Harvey Norman gets first dibs at TiVo

Seven will launch the TiVo on July 29 exclusively through Harvey Norman stores.

The Seven Media Group has announced that Harvey Norman will have the exclusive rights to sell TiVo when it launches in Australia on July 29.

The launch is designed to capitalise on the Beijing Olympic Games which start soon after on August 8.

The product will begin to feature prominently from later this week in Harvey Norman's catalogues, and will retail for $699. The deal also includes Harvey Norman's Domayne retail stores.

TiVo is a high definition set top box and recorder, allowing users to simultaneously record up to two free-to-air TV channels and watch a third channel live. Users can also pause or rewind live TV and record shows through an electronic program guide. The device, which needs a broadband connection, also offers users the ability to schedule TV shows for recoding by logging into the Yahoo7 Web site - either via PC or a Web enabled mobile phone.

Seven announced last May that it had struck a deal with TiVo to bring the device to Australia.

Harvey Norman executive director, David Ackery, said the two companies have been in discussion since then but negotiations only firmed up in the past three months.

Seven said it launched with Harvey Norman because of the retailer's huge geographical spread.

"We can get to basically every city, every town, throughout the country," said Ackery. "There is no question that we're the technology leaders - we sell more technology than any other retailer and we have got a huge advertising campaign on an ongoing basis."

Seven's sales director, James Warburton, said other retailers would come on board before the end of the year, but did not specify when. However, it is believed that Harvey Norman has a period of exclusivity of about 6 weeks.

Seven's Unwired division will be a key player in the distribution of the product.

"We have used their retail distribution [and] their logistics," said Warburton.

Unwired will receive the orders, do the product stocking, point of sale and the display areas in the stores. "That's their level of expertise. And they are offering that to us," he said.

Ackery said Harvey Norman was training its staff now to be ready for in-store demonstrations once the product goes on sale.

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