BSkyB to launch TiVo rival box at lower price

British Sky Broadcasting is launching an enhanced set-top box, with “personal video” capability. The box will be priced at about &£300.

The launch of Sky+, the UK’s first integrated personal television recorder and digital TV service, will be supported by a &£5m marketing campaign using press and outdoor advertising.

Some industry experts had expected the price of Sky+ to be nearer &£400. The new set-top box undercuts the retail price of the TiVo personal video recorder, which was launched in a marketing partnership with BSkyB last year, priced at &£399.

However, TiVo is platform-neutral and can be used with any service.

Subscribers who want access to Sky+ listings will have to pay a &£10 a month subscription fee, the same as subscribers to TiVo.

Analysts expect that BSkyB’s sales target will be about 100,000 in the first year. TiVo reported global subscriber figures of 189,000 for the year ending April 30. In the UK, TiVo is understood to have signed up more than 5,000 subscribers.

BSkyB subsidises basic set-top boxes, which are given away free, but analysts expect that this practice will be phased out in 2003.

Personal video recorders automatically record viewers’ favourite programmes without the need for a video cassette.

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