable companies to distribute CableCards to subscribers to allow third party hardware such as TiVo boxes to access subscription digital cable services.  

Just a couple of years ago TiVo was written off as ilrelvant as cable and satellite company personal video recorders take over the space in the entertainment centre cabinet that TiVo boxes used to dominate.  As cord cutting solutions had emerged as a credible alternative to cable and satellite services.

Some of those who have gotten fed up with cable or satellite fees have switched to a combination of over the air broadcast and Internet streaming a trend called cord cutting has emerged in the past couple of years.  The newest generation of TiVo boxes now integrate digital broadcast TV tuner to provide a personal video recorder with a client for Netflix, YouTube and other online video services in a single box.  

Canadians are most vocal with their frustration with cable and satellite TV fees, but cord cutting has yet to reach critical mass some speculate technical complexity having to use the TV's own tuner and a separate streaming video box.  The Canadian market for Digital TV recording remains largely untapped.  There is a huge potential to come back to the Great White North.  If TiVo executives have any business sense at all they could put out a service that charges one fee that includes the TiVo fees and Netflix or another streaming service.  Eliminate the the multiple devices and dealing with multiple companies.  

Canadians as dissatisfied with cable and satellite TV companies can give TiVo the potential to relaunch and be successful if they can rethink their business model and embrace cord cutting.

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