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Comcast, TiVo Unveil Co-Branded Cable-Box Digital Video Recorder

TiVo Inc. (TIVO) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) on Monday unveiled the long-awaited fruits of an agreement to work together: A cable box that runs TiVo's digital-video-recorder software.

The collaboration between the largest U.S. cable operator and TiVo was announced to great fanfare in March 2005 and has been considered one of the most significant deals for the DVR pioneer.

TiVo has been facing tough competition against a growing number of less expensive DVRs from cable and satellite TV operators, including Comcast.

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Soon, for an additional fee, Comcast subscribers will be able to add TiVo DVR features to their existing set-top boxes without a visit from a technician, Comcast said.

The actual launch plans were unclear, but the companies said they have been testing the service since late 2006.

The companies also did not disclose how much more the TiVo software will cost. Comcast customers currently pay about $10 a month for a basic DVR service on top of their regular TV service charge.

The two companies plan to demonstrate the new TiVo-based service at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week.

Digital video recorders let TV watchers search for and easily record their favorite shows onto a hard drive without the hassles of video tapes. It also lets users pause live TV, do instant replays and zip past commercials.

TiVo's service is known for its slick, easy-to-use interface and advanced features such as suggesting programs a user might enjoy, the ability to transfer TiVo recordings for viewing on PCs and portable devices, and the ability to schedule last-minute recordings via the Web.

It has been challenging for the company, however, to differentiate itself.

Shares of TiVo gained 20 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $5.65 in afternoon trading, while Comcast's stock gained 19 cents to $42.74, both on the Nasdaq Stock Market.