TiVo HD DVR on Your PC

There’s at least one dark side to the February 17, 2009 transition to digital TV broadcasts that few people have addressed, and that’s the question of what to do about getting a digital video recorder. We have a Panasonic model in our home that we use to watch at least 80% of all our TV content. But it only has an analog tuner, so it won’t work next year. We could add a converter box to it, but we wouldn’t be able to use its programmable recording feature.

TiVo recorders have a wonderful interface that its users love. However, maybe you want to have a home theater PC as your digital video recorder so that you can also access the Internet and watch video from the Web as well. It turns out that now you can have both in one box. Nero is teaming with TiVo to bring the TiVo interface to your computer. Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC lets you record television programming on your PC, and play it back or even transfer it to other devices for viewing elsewhere. And the package includes a TV tuner, a remote control, and even includes an IR Blaster so that it can control a cable or satellite box as well.

The bundle is expected to cost $199 when it ships next month, and includes a one year subscription to TiVo. You can also get the software alone (if you already have the TV tuner card and remote control) for just $99 — the same as a one-year TiVo subscription — as a download from Nero. In either case, you do need to renew the TiVo subscription each year for $99. You’ll also need a broadband Internet connection so that the TiVo software can phone home, but you’ll want access to Internet video anyway, so this is not an unreasonable requirement.

If you use over-the-air broadcast for some or all of your television viewing, make plans to add some sort of digital video recorder to your system soon. It look as though this Nero software could be a great way to get your home computer to take on that role.