As one of Matt's friends who is doing this I'll answer some of the Tivo related questions
Matthew, do the people running TiVos locally have to manually switch Sky channels on their boxes in order to record the different shows? That's the most frustrating thought of buying a PVR - oh and the EPG problem.
Dear god no! The Tivo has an IR blaster built in which allows it to change the channel of the Sky box by itself. It does have to be programmed to give out the correct IR codes however.
As for the EPG, there is a local Tivo community who create an EPG which is then distributed automatically to the Tivo's of the community via the net. I've found the EPG to be at least as good as the one provided by Sky. My Tivo is connected via wireless to my home network and connects to the community server every night and downloads the latest EPG.
Gary's answer above is correct, but I don't know of anyone doing it this way. My Tivo works in basically the same way as one in the US, except that I don't pay a monthly fee :)
Russell is also correct in that there is a bit of an ongoing issue with the content providers vs the PVR community with regard to getting the EPG data.
From the Herald today in a section on last minute gift ideas:
"For the music lover
If you've got iTunes on your computer, then it's easy to make a compilation of music you think they will enjoy and burn it on to a CD. Then, using old magazine pictures or photographs, make a CD cover with a personal message. On the inside of the cover, write your Christmas greetings."
I went to Macworld NY one year, at Renaissance's expense because Apple Australia didn't give a crap about NZ journalists. When we got there, the Apple Aust comms person proved highly adept at organising expensive dinner outings, less so at doing anything remotely useful for me.
Funnily enough I was on that trip. Your stories about being a "dubious package" cycle courier were most amusing :)
And who is going to sell their shares in Renaissance? AFAIK they have had great growth over the last couple of years on the back of Apple. If they lose it then what happens to the share price?
Renaissance has little intrinsic value beyond it's Apple distributorship. If it were to lose that it's shares would tank.
This is the main reason that I don't believe that they are about to lose Apple. If R staff knew this was about to happen then they would be required to inform the NZSX and request a trading halt.
Never heard of Conduit before, but it appears to be closely related to Renaissance Corporation Ltd, which holds all the shares in it.
Conduit were setup by Renaissance after they inhouse developed a new information system (stock control, web sales, etc). They thought that they could sell this new product to recoup the sunk costs of development, it has been mildly successful.
As for the Renaissance "bad" vs Apple "good" debate, I'll have to agree with John Holley. I'm also an ex-employee of the big red R and I totally agree that Apple Oz is certainly responsible for a significant amount of the angst at Renaissance. However Renaissance is also incredably adept at shooting themselves in the foot.
The major advantage of R losing the distribution contract and Apple seting up shop locally is that the Apple Oz tax need not apply.