Philippines now has its own 'TiVO'

By Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Mar 21 2011 05:48 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2011 01:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - "Now, you don't have to fight over the remote control."

Lopez-owned Sky Cable Corp. made this promise on Monday as it unveiled a device that is similar to the TiVO personal video recorder (PVR) in the United States.

The iRecord, an enhanced version of the company's DigiBox, allows Sky Cable subscribers to record their favorite shows for later viewing -- whether it be a currently airing broadcast, or a program set to be aired on a said date.

Said to be the first in the Philippines, the slim device also lets them record 2 shows simultaneously while watching a third channel, as shown by company officials during the launch.

"We want to provide consumer control over their viewing experience. This is just the first of a few more of our innovations for this year," said Rey Montinola, Sky Cable's marketing head.

The iRecord is targeted mainly at working class Filipinos, the "very busy ones who can't always catch up on the schedules of free TV or cable because of their demanding schedules."

Aside from storing videos, the new device can also pause live broadcasts as well and play recorded shows in slow motion or frame by frame.

"The Filipino viewer has been waiting for this. We are finally ready," Montinola said.

The iRecord is initially available to Sky Cable's postpaid subscribers in Metro Manila for P399 per month on top of their monthly bill.

A refundable deposit of P4,999 is also required to avail of the said device.

Limits

Just like many first-generation devices, the iRecord has its own set of limitations, which Sky Cable said will be fixed soon.

For one, it can only record up to 320 gigabytes of video, equal to 125 hours of standard definition (SD) programs or up to 86 hours of high-definition (HD) shows.

And unlike a number of PVRs in other countries, the device is also unable to detect and skip commercials, which may take up a lot of space, while recording.

Montinola said they are willing to come up with the necessary adjustments to the device should there be a demand for more storage space.

Piracy?

To avoid piracy, Sky Cable made sure that videos stored in the iRecord may only be viewed using the device.

This means recorded shows cannot be transferred to laptops and other hard disks, or uploaded to the Internet, at least according to the officials of the company.

"These (recorded videos) are not exportable because of licenses. We want to keep our programs secure," said Malou Esparrago, Sky Cable's head for postpaid marketing.

Even with all these limitations, there's no denying that the iRecord has taken Philippines' television viewing a notch higher.

We'll soon find out if the Philippines' TIVO will be a hit.

For more information about Sky Cable's DigiBox iRecord, call +632 631-0000 or log on to mysky.com.ph.

abs-cbnNEWS.com is the online news department of ABS-CBN Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corp. ABS-CBN and Sky Cable are both part of the Lopez Group of Companies.