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TiVo calls time on ageing set-tops

Nine-year-old kit marked end-of-line

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Long-time UK TiVo owners are up in arms because the company is to effectively stop their boxes from working to the full.

TiVo has announced that from the start of June, its old PVRs will no longer operate beyond playback of TV programmes that have already been recorded at the point.

TiVo insisted that the boxes "may" be able to record programmes manually, but there will be no electronic programme guide (EPG) and the boxes will have "limited - if any - functionality".

TiVo justified the move because the boxes, originally offered through Sky and by manufacturer Thomson, have not been sold or marketed for the last nine years. Two years ago, in 2009, it entered into a new deal with Virgin Media, which late last year introduced an entirely new TiVo-based box, tied to its cable TV network.

Quite how many TiVo users are affected by the closure isn't known, but a fair few are complaining online about what they perceive as TiVo's shoddy treatment of its UK fans.

TiVo countered by saying it hasn't been billing them for its service since November 2010, and that there is an upgrade path, of sorts.

TiVo suggested its customers hotfoot it to Virgin Media, which is not yet shipping its new TiVo box but is asking punters to register their interest in the gadget. But not everyone who has an old TiVo machine lives in an area cabled up by Virgin, which is currently available to just over half the UK population.

Should old-style TiVo users really complain about losing a service to a box that's now at least nine years old? What do you think. ®

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