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Humax, TiVo recorder aims for prime time

The companies target mainstream audiences with a low-cost combination digital video recorder and DVD burner box.

Set-top box maker Humax USA is looking to bring its combination digital video recorder and DVD burner into prime time with a price for the mainstream audience.

As expected, Humax, a licensee of TiVo's digital video recorder (DVR) technology, announced Thursday the availability of a combination DVR and DVD burner product, called the DRT800 DVD, for $499. The company is offering a $100 rebate on the box, which can also play DVD discs.

The combination DVR and DVD box allows consumers to record TV programming and then burn it to DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. Humax's DRT800 can record up to 80 hours on its hard drive. TiVo's design for these combination systems limits users to DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.

A key part of TiVo's strategy to increase its subscriber base is partnering with manufacturers to expand the number of products that can tap into its service. Fees for TiVo's service are $12.95 per month or $299 for the life of the recorder. The service allows consumers to pause and record live TV broadcasts and program boxes to record future shows.

TiVo also has relationships with Sony, Pioneer and Toshiba to use its technology in their consumer electronics products.

TiVo has a significant partnership with satellite provider DirecTV, where a majority of its subscribers come from. However, the company has struggled to sign up major service operators, such as cable companies, to use its service.

In addition to licensees, TiVo is developing a video-on-demand service with partner Netflix as another means of popularizing its DVR service.