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TiVo steps into online content

The company announces price cuts as well as technology that allows movies and music to be downloaded from the Net to DVRs.

TiVo has developed new services to allow movies and music to be downloaded from the Internet to its digital video recorders and has cut prices for its current plans to boost subscriptions.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company announced Wednesday price cuts for services used with its Series2 standalone digital video recorders, or DVRs. As previously reported, TiVo's networking software--a $99 option called Home Media Option--will become part of its standard service offering for both monthly and lifetime subscribers.

The company also is offering those with multiple TiVo boxes a price cut for additional recorders. The monthly subscription rate for the first recorder remains $12.95, but additional recorders now cost $6.95. Lifetime subscriptions remain $299.

TiVo said no changes are planned for the price or features offered with DirecTV TiVo boxes.

The company has been developing advanced services for downloading movies and music from the Internet, as well as new advertising services. But no timetable has been set for those features, a company representative said. The Internet plans were first reported by The New York Times on Tuesday.

TiVo's relationship with its main partner, DirecTV, has gone through some turmoil during the past couple of days, as DirecTV sold its stake in TiVo and DirecTV's vice chairman left TiVo's board. Analysts have cited concerns over the moves because most of TiVo's subscriptions are from DirecTV customers.

TiVo has been looking to attract more standalone subscribers as well as licensees of its DVR technology.

At the same time, TiVo has developed new services to allow its recorders to connect to home networks and play more of a role in what is more and more being referred to as the digital home, which is made up of home devices connected to one another by a network.

The Home Media Option software is part of that effort. It allows TiVo boxes to access and distribute content such as music files and digital photos stored on the hard drives of Apple Computer's Macs or on Windows PCs, streaming them to TV sets or stereos via wired or wireless home networks.