NEW YORK - TiVo Inc. and Nero AG of Germany were set to announce Monday that they will be launching a package that turns a Windows PC into a TV recorder, just like a TiVo set-top box.
The kit will cost $199 when it goes on sale Oct. 15, and includes a remote and a TV tuner that plugs into the PC. The interface on the computer screen looks just like the one on a TV equipped with a TiVo box.
It's not the first software that allows TV recording on the PC. That's been possible for years on computers equipped with TV tuners, and some versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system include the necessary software. But it will be the first time that both the TiVo interface and functions have been replicated on a PC.
The Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC will go on sale initially in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but it could open up some markets where TiVo does not yet sell its set-top boxes. Joshua Danovitz, vice president and general manager of international business at TiVo, said the plan is to launch it in Europe next year, including in Nero's home country, Germany. Britain is the only European country where TiVo currently has subscribers.
"It's really part of a global TiVo strategy," Danovitz said.
For people who already have a tuner-equipped PC, Nero — a private company mainly known for CD- and DVD-burning software — will sell the TV recording software separately, for $99. Either way, buyers will get a one-year subscription to TiVo's program guide updates. Renewal will cost $99 per year.
The renewal cost sets the product apart from the digital video recording features of Windows Vista, which has a free program guide. However, Nero and TiVo are counting on the popularity of the TiVo interface and brand to overcome that hurdle.
Like TiVo's existing TiVo Desktop software, LiquidTV will allow users to transfer shows recorded on other TiVo devices in the home to the PC's hard drive, and bring shows out of the home, either on a laptop's drive or on an iPod or PlayStation Portable. LiquidTV also allows users to burn shows onto DVDs if the computer has a DVD burner.
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