IceTV launches Australia's first Ad-Skipping PVR Device

IceTV's Skippa  image - supplied/IceTV

IceTV's Skippa
image - supplied/IceTV

IceTV has announced its own branded PVR called Skippa. The device which goes on sale in June lets users create personalised catch-up TV from free-to-air content, without the time limits of the current catch-up TV products in the market.

Current catch-up TV products such as Tenplay or 7Plus store a small number of previously aired programs in the cloud for just a limited time. SKIPPA stores 560 hours of standard definition TV on its hard disk, for as long as you want. And with SKIPPA’s automatic ad-skipping, you can enjoy shows without adverts.

To allow for its advert skipping capabilities to be implemented, SKIPPA is not FreeviewPlus-certified. Any PVR with FreeviewPlus certification must be hobbled technically to remove ad-skipping abilities. Consumers can still enjoy the FreeviewPlus catch-up service without certification, because SKIPPA is compatible with the underlying HbbTV standard.

IceTV’s app enables consumers to record TV shows remotely from anywhere, anytime using a sleek user interface on a smartphone, tablet or PC. Use the app’s ‘Coming Soon’ feature to record new shows, or discover what's hot with IceTV’s recommendations before you decide to record. IceTV compiles Australia’s most reliable electronic program guide (EPG) for PVRs in order to deliver accurate recordings and facilitate advanced recording options. Set up a preference profile of favourite show title keywords, genres, actors or directors and SKIPPA will automatically record matching programs. Just set it, and when it airs it will be waiting for you.

“SKIPPA is Australia’s first PVR that skips TV adverts automatically. You can sit back, put the remote control away, relax and immerse yourself in a show without the need to press any buttons,” says IceTV’s CEO Heinz Herrmann.

The key to these intelligent features is IceTV’s existing  own EPG and smart recording software. IceTV fought a legal battle with the Nine Network for the right to create such an advanced EPG. Since the High Court ruled in IceTV’s favour in 2009, IceTV has continued to engineer its products in consultation with legal advice. IceTV considers its new AutoSkip feature could become a prime target for further legal action by the commercial TV broadcasters, which is why AutoSkip does not modify a consumer's TV recordings. Consumers record their shows as usual and decide later if they want to enjoy them with or without adverts.

SKIPPA has three tuners, which can record up to six programs at once while a seventh program is being watched (whether live or pre-recorded). This is not only useful for recording several overlapping programs, it also helps to control padding at the start and end of programs. SKIPPA automatically optimises its tuner allocations if it needs to record back-to-back shows. If another tuner is free, it will record each show on its own tuner with padding. If all tuners are in use, it will record shows from the same network on the same tuner. The PVR only drops padding to ensure a following show on another channel is recorded in full.

The 1 TB hard drive records up to about 560 hours of standard definition TV or about 250 hours of high definition TV. Internal content can be transferred via USB. The built-in WiFi allows for streaming of content to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. IceTV’s strategy is to extend these streaming capabilities to stream out of the home to mobile devices - so that you can view what you want, when you want, where you want and advert free.