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Sonicblue keeps piracy at bay with deal

Sonicblue cuts a deal with Macrovision to make sure movies and programs don't find their way onto the Internet.

Sonicblue renewed its agreement with Macrovision on Monday, ensuring that encrypted content played on its digital video recorders cannot be copied onto VCR tape or shared over the Internet.

The recording abilities of Sonicblue's ReplayTV line of digital video recorders (DVRs) have raised concern among television and movie networks, so much that the networks have filed suit against the consumer-electronics maker. The suit addresses ReplayTV's ability to record and distribute shows to other ReplayTV boxes via the Internet.

DVRs are similar to VCRs in the ability to record programs or movies, but the medium is different. VCRs record on tape, while DVRs record on hard drives. DVRs can also pause live TV shows, recording while pause is in effect so a viewer can resume a show at the same point where he or she left off.

The announcement on Monday is meant to cool some of the heat the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is feeling from the networks while addressing piracy concerns.

Through the agreement with Macrovision, Sonicblue will continue to incorporate Macrovision's video copy-protection technology, which prevents Sonicblue's device from transferring copy-protected content to a VCR or sharing such shows with other digital video recorders.

Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal.

Sonicblue only sells its devices through its Web site yet still managed to sell out over the holiday season.

Executives said the company will start selling a new high-end model of the ReplayTV line and combine DVD player and DVR capabilities into one device in the second half of the year.