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DVR technology comes to video iPods

New software and hardware allow TV watchers to record shows directly to their PCs, video iPods and Sony PlayStation Portables.

If you have a video iPod and want to watch ABC's "Lost" on it, you don't necessarily have to pay Apple Computer for the opportunity to download the show from the iTunes store.

That's because Hauppauge Computer Works has released Wing, a software application that, in conjunction with its WinTV-PVR hardware--a plug-in card that brings personal video recorder technology to PCs--allows users to record television shows directly to their video iPods or Sony PlayStation Portables.

"People can record their favorite TV shows and put them in a portable format and carry them around," said Ken Plotkin, president of Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Hauppauge Computer Works.

Essentially, Wing is like TiVo for the video iPod or the PSP. It works by digitally recording TV programming directly from a user's PC to a portable device via the Hauppauge card. Users who want premium cable content, such as HBO programming, would need to connect a set-top box or satellite receiver to their PC.

Recording programs using Wing typically takes about twice as long as playback, said Plotkin. For example, a one-hour episode of "Desperate Housewives" would take about two hours to record.

The Wing software costs $24.95 and the card itself runs $99, said Plotkin.

He also said that users needn't worry that they're breaking the law when using Wing. That's because the software is designed for personal use only.

"It's like recording to a VHS tape and putting it onto a VHS player," he said. "There's nothing here that helps people if they want to take a TV show and distribute it."