TiVo personal video recorders, the techno-specter haunting the dreams of ad agencies and TV sales executive, is poised to extend its technology to the internet.

TiVo, which enables users to auto-skip TV commercials, was unceremoniously dumped Tuesday by NewsCorp-owned satellite broadcaster DirecTV, which abruptly sold its entire equity stake in TiVo of 3.4 million shares. The news caused the latter's stock price to dive by more than 14%, closing at $6.41 (€5.30; £3.50).

NewsCorp, controlled by the Murdoch clan, also owns DirecTV sibling, Fox Television Stations Group. Neither broadcaster has reason to love Tivo's ad-zapping technology and NewsCorp's removal of the rug from under TiVo's feet has surprised few media observers.

But the latter's new web-based product could prove a lifeline. TiVo says it will become a standard feature in its video recorders, allowing users to download movies and music direct to their PVRs' hard drive.

The new gizmo will allow TV viewers to mix and match web content at any time with that from broadcast, cable or satellite sources. Says TiVo chairman/ceo Miachael Ramsay: "We're fully committed to developing an entertainment experience you can't get over normal broadcast television. This is what we think the future of television is."

Launch date and pricing have yet to be announced.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff