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TiVo Launches Internet-Enabled DVR

TiVo on Wednesday introduced a set-top box that the company says makes it easier to access cable, movies, online video, and music through one remote control.

While an Internet-enabled digital video recorder is not new, TiVo Premiere is an advancement over other set-top boxes in the way it organizes content, according to the company. The product's search tool, for example, can find programming and movies on cable TV, as well as video for rent or buy on Netflix, Amazon, or Blockbuster.

All content is organized by category or topic through a full-screen menu that displays movie posters and TV show logos to make it easier to browse. Users also can browse by specific movie collections, such as Oscar-winning movies or Emmy-winning television shows, and have the option of retrieving background information on a movie, TV show, or actor.

Premiere's application platform is built to support third-party applications. In the coming months, TiVo plans to offer access to additional online services, including Pandora Internet radio and FrameChannel, which offers nearly 1,000 widgets that deliver personal and commercial content to users through access to social networks, such as Twitter, and photo and news sites.

TiVo Premiere, which includes 320 GB of storage, can record up to 45 hours of high-definition programming or 400 hours at standard definition. TiVo also plans to offer a Premiere XL model that has 1 TB of storage for recording up to 150 hours of HD programming and 1,350 hours of standard-definition content. Both products are scheduled to be available in April at a price of $300 and $500, respectively.

TiVo, like other DVR makers, is evolving its products to combine TV and the Internet into one device that essentially replaces the PC for entertainment. For example, the Premiere remote control includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard to make it easier to search for content.

Research has shown that a growing number of people want to access the Internet through their digital televisions. More than a quarter of all TVs sold in January in the United States were connected to the Internet, according to iSuppli.