PVR On A Budget


The PVR landscape has changed since last year, when I reviewed SnapStream PVS version 2 . TiVo has continued their leadership role in the field by fully complying with the content companies' wishes. ReplayTV , on the other hand, landed in hot water with Paramount, Universal, Disney, CBS, ABC and NBC. They weren't particularly pleased with the CommercialAdvance feature (which incidentally have existed in VCRs for many years) nor with the Internet sharing feature. After going bankrupt, SonicBlue, including ReplayTV, got sold to D&M Holdings , makers of Denon and Marantz. It remains to be seen how ReplayTV will fare in the future under new owners.

The divergent paths of TiVo and ReplayTV are basically about DRM and advertising dollars. Consumers want less commercials and more content, while advertisers are afraid of lessened impact. Content companies feel that content sharing deprive them of revenue.

On the DRM side, Scientific-Atlanta are shipping DVR cable boxes to the cable companies, and Microsoft are shipping Windows Media Center PC , which relies on hardware encoding and is sold as an integrated hardware and software product.

On the open side, Apex Digital (of dirt-cheap, region-free DVD players fame) have announced a DVR product, and free Linux software like FreeVo and MythTV are coming out of beta status.

Finally, several graphics card manufacturers sell cards with PVR-functionality (i.e. software or hardware encoding and bundled PVR-type software).

In short, the field of PVR has grown in terms of players, if not customers. SnapStream has carved a little niche for itself so far, but it remains to be seen how many PC owners they can convince that theirs is the best solution.

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SnapStream PVS 3 Features
Row 0 - Cell 0 Time ShiftingStop. Fast forward. Rewind. Pause... yes, you have full control of not only your recorded television programs, but also live TV. And 30-second skip and 7-second instant replay features make it even easier to move around your favorite TV shows.
Row 1 - Cell 0 Integrated Program GuideRecord every episode of your favorite show with the press of a button. Scroll through your local listing, flip channels, and set up recordings. Best of all: no subscription.
Row 2 - Cell 0 Full Screen InterfaceRecord and then replay your favorite TV shows on the big screen. Personal Video Station's full screen interface ensures you can see your screen from across the room.
Row 3 - Cell 0 Remote Control SupportThe remote control support and TV interface let you control the action from your sofa - not just from your desktop. Includes fully-integrated support for ATi Remote Wonder, X10 PC Remote, and StreamZap.
Row 4 - Cell 0 Home Video ServerRecord, watch and share your favorite shows from any room in the house. Watch recorded TV on any device in your home, across 802.11b wireless, ethernet or HPNA. Make your whole home an entertainment center.