So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Nebula DigiTV PCI/USB
- AV-in for PCI, easy to use interface, serve TV on a LAN, superior timeshifting, transport stream recording, easy scheduler program
- Have to tune client PCs in LAN mode
The Nebula DigiTV PCI and DigiTV USB devices both come with software that is rich in features and well supported by the vendor. If you want a card with excellent recording and timeshifting capabilities, then the DigiTV series is ideal.
Price$ 259.00 (AUD)
Nebula's TV tuner products have always impressed us with their expansive range of capabilities. The latest PCI and USB products continue that trend.
The DigiTV PCI is a HD digital TV card with composite input, so in addition to HDTV, it gives you the opportunity to watch video from an analog source, such as a VHS player or pay-TV set top box.
The Nebula DigiTV USB is a compact unit with a built-in infrared sensor, and it uses the same software interface as the DigiTV PCI version. This unit can display HD channels through its USB 2.0 interface, but it lacks video-in ports for capturing analog video streams.
Both the PCI and the USB versions of the DigiTV returned the full complement of channels during their initial tuning sessions.
The strength of the DigiTV PCI and DigiTV USB products lies in their bundled software, DigiTV, which sports an unobtrusive interface. All functions and settings are located in menu items within the TV window, without so much as a separate channel list or player controls visible. A more graphical interface can be used with the remote control, though, which is perfect for viewing from a distance. The DigiTV PCI card can be comfortably controlled by remote, and it ships with an infrared receiver (the USB version has the receiver built-in). Likewise, the program can be controlled easily via keyboard shortcuts; for example, R is for record and S is for stop.
The DigiTV software is very robust. One of the most useful features allows DigiTV to serve TV on a LAN (including wireless 802.11g networks). Using this setting, a client PC anywhere on your network can view TV as if the tuner card was placed in that machine.
Note that you cannot watch different channels on two machines at the same time with this feature, and the client PC must also be tuned so that it can generate a channel list. We experienced some issues while trying to tune the client PC from the server, (the client PC could not pick up a signal).
Recent versions of the software can also handle multi-channel recording and, to take advantage of this feature, Nebula plans to make USB slave devices (they were unavailable at the time of writing).
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