Where to next for Aussie EPG?

If you, like me, are a big fan of ‘on demand’ TV viewing – whether it’s of the downloaded variety, online TV like Joost, or Foxtel’s iQ, then you’re probably quite interested in recent developments here in Australia.

We’ve all seen the news about Channel 7 bringing TiVO to Australia in 2008, and that the free to air broadcasters have finally decided to stop throwing up fences and allow PVR manufacturers to have access to the Electronic Program Guides we need to be able to program and control the recording of TV shows.

We’ve taken a couple of decent steps in the right direction recently.There was the announcement that we’ll get TiVo in Australia in 2008, and Ice TV won their long running copyright battle with Channel 9,who were trying to stop Ice from listing 9 programs in its EPG, by claiming breach of copyright.

It will also be interesting to see how Ice’s business develops in Australia now that they have the Channel 9 court case off their backs. The court found that IceTV doesn’t breach Nine’s copyright in creating its independently compiled IceTV Guide. I am not a lawyer, but hopefully this paves the way for any company to offer an Australian EPG, particularly because it looks like the TV industry isn’t through trying to restrict our access to EPGs.

When FreeTV Australia announced they’d release their program details to PVR manufacturerrs, they said “any EPG service provider will be able to receive our data and make it available on a range of retail consumer equipment.” I don’t think they’ve come right out and said it, but they’re expected to try to restrict pesky features like ad-skipping.

It’s possible that TiVo in Australia will be similarly neutered, as our friends from Gizmodo AU pointed out a while back. I know that TiVo in the US has gradually reduced its ad-skipping features to keep TV companies onside, but I’ve been hearing so many good things about TiVo for so long, I’m prepared to wait and see. I really want it to be good.

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