LG Electronics on Wednesday said major consumer electronic retailers have started selling an LG digital video recorder with Microsoft Corp.'s cable program guide.
The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder combines a DVR with a DVD recorder, and is powered by Microsoft's Windows Media Center. The recorder, which includes a 160-gigabyte hard drive, sells for $599.95.
Most DVRs today are sold by cable companies, but experts say consumers are increasingly demanding that cable programming play on more retail devices, including PCs. Rather than be tied to a cable operator, consumers are looking for alternatives from retailers.
The Microsoft Program Guide service is available through three subscription options: $9.99 a month, $99.99 for a year and a one-time fee of $249. Subscription cards are sold separately by retailers, and the service can be activated online.
The program guide makes it possible for consumers to search up to 14 days of programs by title, keyword or category. Shows can be recorded once, or for an entire season, and live programming can be paused for up to 90 minutes. A skip button on the remote control automatically jumps the playback forward 30 seconds, a useful tool for bypassing commercials.
The market for so-called “home media servers” like the LG LRM-519, which can act as entertainment hubs for the home, is expected to show modest growth through 2008, increasing from 6 million units last year to 31 million, according to In-Stat. In 2008, two thirds of the units are expected to be consumer electronic-based, such as DVRs, with the remainder based on the PC.
Nearly half of U.S. households are expected to own DVRs in five years, as cable and satellite companies heavily market them to consumers, according to JupiterResearch. The installed base is expected to increase to 55 million households by 2010 from 7 million last year.