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Digital TV: An Easygoing (R)evolution

Interesting Digital TV Hardware

The use of sophisticated digital TV technology and the consistent application of the DVB standard in Europe results in very interesting products for DVB. First, you can buy standard set-top boxes to receive digital TV via cable, antenna or satellite, to make your TV capable of displaying digital signals. TVs with integrated digital receivers are rare, and since people need to buy a new device anyways, many manufacturers use this as an opportunity to bring new technologies into the living room. This results in set-top boxes with integrated hard drives, DVD-R, Ethernet, USB and even boxes using fast CPUs running the Linux OS.

Available in the USA: Humax' T2500 TiVo Series 2 digital video recorder records up to 250 hours on its hard drive.

Available in Germany: The Fujitsu Siemens ACTIVY Media Center - A PC in a new format with Intel 1.2 GHz processor, Microsoft Windows OS, DVD-R, hard drive, DVB-S receiver, Ethernet and more.

Humax PDR-9700 DVB-S satellite receiver for the German market. It supports the pay TV broadcaster Premiere, and is equipped with a hard drive. Particular attention was given to the recording capabilities and copy protection of pay TV content. All data is encrypted to prevent PCs from reading the hard drive and further processing of the data is not possible.

Another example from Europe and a nice toy for enthusiasts. The manufacturer Dream Multimedia developed set-top boxes (DVB-S and DVB-C) equipped with a 250 MHz IBM PowerPC Processor (350 Mips) running on Linux. Thanks to HDD support and Ethernet, the device can be programmed to stream live or recorded movies to PC's within the network, surf the Web and much more.

The ReelBox PVR1000 (~$600) supporting DVB-S, T or C, equipped with an AMD Geode SC2200, 300 MHz processor, HDD support, Ethernet, Firewire, USB 1.0, DVD player and running with a modified Debian 3.1 Linux OS. It decodes MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and variants, WM9 SD and WM9 HD (720p) video.