A way to record one cable or satellite channel while watching another should be on UK shelves early next year.

The next generation of TiVo devices, VCR-alikes that use hard drives for storage and can suggest programs you may like based on your viewing patterns, should be in the UK by then.

These dual-tuner TiVos will be able to let viewers watch, for example, the History Channel, while recording the Discovery Channel. For most people this is currently impossible without having two set-top boxes.

"The dual-tuner hardware should be available after the roll-out of TiVo's 2.0 software, [which happens at the end of this year]," said Davina Kent, strategic marketing partner at TiVo.

TiVo services are linked to channel guides provided by broadcasters. TiVo devices check the internet every day to see what is going to be on each channel. TiVo has, PC Advisor understands, just done a deal with Channel 4 to provide TiVo services.

With major broadcasters and the ability to record one channel while watching another (something terrestrial TV viewers have taken for granted from word go), next year may see TiVo machines finally start to take off.