FireWire High-Definition TV tuner: FireDTV

FireDTV is an external digital TV tuner that connects to your PC through a 6-pin FireWire connection. This supplies enough bandwidth to display high-definition channels on your PC's monitor along with standard-definition channels, and it also supplies power to the unit. A power adapter is supplied if the unit is to be plugged into a machine with a 4-pin FireWire port, such as a laptop.

Installation was a cinch: plug in the FireWire cable and install the drivers. However, the bundled My Theatre TV viewing software isn't very intuitive. The basic layout is acceptable, with time sliders and control buttons across the bottom and a channel list to the right, but its General Settings section is not well designed and will be confusing if you're new to PC tuner cards. In saying that, there are plenty of features, including always-on time-shifting, a recording scheduler, sleep mode, teletext and remote viewing of digital TV across a LAN.

We found picture quality to be excellent and the sensitivity of its receiver was equally impressive: we were able to view all channels perfectly, without break-up, due to very high signal strengths.

At $399, this unit is quite expensive, but it's convenient, ships with a remote control, and provides great performance. Its software interface could be much better though.

Price: $399 Distributor: Inventa Australia Phone: (02) 9518 6100 URL: www.inventa.com.au

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Elias Plastiras
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