By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Humax USA, new subsidiary of a leading South Korean set-top box manufacturer, recently announced it will carry four TiVo personal video recorder set-tops, and a line of LCD TVs with integrated live pause and rewind functionality.
The company said it will ship in June two standalone TiVo Series 2 set-top personal video recorders — one incorporating an 80GB hard drive (model T800) at a $299 suggested retail, and the other stepping up to a 250GB hard drive (model T2500) at a $699 suggested retail.
TiVo service subscriptions for program guide data will be available at rates of $12.95 per month or $299 lifetime.
The company said that Tweeter and The Good Guys were among the first major dealers to sign on to carry the TiVo product line at launch.
Later in the year, Humax will introduce TiVo-powered combination DVD recorders/PVRs with 80-hour (model DRT-800) and 250-hour (model DRT-2500) hard-drive storage capacities, at suggested retail prices of $599 and $999, respectively.
Purchasers will have the option of taking TiVo's free basic programming service or stepping up to a more robust service at the above-mentioned rates.
As for the future, Richard Martens, Humax national product line manager, said the company "is looking at offering HDTV TiVo recorders in 2005" and continues to talk with satellite and cable TV providers for possible combination products.
In flat-panel television, Humax has decided to target the specialty A/V and custom-installation distribution channels by offering lines of large-screen fully integrated HDTV plasma and LCD TV sets. All will be distinguished by highly-styled cosmetic designs and inclusion of flash memory to enable pausing and rewinding live programming, in a manner similar to separate PVRs.
In addition, all models will include widescreen aspect ratios, ATSC tuners, custom integration capability and an extensive array of inputs including HDMI with HDCP.
Beginning in September the company will launch its first flat-panel HDTV sets in a 32W-inch direct-view LCD HDTV and the 42W-inch plasma HDTV.
The 32W-inch L3245 LCD TV will feature 1,280 by 768 resolution, two NTSC tuners and one built-in ATSC tuner. It will have a black bezel cosmetic design. It will carry a $3,499 suggested retail.
The 42W-inch HD plasma set will offer 1,024 by 1,024 resolution, ATSC tuning, and will carry a $4,499 suggested retail. It will have black bezel cosmetic design.
Additionally, the company is considering the addition of "another large-screen LCD HDTV model, with details such as size still to be determined.
In related news, TiVo announced its new TiVoToGo service will launch in the fall for standalone receivers. Subscribers to TiVo's Home Media Option networking service will be able to move recordings on a TiVo hard drive to a laptop PC for viewing on the road or to any desktop PC. Users will also be able to burn the recordings to removable discs.
To protect against the unauthorized redistribution of content, TiVo has devised a "security key" that plugs into a PC's USB drive to unlock media for transfer, playback and recording.
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