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TiVo Partners To Enter PC TV Tuner Market

Nero will develop software for a PC-based DVR that can be connected to a digital TV
Nero, a maker of DVD-burning software, has agreed to develop software that will bring TiVo's popular digital video recording software and program guide to the PC, a move that would create a competitor to Microsoft's Windows Media Center.

The partnership announced Wednesday is the latest example of how TiVo is trying to move into other markets as sales of its DVR machines are increasingly threatened by cable, satellite, and telephone companies offering similar devices with their television subscription services.

Under the deal, Nero would develop software that would provide a PC-based DVR that could be connected to a digital TV. Computer manufacturers offer PCs with TV tuners that can be connected to TV services. Market researcher In-Stat forecasts that 50.8 million PC TV tuners will be sold worldwide by 2011.

The deal also holds the promise of getting TiVo technology to an international market. Nero has offices in Germany, Japan, and China, as well as the United States. The companies did not release a timetable for the software release, or pricing.

"This agreement provides TiVo with an opportunity to deliver its interface and differentiated feature set globally via the PC, enabling TiVo to use all avenues of mass distribution -- from consumer electronics, to cable and satellite boxes, and soon, the PC," Tom Rogers, president and chief executive of TiVo, said in a statement.

DVR, PC, and even videogame console makers are adding software and networking capabilities to position their products as entertainment hubs for the home. A technology that could boost home networking of entertainment devices is 802.11n, the latest Wi-Fi spec for wireless transmission of video content.

An increasing number of high-definition TVs are expected to ship with the technology that eliminates the need for wires, making it easier for people to network devices throughout the home. Hewlett-Packard is an example of a computer and TV maker that plans to sell an increasing number of 802.11n-enabled products.

Microsoft has offered Windows Media Center for years to computer manufacturers. The software's capabilities have been added as an upgrade to the premium version of Windows Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system.