Nero Does TiVo

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on September 29, 2008

Nero, the private company most known for its CD- and DVD-burning software, wants to manage a lot more of your digital life.
The company on September 29 took the wraps off several new products, most notably the first pc-based iteration of TiVo. The $199 kit, which includes a TiVo remote and year’s subcription to the software that provides program guide information and updates, would turn a Windows PC into a TV recorder.

Called Nero Liquid TV, the TiVo desktop software lets users transfer shows recorded on other TiVo devices in the home to the PC’s hard drive. It brings unschackles TV viewing from the home or a hotel, letting you carry them either on a laptop’s drive or on an iPod or PlayStation Portable. LiquidTV also allows users to burn shows onto DVDs if the computer has a DVD burner.

The good news is that TiVo fans now can get some of the same easy-to-use software while on the road. Question is, how many people will pay the annual subscription fee for a service that is limited to recording only digital TV broadcasts, without cable or satellite feeds? Transferring files to the pc from other devices in the home also could be extremely time-consuming.

Nero will be competing with popular services such as the Slingbox, which can pull up live programming or recorded shows from home set-top boxes, using Web connections and compression technology to stream the content to your pc or Mac. An Netflix and Amazon are teaming up with online services such as Hulu or set-top boxes makers like Roku to stream content or purchase it.

Nero did announce a neat new $50 application called Move It that might have a bigger market for mainstream dollars. The new Windows software lets you transfer most digital photos, audio, and video files between a variety of portable devices. An easy-to-use desktop application can pull up files off all the registered devices you own and tranfer or sync them to other devices at the press of a button.

While other companies have similar software, this is one of the easiest to use that I’ve experienced. Rather than you trying to guess, the software automatically figures out the best way to convert and optimize the transferred files to the target device. The software does not work, however, with files protected by copyright management.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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