Another analyst has emphasised that it is "highly unlikely" that Apple will buy TiVo.

Smith Barney analysts said that such a buyout was "contradictory to recent comments from Apple senior management", writes Forbes.

The research firm said: "Based on Apple's commentary, we believe a deal is highly unlikely. Specifically, Apple had two points that lead us to discount the current reports. First, it appears as though Apple want to stay focused on selling select proven products (e.g. iPod) rather than gambling on unknown initiatives.

"Second, Apple indicated that the DVR market seems to be a commodity whereby all players will eventually have similar hardware and software longer term, which means that the DVR market really boils down to marketing and branding.

"Apple clearly already has a strong brand and would not gain much from acquiring TiVo. If Apple were to get into the DVR market, we believe they would build a proprietary product."

Smith Barney believes TiVo has "a number of issues to tackle in 2005 that will impede growth," including increased competition and the need for new management.

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg said yesterday that he doesn't think that the buy-out is likely. "Apple's not a big fan of TV consumption and is not likely to want to want to get into the standalone DVR business at this point. Even if they did, I suspect Apple could build the technology themselves cheap," he said.