Digital recording service TiVo shut down

TiVo was popular overseas, but not so much in New Zealand (Getty)
TiVo was popular overseas, but not so much in New Zealand (Getty)

After eight years, TiVo is shutting down its New Zealand service.

The digital recording device had a troubled launch in 2009. Only sold through Telecom stores, uptake was slow.

By 2011, investor TVNZ valued its original $9.7 million stake in TiVo distributor Hybrid Television Services at zero.

Sales of the $920 boxes were never disclosed, but Telecom (now rebranded as Spark) admitted in 2010 it missed its Christmas target. The New Zealand Herald reported at the time only 2000 TiVo boxes had been sold.

In contrast, MySky has around 500,000 subscribers in New Zealand - and that costs money every month, unlike TiVo, which once paid for, was yours to use for free.

Now the service is being shut off completely. In a message to subscribers, TiVo New Zealand said it will end on October 31.

"There will be no electronic programming guide and TiVo recording features such as Season Pass and WishList will stop working.

"Your TiVo device will have extremely limited functionality and we discourage customers from using it after October 31."

Subscribers are urged to dump their devices at an e-cycling facility.

"We are sure you will find plenty of home entertainment alternatives out there."

Financial returns on the Companies Office website show Hybrid Television Service's profit dropping from $163,324 in 2010 to $1649 in 2013.

The company was removed from the register in 2015.

New TiVo boxes have been hard to come by in New Zealand for a number of years now, though second-hand devices can be found for sale on Trade Me for as little as $50.

TiVo is ending its Australian service on the same day.

At the end of 2016, more than 1 million Kiwis lived in homes subscribed to Netflix, and 630,000 to Lightbox. More than 330,000 had both, while only 127,000 had either Neon or Quickflix.