Inexpensive TV timeshifting: TV@nywhere

If your life is dominated by the television and its programs, MSI’s new card is here to rescue you. In addition to normal viewing, TV@nywhere promises timeshifting (pausing live TV), scheduled recording plus the ability to stream TV over a local network or the Web.

When it comes to basic TV viewing, TV@nywhere gives a clear image. The timeshift function also works as expected — press pause, and the PC kicks in, recording the live stream. Unpause it and playback con­tinues where you left off, with the PC still recording so you can watch the end of your program.

When it came to recording, however, things weren’t as impressive. You’re offered three settings — Good, Better and Best — or you can customise things yourself. The first setting worked okay, but when recording at Better or Best the image was noticeably jerky, although the resulting file played back without any problems.

Custom settings proved harder to use. Our 2.4GHz Pentium 4-based PC with 256MB of RAM couldn’t cope with the DVD setting, resulting in breakup in the recorded file. The card claims MPEG-4 compression, although there didn’t seem to be a way to create this type of profile other than copying the existing one. Even then, at a high bit rate there were noticeable artefacts in the final recording.

When it came to TV@nywhere’s ability to stream TV over a network, we failed to get it functioning satisfactorily. The manual is sparse on information and, at best, we only managed to get poor quality sound and no video over a local network.

If you want to watch TV on your PC the card is good value, but if you fancy being more adventurous this isn’t the card for you.

In brief: MSI TV@nywhere
As a basic TV card, TV@nywhere functions well, and timeshifting is a nice bonus. For recording and network streaming, however, it failed to live up to its promises.
Price: $120
Vendor: MSI Computer
Phone: (02) 9748 0070
URL: www.msicomputer.com.au

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