Germans help TiVo’s PC leap

The DVR co. comes to the computer

TiVo is moving from the living room to the desktop.

The Silicon Valley company that helped create the market for digital video recorders is collaborating with a German software company to bring TiVo functionality to personal computers.

The Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC is a $199 package of hardware and software that will enable a PC user to watch cable, satellite, or digital broadcast content, pause it while it’s playing, or record it for later viewing.

“This is the TiVo experience without the need for a set-top box,” said Richard Carriere, president of Nero AG Americas. “This is acknowledging the fact that mainstream consumers are ready to enjoy their media in a very fluid manner — any time, on any device.”

The software also makes it easy to record shows on a PC and then transfer them to an iPod, PlayStation Portable, or other portable media device. That could have the side effect of making it simpler to post recorded TV shows on the Internet or underground file-sharing networks, which could irk the majors and other copyright-holders. But Nero executives said the video files will be watermarked; such invisible digital labeling will enable law enforcement to trace back the files to a specific computer.

Similar TV recording technology for PCs, introduced last year by such companies as Digeo and Pinnacle, has yet to take off. But TiVo’s user-friendly software interface could give Nero LiquidTV a boost.

The package, which goes on sale in mid-October, also comes with TiVo’s trademark peanut-shaped remote control, a “tuner” card that plugs into the PC, and a digital antenna for those users who don’t have access to a cable or satellite connection. A software-only package will cost $99. Purchasers will get a free one-year TiVo subscription but will have to pay monthly fees for the service after that.

“We see three primary markets for this,” Carriere said. “Existing TiVo users; road warriors and people who like to have cutting-edge gadgets; and college students, who are increasingly savvy about enjoying media through a PC.”