11.30.2005 12:00 AM
Hauppauge and Asus Announce New USB DTV Tuners for DVB-T
Last week two more companies announced compact USB 2.0 DTV tuners for the European DVB-T terrestrial DTV standard. Hauppauge introduced the WinTV-HVR-900 hybrid DTV stick. This unit combines an analog tuner with a DVB-T digital TV receiver that's compatible with the British Freeview system. Hauppauge's HVR-900 product page states the unit includes a portable DVB-T antenna, "so you can receive digital TV while you travel!" The unit will work with laptop computers, but as with many of the new USB DTV tuners, a high speed processor is required--a 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent for DTV and up to a 2.8 GHz processor for analog TV recording with MPEG-2.

Going for a somewhat larger form factor, ASUS introduced their "My Cinema U3000 TV Tuner Box" that is the size of a clamshell mobile phone. Like the HVR-900, it requires a computer with USB 2.0 interface. The ASUS news release quoted Kent Chien, director of ASUS Multimedia Business, commenting on the product. "Our goal was to develop a product that merges multimedia and portability to bring entertainment to personal computing. The compact and lightweight My Cinema-U3000 is a one-of-a-kind solution that gives PC and notebook users the ability to watch digital TV, listen to music, record TV shows and more."

The new release notes that the My Cinema U3000 comes with "a patch antenna that is retractable to save space" and says that, "It requires no external antenna for digital TV signal reception." The unit is powered from the USB cable, so no external power adapter is needed.

As you may have noticed from previous issues of RF Report, several companies are introducing USB 2.0 DTV tuners for the DVB-T standard, but so far the USB 2.0 options for the ATSC standard are limited to paperback book size devices like the SASEM, VBox and DViCO receivers. Except for the SASEM, the ATSC boxes are now available for just under $150. With companies like DViCO and VBox getting into the ATSC market, I wonder how long it will take for companies like ATI (which has the excellent DTV receiver technology it acquired from Nxtwave) and Hauppauge to offer a miniature ATSC USB product?

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