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InfiniTV 4 USB Turns a PC Into Cable Set-Top Box

By - Source: Ceton | B 36 comments

The InfiniTV 4 USB device is out to replace your cable box using Media Center on Windows 7.

Ceton has released a cool gadget that will turn your Windows 7 desktop or laptop into a streaming cable box. Called the InfiniTV 4 USB, it allows users to watch and record up to four live channels of HDTV at once, using their hard drive as a DVR. It will also stream live HD channels or recordings to multiple HDTVs throughout the home via a Media Center Extender like the Xbox 360 console. All it needs is a cable connection and a single CableCARD like this one.

"Adding InfiniTV 4 USB to your PC with Media Center brings all of your TV and video content together in one device, including four simultaneous channels of basic and premium high-definition cable TV plus DVDs, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and any Internet video service you can access online," the company said. "Windows Media Center is a free feature included in most versions of Windows 7, so you can get rid of those expensive set-top box rental costs and annoying monthly DVR service fees and use your PC with InfiniTV instead."

The device is reportedly compatible with most US-based cable providers, and it's even compatible with Switched Digital Video (SDV) Tuning Adapters. Yet with multiple viewers watching multiple channels throughout the house, you'd think the "source" PC would need beefy specs, but that's not the case.

According to the requirements, consumers interested in using the InfiniTV 4 USB device will need a computer with a 2.0 GHz or faster dual core or quad core processor, 3 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended), an HDCP-compliant graphics card or on-board graphics, HDMI output or DVI output with separate 5.1 audio output required for Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and 350 GB of available hard disk drive space to record 50 hours of HDTV recordings. PC's also need Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate installed. Other requirements include the Multi-stream CableCARD (M-Card), available from your cable TV provider, and of course a cable TV subscription.

"With today's economy, consumers are looking for ways to get more out of the gear they already own, and shave a few costs in the meantime," said Gary Hammer, Ceton CEO. "Windows Media Center and InfiniTV 4 USB help families actually get more out of their cable subscription, lets them ditch cable set-top boxes and monthly rental fees, all while giving them a better way to enjoy TV."

InfiniTV 4 USB is available starting today at a suggested retail price of $299 from Amazon, Cannon PC, Fluid Digital, Micro Center, the Microsoft Store, Newegg, Velocity Micro and Zones.

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  • 5 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , October 27, 2011 7:53 AM
    freedom from expensive STB's :) 
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , October 27, 2011 7:59 AM
    I'm really dying to try this out, actually. Not this one, but the internal card along with a cablecard. I don't know how it'll work with my Verizon FiOS, though.
  • 0 Hide
    keyanf , October 27, 2011 8:13 AM
    Given how much cable hardware fails, I don't want to attach this to my computer.
  • 1 Hide
    extremepcs , October 27, 2011 9:05 AM
    It would cost me roughly $2,000 to outfit my 4 TV's with media center extenders, build the HTPC, and buy this device. Where is the savings vs renting 4 cable boxes? It costs about $14 a month right now to rent them. It would take over 12 years just to recoup the initial investment. That's assuming the technology would even last for 12 years without needing to be updated. I guess it would work well for people who already have a PC and extenders/xbox though.
  • 0 Hide
    nikorr , October 27, 2011 11:09 AM
    Not bad.
  • 0 Hide
    tsnor , October 27, 2011 11:10 AM
    "It would cost me roughly $2,000 to outfit my 4 TV's with media center extenders, build the HTPC, and buy this device. "

    No, One device. Then any computer on your internal network can play the contents. Not cheap ($300 plus whatever the m-card costs you) but not $2K.
  • -5 Hide
    neon871 , October 27, 2011 11:11 AM
    How many family members can you get around your PC? It make more sense to get internet on your TV (like GoogleTV for $99.99) , not everyone wants to sit at their PC for a 2hour movie! I will & have, but my wife won't.

    If this requires a "CableCARD" then what good is it? Most CableCARD's come with DVR type software.

    To me this is a......... FAIL!
  • 3 Hide
    dark_knight33 , October 27, 2011 11:14 AM
    extremepcsIt would cost me roughly $2,000 to outfit my 4 TV's with media center extenders, build the HTPC, and buy this device. Where is the savings vs renting 4 cable boxes?


    You can't really put a price on sticking it to the cable company.

    Besides, It's a value add. You get essentially free DVR services with this device that you'd have to pay quite a bit extra for on those 4 boxes. More than that, it can record 4 channels at once, on one device. You only need the one device, on one PC to do this. You use MC extenders to view the programing on the other TV's. I get the impression that there is a solution on there that allows you to stream this content to DLNA capable TV's sans MCE. If that be the case, you'd only need one server with a cable connection, and the rest of your TV's would be golden.

  • 3 Hide
    dark_knight33 , October 27, 2011 11:16 AM
    neon871How many family members can you get around your PC? It make more sense to get internet on your TV (like GoogleTV for $99.99) , not everyone wants to sit at their PC for a 2hour movie! I will & have, but my wife won't.If this requires a "CableCARD" then what good is it? Most CableCARD's come with DVR type software.To me this is a......... FAIL!


    Your comment is a....fail. You use your TV for the PC monitor hence: HTPC. Get out of the 90's ffs.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , October 27, 2011 11:20 AM
    it costs 5$ a month to rent the set top box for us with dvr. it would take 60 months, or 5 years to pay for the box alone
  • 0 Hide
    the_crippler , October 27, 2011 12:09 PM
    dark_knight33Your comment is a....fail. You use your TV for the PC monitor hence: HTPC. Get out of the 90's ffs.


    This. I already have a PC hooked to my TV and use it quite a bit.

    Of course, this device costs more than the PC it'd be used with, but there it is. Record 4 different channels? That's twice what I get right now, and would save me the hassle of torrenting the stuff I can't record.
  • 1 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , October 27, 2011 12:13 PM
    JOSHSKORNI'm really dying to try this out, actually. Not this one, but the internal card along with a cablecard. I don't know how it'll work with my Verizon FiOS, though.


    using a fios cable card with my happauge WinTV-DCR-2650 (same as this, but only a 2-tuner, but only $150 too) and it works flawlessly, i love the thing!
  • 0 Hide
    ford_contour , October 27, 2011 2:01 PM
    JOSHSKORNI'm really dying to try this out, actually. Not this one, but the internal card along with a cablecard. I don't know how it'll work with my Verizon FiOS, though.


    I have the InfiniTV internal with FiOS, it works flawlessly.
    All you need is to rent the CableCard from Verizon and have the tech come and program it. Install the card and run the Digital Cable Advisor beforehand tho, to make sure everything is working properly.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 27, 2011 2:36 PM
    You also have to remember this CableCARD tuner givers you 4 Tuners, which means you can record up to 4 things at once or watch 4 stream at once. I doubt your current cable box can do that. Also storage of recorded video can be significantly larger than your existing cable box (I have 2TB drive in mine, which currently has over 100 recordings). With media Center, you have a built in Netflix App, a Hulu Desktop Plugin and if required a browser to access other content. You also control the energy usage of your device and mine usage significantly less power than my old comcast box, so there are energy savings you should calculate as well. If you kid has an xbox 360 already, you have an instant extender. I could go on and on but hopefully you see the benefits.

  • 0 Hide
    TeraMedia , October 27, 2011 2:48 PM
    Gotta love TWC. Rather than giving you an opportunity to save, they bake the rental fee for the STB and remote into their standard pricing, so that you only get a benefit after you already have at least one STB by avoiding the need to purchase more.
  • 0 Hide
    bucknutty , October 27, 2011 3:45 PM
    Looks like a really cool option, how ever I bet my cable company Optimum online will create some sort of "compatibility problem" that makes this device unusable. You know the monthly cable box and programing fee is pure profit. They are not about to allow a 3rd party cable box take that revenue. Rember back in the 80s and 90s you could use any cable box you wanted or you could just use the tuner in your TV. Not any more plug your tv into the cable with out a box and you get a blue screen that says "this device is not authorized to view this channel" on every channel. They dont even give you the basics any more.
  • -4 Hide
    neon871 , October 27, 2011 4:43 PM
    Quote:
    dark_knight33: Your comment is a....fail. You use your TV for the PC monitor hence: HTPC. Get out of the 90's ffs.


    I was simply stating most people don't want to sit behind their PC/desk for a 2 movie. I even said I will!
    "your Brain ....Fails" to understand I also said it wouldn't work for me hence: "FAIL for me" because I have GoogleTV for the whole family to enjoy in the living room! That is where most TV's are set up!

    I live in America freedom of speech here. I was talking about the product never did I bash anyone about their opinions, as you did! But, You have a blessed day any!
  • 0 Hide
    khaydin , October 27, 2011 4:49 PM
    I have the PCI-e 4 tuner adapter they sell and love it! You can actually watch TV on other computers in the house without getting a media center extender. You can actually dedicate one or more of the Tuners to another PC on your network. So what you can do is dedicate 2 to the main dvr pc and if you have a tv upstairs hooked up to a pc that is networked you can dedicate the other 2 tuners to it and watch/record live tv. You can only record/watch 2 channels at once on each pc though if you go that route.

    If you don't want to go that route, you can just keep all 4 tuners on the DVR pc and just watch recorded shows on any other computer as long as they're on the same network and have windows/windows media center installed on them.
  • 0 Hide
    ac21365 , October 27, 2011 5:19 PM
    extremepcsIt would cost me roughly $2,000 to outfit my 4 TV's with media center extenders, build the HTPC, and buy this device. Where is the savings vs renting 4 cable boxes? It costs about $14 a month right now to rent them. It would take over 12 years just to recoup the initial investment. That's assuming the technology would even last for 12 years without needing to be updated. I guess it would work well for people who already have a PC and extenders/xbox though.


    The savings is for those of us that already have an htpc built and/or have either Win7 boxes or XBOX360's already. I have the internal tuner and LOVE it. For folks like me, the initial $300 investment for Tuner card and $2/mo for the cablecard, beats the hell out of 2x $15/mo for HDDVR's.
  • 1 Hide
    khaydin , October 27, 2011 5:24 PM
    @Bucknutty

    All cable companies are required to support cable cards whether they want to or not. I think it is the FCC that requires this. There should be no compatibilty issues. I've used cable cards with Comcast and Verizon with relatively no problems. Comcast it was easy, you just read some letters/numbers off the screen to a tech and in a few min you're watching TV. Verizon they insisted on sending someone out to set it up.
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