The Seven Network’s introduction of TiVo into Australia is now in question, as rival broadcasters get behind a competing brand.
Channels Nine and Ten are working on FreeView brand technology that will offer access to as many as 15 free digital TV channels and an electronic program guide, reports The Age.
This is a real blow to Seven, which has been working on developing TiVo for the Australian market.
Both TiVo and FreeView are brands of digital video recorder enabling viewers to pause high-definition TV programming, fast-forward through ads, record programming to hard disk storage and access broadband content such as video-on-demand.
They have been developed by free-to-air broadcasters in the United States and Britain respectively to claw back market share from pay-TV channels.
Seven had intended that rival free-to-air broadcasters would take equity stakes in its TiVo service to create an industry-wide platform.
While the network has plans to launch TiVo later this year, with the Nine and Ten networks now behind FreeView, industry insiders predict that Seven is likely to support the FreeView model, along with the ABC and SBS, at a meeting of the networks later next week.
“Seven has got a real choice to make,” said one TV executive, who did not want to be named. “I don’t think TiVo can survive.” Another said Seven’s position on TiVo was “very fluid”.