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Replay doubles up to vie for holiday sales

Amazon.com inks exclusive e-tailing deal

In a move to stay competitive with rival TiVo, Replay Networks said it will double the recording capacity of its digital video recorder and has made Amazon.com its exclusive e-tailing partner leading up to the holiday shopping season.

Replay said it will retire its base model, which recorded 10 hours of programming, for ReplayTV 2020, which can record 20 hours of TV. The system will retail for the same price as the original player — $699 and no monthly fee. TiVo offers both a 14-hour and a 30-hour system.

Replay has also redesigned its remote control, which can control other home electronics products such as TVs, VCRs, DVD players and CD players.

Amazon.com’s electronics storefront will be only one of two e-tailers selling the ReplayTV system online (Replay’s Web site will be the other) through Nov. 15. At that time, the set-top boxes will be sold through other e-tailers, including 800.com, and ValueAmerica.com.

The Amazon.com move could pay off well for Replay, considering the e-tailer has a customer base of 13 million people and is already the leading books and music store online.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which competes with rival TiVo for personal TV product market share, has opted not to sell its system through traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, but go online, citing that educating sales staff would be too costly and take too much time.

Early adopters have also been more likely to shop online, and online sales this year are expected to top previous years. Replay’s hardware partner Panasonic said it will ship its set-top boxes through retailers sometime in the future. No date has yet been set.

“To achieve our goal of getting personal TV into every home in America, we must add features and reduce prices,” said Replay chairman and CEO Kim LeMasters. “By doubling the storage we’re, in effect, cutting the cost to our customers and giving them greater value.”

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