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TiVo pitches DVRs as home network hub

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TiVo has unveiled plans to position its digital video recorders at the centre of home entertainment networks.

From this spring, users of TiVo Series 2 Digital Video Recorders will be able to link the device over a network with either Apple or Windows PCs, using TiVo's Home Media Option. TiVo Home Media Option costs a one-off fee of $99 for the first Series 2 unit, and $49 for each additional unit within a home.

The TiVo Home Media Option will allow subscribers to stream MP3 music files and photos stored on the PC directly to the family TV. Video can be streamed from a TiVo in the bedroom to a TiVo DVR in the living room. TiVo doesn't mention streaming video from computers to its devices, a feature absent for now from the technology (possibly because of piracy concerns).

The technology is compatible with either wired or wireless home networking and lets users to change the scheduling of recordings when they are way from home. Linksys is to be the preferred supplier of wireless networking kit to TiVo's customers.

TiVo has signed content deals with Universal Music Group and Corbis aimed at increasing the appeal of its technology.

TiVo Home Media Option service release features "advanced conditional access technology designed to protect the rights of copyright holders", the company notes. Its Digital Rights Management technology is based in part on digital certificate pairs on its DVRs that allows content to be transferred between paired devices, but not outside a home.

TiVo announced its home networking strategy at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. ®

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