TiVo and ReplayTV Announce New Alliances

Last week, Panasonic announced that it will market hard-disk video recorders with ReplayTV technology under the Panasonic brand. The company expects to be one of the first outside Replay Networks, Inc. to market hard-disk recorders with ReplayTV, which allows television viewers to record shows "on the fly" directly onto a built-in hard disk.

Specific models and features have not yet been announced, but Panasonic says that models will vary based on the amount of recording time available. The new devices are expected to be available for the 1999 holiday selling season, and manufacturer's suggested retail prices have not been determined. The hard-disk drives used in the new products will be from Quantum Corporation.

Replay's Network Service is delivered to the set-top device using a standard telephone line to access the service and download updates of local broadcast information and other programming data, In addition, the telephone line automatically sets the device's internal clock and provides periodic software updates to allow in-the-field upgrades.

On June 9, NBC and ReplayTV rival TiVo, Inc. announced a strategic partnership in conjunction with NBC's equity investment in TiVo. NBC, the first broadcaster to invest in TiVo's personal-television product, joins other equity investment partners, including Philips Electronics, DirecTV, Showtime Networks, Allegro Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Vulcan Ventures. Terms of the investment have not been disclosed.

About the deal, Tom Rogers, president of NBC Cable, said that "NBC has continued to lead in the next generation of television---Internet-enhanced TV, digital TV, and now personal TV---which is what TiVo is all about. TiVo has established an innovative approach to digital recording in a way that maintains the integrity of our advertising model. There are so many TV options today---TiVo is about organizing choice and empowering the viewer in a way that creates a constantly changing personal video library that will most benefit first-run programming like NBC's by increasing the viewership of programs."