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April 24, 2014

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Buy a Samsung TV, get a free TiVo HD

by Brad Linder, posted May 27th 2008 9:06AM

Samsung TiVo dealIf you happen to be shopping for an HDTV and a TiVo HD, Amazon has a deal that could let you kill two birds with stone. Or you know, two digital media products with one credit card payment. Here's how it works. You order both a TiVo HD and a qualifying Samsung HDTV and when you get to checkout, the cost of the TiVo HD should disappear.

The offer's only good through June 9, and the deal is limited to three TiVo HDs per customer. So if you were planning on buying 4 flat screen televisions for $1000+ a pop, it looks like you'll have to pay for the TiVo box to go with that fourth unit.

[via Gizmodo]

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Dvico launches FusionHDTV7 dual HDTV tuner

by Brad Linder, posted May 2nd 2008 1:33PM

Dvico Fusion HDTV7

Dvico has released the FusionHDTV7 PCI express card, which is a dual HD TV tuner. Dvico claims that this is the first PCIe card capable of recording two HDTV channels (either digital or QAM) at the same time, and I can't think of any others off the top of my head, so I'm going to agree that this is at least one of the first. Like most HDTV tuner cards these days, the FusionHDTV7 can tune into either digital ATSC broadcats or analog NTSC signals.

The card allows you to record two shows at once, record one show while watching a live program on anothr channel, or view Picture-in-picture videos. Of course, you can get all of the same features by buying two cards, but at about $140, the FusionHDTV is probably cheaper than picking up two other cards. And it takes up less space in your PC.

[via The Green Button]

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EVGA launches inDtube USB HDTV tuner

by Brad Linder, posted May 1st 2008 1:56PM

inDTube

EVGA, a company best known for its PC graphics cards, is joining the crowded field of companies producing USB TV tuners. The company's inDtube HDTV tuner (Get it? inDtube sounds like "in the tube." So clever. Wait, no.) looks like your basic TV tuner with support for ATSC and NTSC signals, and S-Video, RCA, and composite video.

The tuner also comes with a portable antenna, a remote control, and a USB extension cable, as well as an F-Connector to MCX adapter. There's also some basic PVR software if you don't already have an application for watching and recording TV programs. Without even knowing what software the inDTube ships with, I'm going to go ahead and recommend you find smething better like Media Portal, GBPVR, BeyondTV or SageTV.

The inDTube works with Windows XP, Windows XP MCE, and Windows Vista. No word on pricing or availability yet.

[via EngadgetHD]

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Hauppauge: Only one HD PVR per computer, please

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 25th 2008 10:05AM
Hauppauge HD-PVRThe upcoming Hauppauge HD-PVR is probably the most anticipated piece of PVR hardware since... well, I don't know. But it's certainly a sexy piece of hardware that a lot of folks have been hoping to get their hands on. The HD-PVR can record HDTV video from analog component sources. In other words, you don't need a CableCard tuner, HDMI, or other fancy tricks to record HDTV on your computer. You just need to run some cables from this set top box to your cable or satellite box. The HD-PVR will then do all the heavy lifting and compress your video using the H.264 codec.

But there does appear to be at least one downside (aside from the fact that analog recordings are inherently lower quality than digital recordings). Chris Lanier points out that Hauppauge will not officially support dual tuner setups for now. That means, if you were hoping to pick up two boxes and record two HDTV shows as the same time, you may be out of luck.

Apparently the drivers for the HD-PVR do support multiple tuner setups. But Hauppauge has not yet tested this configuration, so the company won't officially support this option. That would seem to indicate that Hauppauge could add support when the product is a bit more mature and the company's had more time to kick the tires. On the other hand, it's wholly possible that third party software PVR applications like BeyondTV, SageTV, and GB-PVR could add multi-tuner support before Hauppauge gets around to it.

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AVerTV Hybrid Volar Max: ClearQAM TV tuner in a USB stick

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 13th 2008 10:56AM
AverTV Hybrid Volar MaxAVerMedia is adding ClearQAM support to more of its HDTV TV tuners. In February, the company launched the Bravo Hybrid TV tuner, which is a PCIe card that can pick up ATSC, NTSC, and ClearQAM signals. Now AVerMedia is giving the same treatment to its USB stick style TV tuners with the AverTV Hybrid Volar Max.

The Volar Max, which was first announced at CES in January is now available for $80. The tuner supports unencrypted HDTV signals in both Windows Vista Media Center and Windows XP Media Center edition.

Users can download a utility from AVermedia that will let them scan for unencrypted ClearQAM channels. There's a chance you'll find a couple of encrypted channels during the scan, which you can manually remove from your program guide. For the most part, premium channels are encrypted while broadcast network channels are not.

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Hauppauge releases more specs for HD-PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 5th 2008 11:56AM
HD-PVR
Hauppauge has added a page to their web site with detailed specifications for the upcoming HD-PVR, a new box that will be able to capture 1080i video from a component source. Hauppauge says the unit will be available May 1st, but despite earlier rumors that a pre-order page would go live soon, there's none to be seen yet.

Here are some other interesting tidbits:
  • Compresses video in real-time using the H.264 codec, with constant and variable bit-rates ranging from 1Mbps to 13.5Mbps
  • Format recordings so they can be burned to Blu-ray discs
  • Record at 1080i, 720p, or VGA resolutions
  • Comes with IR remote control and IR Blaster for changing the TV channels on your set top box
  • NTSC, PAL, and SECAM support
  • Requires a PC with a dual core CPU and at least 256MB of graphics memory for playback of high definition H.264 videos
Oh, and the HD-PVR has a model number now. It's officially the HD-PVR 1212.

[via Brent Evans Geek Tonic]

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Pinnacle updates its PCTV HD USB TV tuner line

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 5th 2008 10:01AM
Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro
Pinnacle is updating its line of PCTV HD sticks, with a new PCTV HD Stick and PCTV HD Pro. Both tuners can handle over the air HDTV or unencrypted ClearQAM cable signals. And they each support resolutions up to 1080i.

What sets the PCTV HD Pro apart from the stick is an FM tuner and a dongle that lets you capture video from other sources with the nifty, but awkward looking dongle you can see in the image above. Oh yeah, and the Pro version costs $100, while you can pick up a stick for $70. Both versions should be available early next week.

[via EngadgetHD}

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Hauppauge HD-PVR delayed

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 30th 2008 4:27PM
Hauppauge If you've been waiting to get your hands on the new HD-PVR from Hauppauge, you might have to wait a little bit longer. Brent Evans reports that the device, which had been targeted for a late March launch has been pushed back and is now scheduled for a May or June release.

The HD-PVR will be able to capture HD video from any component video output and compress it in real time to H.264. In other words, you can using your existing cable or satellite box to flip channels, and record HDTV without getting a CableCard tuner for your PC.

Evans has also learned that Windows Media Center will not support the new device at launch, but that you should be able to use the HD-PVR with a Windows Media Center machine by this summer. But we'd be surprised if the device isn't supported by third party media center software like SageTV, BeyondTV, and MythTV.

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HD DVD is officially dead

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 19th 2008 11:19AM
hd dvdDo you hear that? That's the sound of "Taps" being played for HDTV players and recorders. Toshiba has announced that, "it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders." Yes, it's true. Just like Beta was phased out in favor of VHS, HDTV has lost in its head to head battle with Blu-ray. As of March 2008, the manufacture of the hardware will cease, and production of HD DVD disk drives for PCs and games as well. The only exception, said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation are laptops. "[Toshiba] continues to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives."

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DISH Network adding another 100 HD channels

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 7th 2008 1:10PM
Dish NetworkAccording to Engadget, the Dish Network is bumping up the number of HD channels it supports from 76 to 100 and expanding local service from 65 to 100 markets. Competition from DirecTV has apparently made the company fight for its title of "Top HD provider".

Of course, this is good news for the consumer who gets a larger selection as a result. That is assuming Dish Network doesn't justify an increase in price later as a result of this expansion.

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Warner Brothers goes exclusively Blu-ray

by Kristin Sample, posted Jan 4th 2008 7:07PM
blu-ray discStarting this spring, Warner Bros. will only release DVDs high definition DVDs on Blu-ray. That's a lot of DVDs only on Blu-ray for you HD DVD people (although Warner Bros. will continue to release DVDs in both formats until the end of May). Kevin Tsujihara, the President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, says that the choice to go exclusively Blu-Rray is for the consumers: "Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience."

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How to choose a TV tuner for your home theater PC

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 2nd 2008 9:59AM
HVR-1600Once upon a time turning your old PC into a homemade personal video recorder was a snap. All you had to do was buy a TV tuner card for about $100, plug in an analog TV cable, and use some free or commercial software to start recording shows. But the TV landscape is a bit more complicated these days, and if you have digital cable, HDTV, satellite TV, or other newfangled doohickeys hooked up to your TV, you might not even know where to begin.

Missing Remote has put together an excellent primer on choosing the right video source for your PVR. For example, if you want to record over-the-air HDTV using a digital antenna, you can use pretty much any modern TV tuner. But if you want to record the unencrypted HDTV signals your cable company sends out as well as standard definition digital cable channels, you're probably going to want something a bit more specialized, like Silcon Dust's HDHomeRun for the HDTV, and a second tuner with an S-Video port and an IR blaster to record and change the channels on your digital cable box.

Of course, there's a lot more to building a PVR than choosing the right TV tuner. You also need to choose the right software package, make sure you have enough hard drive space, and make sure your video card can support your display. But in end, your video quality is only going to be as good as your TV tuner.

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Verizon plans 150 HD channels next year

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 2nd 2007 11:23AM
Verizon FiOSAccording to Engadget, Verizon is planning to expand its FiOS television service by launching an additional 150 HD channels by the end of 2008. The service has been experiencing bandwidth limitations that have prevented this from happening previously.

Franky. I think FiOS has more problems than just bandwidth limitations. It also suffers from a limited market. I tried ordering the service from Verizon and discovered it didn't reach my apartment building yet. I live in a fairly populated area near New York City, so I found this surprising.

While adding more HD channels is a noble objective, I think Verizon should also work on trying to get their service out to more customers and be a better competitor to cable. Does anybody out there use Verizon FiOS? If so, what do you think of the service?


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One with the HD universe

by Richard Keller, posted May 12th 2007 10:01AM

I am now one with HDTVI am now one of you. No longer will I be shunned at social events, ignored by family, and laughed at by world leaders. That bleak and dark time of my life is now over. Why, you ask? Well, as of a few short months ago I became one of the 24 million households that owns a flat-screen HDTV. Utopia is now within my reach.

I had no interest in purchasing one at first. It was the re-carpeting of our family room that actually planted the seed.

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Wired looks at the history of the TV set

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 6th 2007 6:40PM

Retro TV setIf I could pick my dream television set, and it would appear magically in my living room, maybe delivered by Jeannie or Samantha Stevens or some other TV character that could wave her hand or twitch her nose, I would take one of those cool sets from the 50s, with the insides being modern, of course. I want the look of the 50s, but I don't want to be stuck with the four or so stations they had back then. (And yes I know there are companies that sell them, but they're out of my income bracket.)

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