Are downloadable movies on Tivo worth it?

It seems that the Tivo service is being expanded little by little in Australia.

First they introduced a weather page where you can look up your local city’s forecast.  It looks pretty, but it’s a little slow to navigate to.

But the big thing that’s coming is downloadable movies to the Tivo.   That’s right – you’ll be able to download a whole movie from the internet onto the TV to watch.  The first movie this weekend, “The Water Horse”, will be available free of charge, but I think they’re planning on charging in the future.  I think they plan to make it more of a “Movie on demand” type feature in the future, so I could choose from a range of movies.

I really wonder if this will pick up.  I mean – the information so far says that this weekend’s movie is 2.45GB.  This will of course will be included as part of your ISP’s internet downloads.  I’m currently on an iiNet $59.95 plan which comes with 15GB peak, 30GB offpeak = 45GB each month.   At these rates, 2.45GB works out to be $3.26 worth of my plan.   At this cost, plus plugging up my internet connection for a while to download it, I think I might as well drive to the local video library and borrow it on DVD.

And it will only get worse when they start charging for movies themselves.  I can only see this taking off if they make the movies very cheap to buy, or if they strike deals with ISPs to include the traffic as free traffic (like how iiNet has made iTunes and ABC’s iView traffic “free”).

Currently we’re on Broadband 1 type speeds (still waiting for an ADSL2 port at the exchange) with a maximum download of about 1MBit/sec.  If my calculations are correct, if I was able to achieve the full throughput, 2.45GB would take 5.84 hours to download – I suppose this could be done overnight – but this kinda ruins the whole “let’s choose a movie to watch tonight” plan.  At my current internet speeds, we’d have to choose it the night before!

How about if you had a different plan?  Let’s pretend that the casual Mum and Dad is on iiNet’s home 2 plan which is $39.95 for 10GB of downloads.   The movie then works out to be $9.78 in download costs alone!!   Whoa..

If you have a Tivo and plan to download movies, I’d definitely recommend calculating whether it’s worth it for you.   I suspect it would only be viable for people with massive download quotas.

And then it will take up valuable space on that tiny Tivo 60GB hard drive.

Oh well, we’ve already got “The Water Horse” on DVD so nothing much to look forward to…

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