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Diamond XtremeTV PVR-550RC: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Diamond XtremeTV PVR-550RC: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time
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Diamond's XtremeTV PVR-550RC "PowerPack" Edition

Big changes have taken place in both the TV tuner and graphics card markets since Diamond took their hiatus nearly five years ago. Competitor STB Systems and their later partner 3DFX are both gone, and Diamond's own partner S3 dropped out of graphics to focus on consumer devices, selling their defunct graphics branch to VIA. Meanwhile, ATI and Hauppauge have forged ahead with industry-leading products. All of this makes one wonder... can Diamond catch up?

A recent return to graphics has shown Diamond capable of producing good products based on reference designs, but TV Tuner cards add one significant complication: interface software. Rather than sell the PVR-550 as a "Windows Media Center Edition / third party viewer" product such as Hauppauge's MCE cards, Diamond has instead followed the example set by ATI's TV Wonder Elite, providing a third-party tuner application of their own choosing. In this case, Diamond selected SnapStream's BeyondTV and Firefly Remote.

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