New contender for home entertainment's MVP

A new set-top box that lets PC users turn their TV into a networked, interactive display unit has joined the throng of products in the local home networking market.

The Hauppauge MediaMVP (Music, Videos, Pictures) works by linking a PC and TV via Ethernet cable, converting digital multimedia from the PC (server) to analog form for the TV.

Using the MediaMVP's remote control, the user then selects from MediaMVP's TV menu the desired video, music playlist or slideshow for playback. HTML-based, the menu can be customised on the PC.

Practical examples of the MediaMVP in use were watching a downloaded movie on a TV in another room, or, with additional devices, recording a TV program via the PC and then watching the program on a TV, said Mark Harwood, from distributor New Magic Australia.

"The advantages of this product are that you don't have to have your PC next to your TV to play back content; you can have your media server away from your set-top box," he said.

While some vendors have wireless devices similar to the MediaMVP, Hauppauge's device should compete on its price of $299.

"You can't make a PC for this price," said Harwood.

The MediaMVP supports multimedia formats: MP3, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, JPEG, BMP and GIF.

The device also runs the Linux operating system, although this is not able to be accessed by the user.

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