By Peter Blasina

With the Sex and the City movie upon us, it’s worth recalling one of the key relationships in the original series. Not the drama-filled romance between Carrie and Big, nor the action packed sexcapades of Samantha, or even the celibate marriage of Charlotte and Trey. We’re talking about the unconditional love Miranda found with an electronic box more dependable than any man in Manhattan: TiVo.

Australians are about to get their own chance to fall for the TiVo brand, personified by a cute bouncing television set with deeply-bopper antennae, when it launches here for online sale on July 15. The big question is whether – nine years after the first TiVo personal video recorders (or PVRs) appeared in the US – Aussies will embrace it.

Features

Our first impression is that there’s a lot to like, with TiVo ticking all the boxes on our digital video recorder shopping list. Like all hard drive-based PVRs it allows you to pause and rewind live TV, and it has dual HDTV tuners, so you can enjoy hi-def broadcasts and record two shows at once while playing back something you saved earlier. There’s an HDMI connection for sending the high quality digital pictures and sound to your TV or AV receiver, and even an e-SATA jack so you can plug in an ultra-fast external hard drive if you want to store more than the 20 hours of HDTV, or 180 hours of standard definition shows, TiVo can hold.

You can even connect TiVo to a home network via an Ethernet cable or using the USB wireless adaptor. That enables you to listen to Podcasts and internet radio, stream music, video and photos from your PC, and even copy recorded shows back to your computer so they can be transferred to a portable device such as an iPod or PSP – a service called TiVoToGo.

In the future you’ll be able to use the TiVo remote to download TV shows, movies and music over the internet on demand. And this broadband connectivity delivers another extremely important asset – TiVo’s internet connectivity makes it virtually future-proof. As upgrades and additional features are added to the system you will be able to simply download these to TiVo’s firmware and the expansion of its operation happens automatically.