As it prepares to jump into interactive television, America Online Inc. announced a three-year agreement Wednesday with TiVo, Inc., to develop set-top boxes that will allow viewers to customize what they watch on TV.
AOL, based in Dulles, will invest up to $200 million in TiVo, of San Jose, Calif. The announcement is a precursor to the launch of AOLTV later this month.
Shares of TiVo surged nearly 50 percent on the news, rising $10.688 to $32.25 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of AOL rose $1.875 to $52.875 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The TiVo Personal TV Service digitally records television shows, without videotape, so consumers can watch programs whenever they want. AOLTV subscribers will be able to pause, replay or slow TV broadcasts. Or, a user could find and record a favorite program every time it airs.
TiVo also has partnered with Blockbuster, DirecTV and several cable and network television companies. Its Personal TV Service, which also recommends shows that match a viewer's interests, is already available on digital recorders sold by Philips and Sony.
The agreement expands upon a previous alliance between AOL and TiVo announced last summer. The AOLTV set-top box incorporating TiVo's features has been targeted for delivery in early 2001.
In addition to customizing one's TV viewing, AOLTV will bring features of the personal computer to the television, such as instant messaging, e-mail and other online activities.
AOL is the world's largest online service provider, with more than 22 million members -- Albawaba.com
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