Personal video recorder (PVR) Tivo has been pulled out of the UK in a move which will cast doubt over the viability of PVRs as standalone devices, writes David
The service, which enables viewers to automatically record their favourite TV shows onto a hard disk and skip ads, has struggled to gain a foothold since it launched in the UK three years ago and is estimated to have only 35,000 UK subscribers.
Last month Tivo's UK-based vice-president, Andrew Cresci, moved back to Calfornia to concentrate on global licensing initiatives for Tivo software.
A Tivo spokeswoman confirmed: ?The contract with Thomson to manufacture Tivo [set-top boxes] has come to an end so if you wanted to purchase Tivo in the UK there are limited stocks available.'
Existing customers will continue to be supplied with programme information from software outfit Tribune, and marketing and customer support from Sky. Any defective boxes will continue to be serviced under warranty by Thomson.
Tivo's remaining stocks are available on the high street, with Dixons selling them for£229.99, inclusive of the programme guide. Sky's rival PVR, Sky+, costs£250 plus an installation charge of£50 and a£10-a-month subscription. It has around 38,000 subscribers.
Despite Tivo's lack of success in the UK, the company reported a total of 510,000 subscriptions last November - almost all in the US. It aims to chalk up a subscriber base of 1 million by 2004.