PC peripherals manufacturer Hauppauge will launch its WinTV Nova-T device next month to tap into the free digital video broadcast market.
Although free digital TV channels are available to UK businesses and consumers through payment of the licence fee, most people have to subscribe to Sky or ITV Digital to receive the stations, or buy a specially equipped TV set, according to Yehia Oweiss, managing director at Hauppauge.
Available through distributors Computer 2000, Ingram Micro, Ideal and Actebis, the device, which comes in both PCI and USB flavours, will be able to receive and record up to 14 free-to-air (FTA) digital channels.
The company claimed that its device, which uses a normal TV aerial, will record one hour of digital TV in MPEG 2 format, taking up about 1.6Gb of hard drive space. Using a DVDRom drive, the company claims it will allow three hours of MPEG 2 capture. The device will also pick up digital radio stations.
Because of the dramatic increase in audio and video usage on PCs, users need more space to store large audio and video files, he said. This means the product is a complementary fit for resellers selling additional storage, according to Oweiss.
Andrew Bull, product manager at distributor Ideal Hardware, agreed. "This is a more high-end product and, although it is aimed at a retail environment, there is a business element in there too. Partners should know that there is a lot of opportunity for tie-in sales," he said. "Most end-users will need more capacity and storage to run a device like this. The storage market on the audio/video side is continuing to grow."
Current FTA digital TV channels include BBC1, BBC2, BBC Choice, BBC News 24, BBC Knowledge, ITV, ITV2, Channel 4, Channel 5, Shop!, ITN News Channel, Simply Money and TV Travel Shop.
The USB module retails at £199 including VAT and a PCI version costs £149. Windows 98 is needed for the system, with a minimum Pentium III 500Mhz and 64Mb of memory.
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