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Consumers aren’t the only ones who love TiVo–police departments around the U.S. are replacing analog video recorders in patrol cars with TiVo-style digital recorders, according to the Associated Press. Police departments using the systems say they save money over the long haul, are more likely to catch crooks in the act, and are better at protecting cops from frivolous lawsuits and citizens from abusive treatment. So far seven police departments, including those in Yakima, WA, and Tyler, TX, are using a digital video system sold by IBM Global Services and Coban Research and Technologies, a small company near Houston; the digital recorders cost about the same per car as a new analog system.

In addition to taking up less space than video tapes, the digital footage is easier to search. Information, from driver’s license data to satellite GPS coordinates can be tagged to the video, so officers can search from their desktop computers to find footage of a particular incident.

Police in Tyler, TX, east of Dallas, love the new systems, and plan to take the technology further, adding a wireless Internet network that will allow department headquarters to watch the streaming videos in real time, the AP reports. “I think they’re about to explode in the market,” Tyler Sgt. John Bausell said of the video systems. “You’re going to start seeing it pretty widespread.”

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