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The New PVR Competition

Techstination feature for Wednesday, July 17, 2002

To subscribe or not to subscribe... the new PVR competition. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Tivo and Replay are the two best known names among PVRs, boxes containing hard drives that let you pause live TV, record shows and skip commercials. Owners have to pay monthly subscription fees or a one time up front charge to receive program guides. But they'll be getting some competition soon from some well known consumer electronics companies. Thomson... which makes the RCA and Scenium brands is planning to launch a combination DVD player... no fee hard drive recorder. Senior Executive VP for worldwide audio and video... Al Arras...

"We don't have any back channel connection and we have a Gemstar Guide in here. Therefore you can utilize that for looking forward and recording shows that go out ahead."

The Scenium Digital Media Recorder includes some other new features... including the ability to store and play digital photographs and music. About the strategy to avoid those subscription fees... Arras says...

"Another subscription fee on top of what people are spending. That's a little bit of a burden. Number two, we think by combining the DVD and hard disk capability into one box, there's a lot of convenience benefits that you get.

The price... come this September... about 600 dollars. For about twice the price Panasonic is taking a similar no fee approach with its combination hard disk box that adds DVD recording capability as well. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.