PVR Products Hit Fast-Forward

Personal-video-recorder technology is on the move with announcements of a new
product, a price cut and a hard-disk choice.

First, Sony Corp. unveiled a new Internet-enabled video recorder that links
the TV with the PC.

Part of its new 'Cocoon' line of Internet devices, the recorder sports a
160-gigabyte disk drive able to record 100 hours of standard-definition digital
TV. When linked up to a broadband Internet connection, it can seek programming
information online and record TV programs according to a customer's preset
preferences. For an extra fee, customers can gain a link to program the machine
from a mobile phone.

The unit will hit consumer shelves in Japan Nov. 1 with a price tag of about
$1,100. The timeline for rollout in the United States has not been set.

Elsewhere, DirecTV Inc. is slashing the monthly subscription fee for its TiVo
Inc. digital-video-recording service in hopes of attracting more customers. The
satellite provider notified subscribers last week that the monthly fee would
drop beginning Nov. 1 from $9.95 to $4.99.

And a trio of hard-drive providers will be hitting play with
Scientific-Atlanta Inc.'s new 'Explorer 8000' home entertainment server. Maxtor
Corp., Western Digital Corp. and Seagate Technology LLC will provide the
hard-drive cores for the Explorer 8000, which offers PVR functions and up to 50
hours of digital-programming storage.