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Humax, TiVo team on 300-hour recorder

New DVR has the potential to be the enlightened consumer's "home server," one executive says.

Humax USA and TiVo are feeding the appetites of couch potatoes everywhere, with a new digital video recorder that can store up to 300 hours of programming.

Humax, a manufacturer of set-top boxes, announced Tuesday that two new digital video recorders made for use with TiVo's service will be available later this month at retail stores nationwide.

The T2500, priced as $699, will store up to 300 hours of television shows, while the T800, priced at $299, will store up to 80 hours. By contrast, other DVRs on the market typically hold between 40 and 160 hours of programming.

DVRs can be used to record live television, record shows in advance, store programs and pause live programs while they're being recorded, without disrupting the recording. Humax has a license to build DVRs for use with the popular TiVo service. The service has 1.6 million subscribers.

The popularity of such high-capacity recorders are part of a growing trend among techie consumers to own content, as digital media becomes more prevalent because of its portable and transferable nature.

About 80 percent of DVR owners have over 25 movies in some form, whether on DVD, videotape or some other media, and 55 percent have more than 50 movies, according to research company Parks Associates.

"It's apparent DVR owners like to have content around the house," said John Barrett, Parks Associates' director of research. "Inevitably, higher capacities is the way DVRs are going to go, and that will change the way people will use a DVR--building up a library of movies, shows and recording entire seasons of shows."

Tony Goncalves, Humax's vice president of sales and marketing, agreed, but he added that recorders will also play an increasingly important role as a sort-of central server in the home, where digital music, photos and other content can be stored and accessed from multiple devices.

TiVo's Home Media Option is designed to cater to that trend. The Home Media feature allows TiVo boxes to access and distribute content to different devices within the home over wired and wireless networks. TiVo recently made Home Media part of its standard service offering.

"With that much capacity and the Home Media feature, these recorders have the potential to be a home server," Goncalves said.

The new recorders will be available at several retail outlets, including Good Guys, Circuit City, J&R Music and Computer World, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Electronics Expo, and Vann's.