TiVo and MySky Compared

The age of the PVR is here. That’s personal video recorder to you and I – a device that digitally records your tv signal to a hard drive, allowing you to watch your recordings at a time you choose.

The profile of these devices has lifted in recent months because of two PVR’s in particular; the MySky device for sky subscribers and the TiVo which is now available for people who want to record free to air channels.  There are other types of boxes out there (and in fact TelstraClear will launch a new one next year) but for this post we will restrict our attention to the MySky and TiVo options.


The most common question we’ve been getting is “what’s the difference between the two?” Well you can talk about features all you like but the basic difference is philosophical (and perhaps a bit financial).  The TiVo unit will most likely be be bought by people who are opposed to paying Sky a monthly subscription for their viewing content.

TiVo has a lot of catching up to do on Sky.  At present, there are 120,000 MySky boxes in operation in New Zealand according to numbers supplied by the company.  On the other hand, Hybrid TV, the company behind TiVo and part owned by TVNZ, wants to sell 160,000 units in the first 5 years.


Here’s how the systems compare:


Both boxes have a hard drive with enough storage for many hours of viewing.

They both have a comprehensive programme guide which allows you to view schedules several days in advance and book the programmes you wish to record.

Both allow you to programme link then record an entire series and record two channels while viewing a third.

You can also choose to fast forward through the ad breaks on both, providing you are viewing recorded content. You may feel tempted fast forward live content (as Kim Knight was in the Sunday Star Times) but unfortunately neither platform has that function yet. Shame.

Some of the differences

With MySky you have to pay an ongoing monthly subscription charge for your TV content while TiVo records free to air content only.

Both systems allow you to download specialized content (such as movies) for an additional fee but they do this in different ways.

TiVo downloads content through an active broadband connection if and when you request it. Interestingly your 160gb MySky box only lets you use half of the space for your own recording.  The other half is reserved by Sky. They download their current on demand selection to your box in the background just in case you choose to use it at any point.

Just a note, if you do want to download pay per view content from TiVo you must have an active broadband connection with Telecom. So, in at least one way, you may not totally avoid monthly subscriptions altogether!

For further reading on TiVo versus MySky follow these links

Chris Keall at the NBR: http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/chris-keall/no-you-dont-have-be-a-telecom-customer-a-tivo-qa

Sky Home: http://myskyhdi.co.nz/

TiVo NZ Site: http://www.mytivo.co.nz/

Story by John Buckley, media360 General Manager
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