New device lets viewers pause even live TV

September 16, 1998|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Couch potatoes need no longer wait for the commercials.

A new VCR-like device will let TV watchers literally stop time: Replay Networks is rushing to shelves in November a black box that lets TV watchers pause live television.

The 15-employee, 1-year-old Silicon Alley upstart is betting that its $999 Replay TV controller box will appeal to a broad base of TV addicts.

"People want more control over their TV-watching experience," said Jim Plant, Replay's marketing director.

The box houses a 7-gigabyte hard-disc drive that starts recording when users hit the pause button on a special remote control. When the user returns to viewing, the broadcast picks up from wherever the user left off. To catch up with the show, users can fast-forward past commercials.

Another feature lets users custom-design their own zTC programming channels by topic and keywords. For instance, the device can record every Harrison Ford movie being broadcast over a particular period. The box will then create a special channel named Harrison Ford, and those films will be ready for playback.

The company hopes to license the technology to sell a stripped-down version for $500 by early next year. However, analysts expect Replay to eventually face competition with other companies planning similar products.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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