Video recorder maker Tivo in talks with NTL

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The Independent Online

Tivo, the personal video recorder group, is in talks to form a joint venture with the cable operator NTL after failing to make substantial inroads in the UK during the Christmas selling season.

Tivo, the personal video recorder group, is in talks to form a joint venture with the cable operator NTL after failing to make substantial inroads in the UK during the Christmas selling season.

Launched last year in Britain, Tivo is selling only a "couple of hundred" boxes a week, the company said, despite a high-profile marketing pact with BSkyB. A venture with NTL could see the box made available to its 2 million cable customers.

Andrew Cresci, vice-president of Tivo UK, denies that Tivo has flopped since it launched in mid-October, with Dixons as its exclusive British distributor. "We have had a very successful introduction of the product," he said, noting that Tivo has 50 per cent brand recognition, with 20 per cent of consumers intending to buy the product.

Tivo uses a hard drive to record programmes, and is able to select broadcasts that match a subscriber's viewing profile. The box collects information on viewing habits and sends it back to Tivo, which then resells it.

Some industry observers believe that the £400 price tag of the Tivo box, plus a subscription charge of £10 per month, or a one-off total payment of £600, is too steep.

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