TiVo For Your Computer

For the last few years, vendors have been trying to convince us that computers will become our digital media hubs and we'll extend that experience to our living room TVs. Microsoft's Windows Media Center and its "ten-foot experience" is perhaps the best-known example of this idea. The recent explosion of readily available online media is starting to at least prove the part about the PC being the media hub true; but transferring the computer interface to the living room TV has proven to be rather stubbornly stagnant. So why not instead move the living room TV experience to the computer?

 Credit: Nero
That is exactly what Nero is doing with its new LiquidTV | TiVo PC package--which brings the TiVo experience to Windows (XP and Vista) computers. Liquid TV doesn't just bring a TiVo-like experience to your computer; it offers the actual TiVo service on your PC--through a partnership between Nero and TiVo. The LiquidTV package includes a (USB-based) high Definition ATSC digital/analog TV tuner, antenna, remote control, IR blaster, the Nero LiquidTV software, and a 12-month subscription to the TiVo service, for $199.99 (U.S.). If you already have a compatible TV tuner, you can purchase the software and one-year TiVo subscription without the hardware for $99.99.

LiquidTV is by no means the first or only TV tuner package available for PCs, but it marks the first time that the very popular TiVo service is directly available on computers. This means that features such as the intuitive TiVo interface, TiVo KidZone, Season Pass, and WishList are now available on your Windows PC. Other DVR features include pausing live TV and time shifting. With an additional tuner, you can even record two shows simultaneously. And as long you leave your computer on and connected to the Internet, you can even schedule recordings remotely from any Internet connection.

 Credit: Nero
Note that high-definition shows can only be watched or recorded from over-the-air ATSC digital broadcasts. While the included IR blaster allows you to control a satellite or digital cable set-top box, the video signal is passed to the LiquidTV TV tuner via S-Video, which only supports standard definition video. Also note that high-definition recordings take up a lot more hard disk space than standard definition recordings--but how much video your can record is only limited by how much free hard disk space you have. Nero estimates that you'll need about 8GB for each hour of high-definition video recorded.

LiquidTV also lets you burn your TV recordings to DVD, which can be played back on any regular DVD player. You can also transfer the video recording files to be viewed on other computers, or export them for viewing on iPods, PSPs, "or other mobile devices." LiquidTV will be available "approximately mid October 2008." Check back with us in a few weeks for a review of Nero LiquidTV / TiVo PC.
Tags:  TiVo, computer, COM