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ReplayTV strikes big-screen deal

The maker of set-top boxes, which allow viewers to control the programming on their televisions, strikes a deal with Universal Pictures to deliver film trailers and home-video previews.

ReplayTV, a maker of set-top boxes that allow viewers to control the programming on their televisions, has struck a deal with Universal Pictures to deliver movie trailers and home-video previews to its customers.

Under the agreement, Universal Pictures said it will use several advertising outlets offered by ReplayTV's service to promote and deliver content to its customers. On top of getting a sneak peek at the latest releases or home-video previews from Universal Pictures, people will also have the chance to check out behind-the-scenes footage and advanced clips that will only be available through ReplayTV.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

With the Universal deal, ReplayTV is looking to gain an edge on a growing number of rivals. The company's primary rival is TiVo, which is partially backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

ReplayTV makes set-top boxes that allow consumers to control the programming on their televisions and record shows to a hard disk instead of a traditional videocassette. With the service, viewers can pause, instantly replay, rewind, fast-forward, advance frames and watch in slow motion live sports events and TV shows.

Mountain View, Calif.-based ReplayTV has garnered considerable attention from high-profile investors including Excite@Home, Scientific-Atlanta, News Corp., Universal Music Group, Comcast, Motorola's broadband division, Sega and Matsushita Electric.

Last week, however, the company withdrew its initial public offering, citing poor market conditions. ReplayTV, which filed for the offering late last year, had planned to raise $109 million through the sale of 8.5 million shares at $13 to $15 each. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was the lead underwriter of the proposed sale.

Though ReplayTV and TiVo continue to gain attention from investors, the market has grown increasingly competitive with the entry of giants Microsoft and America Online. Earlier this summer, Microsoft announced plans for an all-in-one interactive TV device, which would eliminate the need for the separate programming set-top box sold by ReplayTV.

Around the same time, AOL introduced its play for the interactive TV market with a new service called AOLTV. The service is the online giant's effort to extend its interactive offerings, such as Internet access, email and instant messaging, to the TV screen.