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Philips Debuts 1st DirecTV/TiVo

NEW YORK -- The formal introduction of the first DirecTV/TiVo "combi" recorder highlighted a range of new products showcased by Philips during a "Christmas in June" line review held here.

Exact pricing on the DirecTV/TiVo recorder (model DSR6000) and corresponding service fees were not announced, but a Philips spokesman indicated they would be competitive with similar devices in the market, such as the just announced RCA DirecTV/WebTV UltimateTV system and the EchoStar/WebTV DishPlayer.

The Philips combi recorder will ship in "late fall."

Key to the new "combi" device is its ability to store bitstream signals directly as received from DirecTV satellites. This will allow storing up to 30 hours of video in on "best quality" format, without the need for the compressed lower-resolution formats used in stand-alone TiVo devices.

The combi player will incorporate both TiVo and DirecTV onscreen program guide listings, and it will enable ordering and recording future showings of pay-per-view movies and events.

Not included, however, is a dual-tuner mechanism that would enable watching one channel while recording another. Version 2.0 of the TiVo software is expected to be available when the unit ships. This will add a host of new features to the TiVo service, such as a "Wish List" function that will help viewers find programs by favorite actors, directors, themes, etc.

Philips said it is phasing out the first 14-hour TiVo recorder as it delivers its new lineup starting in August. Three new TiVo personal video recorders will be available, including the HDR212 ($299, 20-hour capacity); HDR312 ($399, 30-hour capacity) and the HDR612 ($699, 60-hour capacity).

TiVo continues to charge $9.95 per month for its service or $199 for a lifetime subscription.

In another digital video recording update, Philips said it plans to offer its first DVD+RW video recorder by the end of the year for a price "below $3,000."

The company continues to promote the backward compatibility of DVD+RW recordings with legacy DVD video players as a major selling advantage over rival formats, although Pioneer recently started making similar claims about its DVD-R and DVD-RW (at select bit rates) discs.