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Digital TV on your PC: New tuners

Monday, July 16th, 2007

If you want to watch local digital TV stations on your PC, two new products from AMD are worth a look.

Laptop at poolside. (Photo: AMD)The ATI TV Wonder 600 is a “stick tuner” that plugs into a USB socket on your notebook or desktop PC. The tuner can be used for watching local digital (including HDTV) or analog channels over the air, plus analog cable channels. PVR (personal video recorder) functions can be enabled using the ATI Catalyst Media Center software suite.

For desktop computers, AMD offers the ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI Express, a board that goes inside the box. In addition to over-the-air analog/digital/HD television and analog cable, the TV Wonder 650 can tune unscrambled QAM digital cable channels. (Note, however, that most digital cable channels are scrambled. But some cable systems send local stations, especially, “in the clear.”) Catalyst Media Center is also supported.

A “telescopic antenna” is included with the USB tuner stick, but viewers in areas where reception is difficult will probably need a better antenna to receive DTV stations dependably. For the TV Wonder 650, AMD recommends an amplified antenna.

Both tuners should reach stores by September.

USB ATSC tuner stick from Pinnacle
Thomson previews USB digital TV tuner

• Link: TV Technology

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