Sydney Morning Herald article on MythTV, TiVo, PVRs: Fast forward to an ad-free future (registration required =(… BugMeNot has a few SMH logins)
“Then there are 100 or so Linux experts who’d used the open source MythTV project’s work to build their own super personal video recorder – with that handy skip ad button.”
The article is mostly about skipping commercials and pausing/rewinding LIVE TV, but does cover a lot of different options for PVRing down under.
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Fast forward to an ad-free future
By Charles Wright
November 4, 2004
Bleeding Edge’s nomination for the 2004 King Canute Awards has to go to the Australian free-to-air television industry and specifically to Harold Mitchell, the foremost expert on media buying.
On last week’s Inside Business program on ABC TV, Mitchell – who recently retired as boss of media buyers Mitchell & Partners – insisted that the personal video recorder did not represent a threat to the revenue stream of television networks because “people actually like to watch ads”.
“I don’t think people are going to want to use digital TV to do things like cutting out ads,” Mitchell declared, with the certainty of Pope Urban VIII maintaining that the Earth was the centre of the universe.
It was news to us, because we’d just spent a couple of hours watching ad-free commercial TV simply by hitting the “skip ad” button on our personal video recorder.
Mitchell seems unaware of the fact that every week 25,000 or so owners of set-top boxes such as the top-selling Topfield TF-5000PVR, and less powerful equivalents from manufacturers such as Strong and Thomson, are doing exactly the same thing.
Several hundred others are so keen on watching commercials that they have imported second-hand TiVo personal video recorders into Australia from Britain and the US and adapted them – a task that is not without complexity or expense – so they can skip them too.
Then there are 100 or so Linux experts who’d used the open source MythTV project’s work to build their own super personal video recorder – with that handy skip ad button.
On top of that, there’s a growing armada of devices such as the Elgato EyeTV, which allows owners of both Mac and PC notebook computers to record digital free-to-air TV via PCMCIA slots or USB, to say nothing of all those new desktops and laptops running Microsoft’s new Windows Media Centre Edition, and the MythTV-based version, the Melbourne-built Home Media Centre from d1.com.au that we recently reviewed. You can bet they won’t be showing too many commercials.
These devices are being adopted without fanfare by a rapidly growing number of Australians, despite the fact that the electronic program guides, which fostered explosive sales in the US of TiVo devices over the past five years, are not easily available here.