TiVo To Enter the Canadian Market

One week after my column asking for a legal TiVo in Canada, I got half my wish as TiVo's will soon be sold by several Canadian retailers.  I suspect I'll have to wait much longer for a time shifting provision in Canadian copyright law.


  1. You’ll have to wait even longer if you expect it to be easy to use. Digital cable and satellite providers in Canada control the decoding and decryption for their television signals. Of course it’s profitable to be the only supplier of set-top-boxes (STB) and DVRs for your service (especially when they charge you *per month* for each STB as ExpressVu does) so they have no interest in letting Tivo interoperate. That means Tivo has to do things the hard way and act like a glorified VCR, taking the output of the STB and recording that. One implication of this is that Tivo can’t record High-Definition content (when operated in this way). Additionally the Tivo may have to control channel changes ‘manually’ by pointing an internal ‘remote control’ at the STB.

    In the US there is CableCard that seeks to address this issue but in Canada there is nothing that ensures interoperability and competition.

  2. Larry Borsato says:

    I brought my TiVo from the US a couple of years ago and signed up perfectly legally in Canada (from TiVo’s point of view anyway). I use mine on my analog cable with no issues at all – it works just as it does in the US. I’m not sure how the HD TiVos work though. Of course it doesn’t matter because you won’t be able to buy them in Canada.

    By the way, you can’t really compare TiVo to a PVR. It’s far more than a simple video recorder. Once you’ve used TiVo you watch tv in a whole different way and you simply can’t live without it.