At the Consumer Electronics Show, DIRECTV previewed its new dual-tuner digital video recorder, due to be available in mid-2005.

The new DVR will record up to a hundred hours of programming, and allow viewers to pause and rewind live TV for up to ninety minutes.

“DVRs have changed the way people watch television and our new Interactive DVR introduces additional features and ease-of-use to ensure the best viewing experience,” said Eric Shanks of DIRECTV.

The DVR will offer an advanced search capability, allowing users to search for shows, genres, actors, directors, channels or key words both in upcoming shows and shows they have previously recorded. Users can also return to previous searches to find matching programmes.

There is also an auto record function that will record all programmes matching a keyword or other search criteria.

In addition, there is an onscreen caller ID feature that displays details of current or previous phone calls on screen without interrupting television viewing.

The DVR supports the interactive functions such as the Mix and Active channels also announced at CES.

The DIRECTV device provides a video window to allow users to continue to watch while browsing the user interface.

The box provides Dolby Digital 5.1 optical audio outputs and includes USB ports ‘to support future services’.

The DIRECTV device is in many ways a development of the Sky+ service that has been a significant success in the UK, and poses a further challenge to TiVo, the company that is synonymous with the PVR category and previously partnered with DIRECTV.