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Quick Hits: Microsoft and TIVO Unity

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Popular recorder expands its reach.

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A personal computer running Microsoft (MSFT) Windows will soon be able to function like a TV recorder.

TiVo (TIVO) and Nero of Germany on Monday announced a package that replicates the functions of TiVo's set-top box.

The package will cost $199 and will go on sale October 15. It includes a remote and a TV tuner that plugs into your personal computer, and the interface on the computer screen Minyanville's Why Wall Street Will Never Be the Samelooks and functions just like a TV connected to a TiVo box.

"In recent years, the amount of digital entertainment content available to average consumers has exploded," Bruce McGregor, a senior analyst at Digital Home Services for Current Analysis, said in a prepared statement:

"Consumers have increasingly conformed to using mobile devices and the PC as sources of video entertainment. As a result, they are looking for ways to port their favorite television content onto multiple mobile formats. There is an emerging opportunity for a PC-based DVR service that offers easy access to television content on a wide variety of devices."

The new software package isn't the first that allows TV recording on a personal computer. That's been possible for several years on PCs equipped with TV tuners and some versions of Microsoft's Vista operating system. However, the new Tivo-Nero system will be the first time that both the TiVo interface and functions have been fully replicated on a personal computer.

The new package, called Nero Liquid TV/TiVo PC, is scheduled to go on sale in the US, Canada and Mexico, but could be available in markets where TiVo doesn't sell its set-top boxes. The package is scheduled to go on sale in Europe next year. TiVo is now available only in Britain.

Nero is a privately held company that developed one form of CD- and DVD-burning software. For those who already have a tuner-equipped PC, Nero will offer TV recording software separately for $99. In either case, buyers will get a one-year subscription to TiVo's program guide updates. The renewal fee will be $99 a year.

Windows Vista offers a free program guide. But Tivo and Nero are banking on the popularity of TiVo and strength of the brand to trump Microsoft and give the companies a leg up on Sony (SNE).

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