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DirecTv, Philips Obtain TiVo Stakes

Both DirecTv and Philips have taken equity stakes in TiVo, the California-based developer of a personal video recorder system with which both investors have joint marketing relationships.

Under the deals, DirecTv said it becomes TiVo’s largest equity investor by taking more than a 10% stake in the company. Philips refused to disclose the terms of its investment of the size of its equity stake.

TiVo developed a video recorder system tied to an intelligent program guide system to automatically identify programs that fit a viewer’s preference profile and record it digitally to a hard drive.

At CES both DirecTv and Philips said they would work with TiVo to market set-top devices to their respective audiences. Philips will have a TiVo set-top box on the market this fall, and late this year or early in 2000, a TiVo recorder that integrates a DirecTv satellite receiver and DirecTv program listings will be available to DirecTv dealers.

DirecTv stated that part of the agreement involves working closely with TiVo “to market the TiVo Personal Television Service.” DirecTv said it will also develop a programming channel called “DirecTv Showcase” on the service.

Meanwhile, TiVo’s chief rival, Replay Networks, announced that it began shipping its first ReplayTV set-top hard disk video recorders at the end of April. Replay, like TiVo, currently sells its set-tops through direct orders taken from its web site but said it plans to make announcements of alliances with some consumer electronics manufacturers soon.

Replay’s set-tops are priced at $699 (for 10 hours of recording capacity), $899 (14 hours) and $1,499 (28 hours). Unlike TiVo, Replay does not charge for its program guide, but the current Replay service has no intuitive function that automatically finds programming to record for the viewer.