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TiVo's stock rises again on day two

The seller of a subscription service that lets people record television programs to view when they want continues to surge.

TiVo, a provider of "personal TV" services, rose 24 percent in its second day of trading, continuing the successful debut of a company entering the so-called information appliance market.

TiVo rose 7 to 36.93 today, a hike of 23.38 percent.

TiVo's hot second day follows the entrance of other technology and service providers in the market for information appliances such as Wink Communications, Phone.com, and Liberate Technologies, which have had successful debuts on Wall Street.

The Sunnyvale, California-based TiVo offers digital video recorders (DVR) and a complementary service that allows viewers to pause live TV shows by recording video to the device's hard drive. The company's service also allows viewers to customize television schedules and more.

The company's main competitor is Replay; both have received a tremendous amount of interest from big-name investors.

But the path for TiVo and Replay isn't without potential pitfalls. The ability to easily record programs and zip through commercials has made broadcasters uneasy. Furthermore, a number of media firms formed a group that warned the companies about infringing on their copyrighted material.

Both companies are also working to ensure that broadcasters are on board, because of the ad-skip capability.

TiVo has lined up an all-star roster of investors such as NBC, America Online, Disney, and Time Warner, which may be one factor in the stock's popularity today. Sony and Philips, which are also investors, have also agreed to make the personal video recorders that allow the company's service to function.

"Personal video recorders like TiVo will be the hottest electronics category in history," Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research, told Bloomberg.

Info appliances a hit with investors
TiVo's first day suggests how hot the market will be for information appliances--generally defined as a single-function digital device, unlike PCs. International Data Corporation (IDC) is predicting that sales of information appliances--which includes handheld computers, digital TV set-top boxes, smart phones, and the like--could outstrip PC sales by 2002.

Forrester estimates that 14 million people in the U.S. will have personal video recorders by 2004.

Not every device that comes out will be an immediate hit, though.

"There is definitely an opportunity for information appliances. That said, it is a long-term play," said Kevin Hause, an analyst with IDC.

Investors so far have also taken to technology providers such as Wink, Liberate, and Phone.com.

Phone.com, which supplies software for letting cell phones connect to the Internet, has seen its stock soar from its initial opening price of around 33 in June to today's closing price of 151.5.

Liberate, which provides software for interactive television and other information appliances, opened above its offering price of 20 in July, and shares are now hovering at more than double that. Liberate closed at 42.13 today.

Shares in Wink, which also provides software for interactive television, were offered at 16 per share in August. The stock closed today at 43.69.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.