For years it's been possible to pull in standard and high definition programming onto your computer using a Slingbox or a TV tuner such as ATI's All-in-Wonder PCI cards. But these solutions have their limitations (for example, a Slingbox cannot display a high-definition picture) and let's face it, nobody wants to sit uncomfortably in front of their 19-inch monitor to watch their favorite TV program. Now with TV manufacturers integrating Web-based content into their sets, the possibility has become more mainstream.
The promise of the DirecTV's HDPC-20 might further change that perception--if it's released. The dual-tuner device has been in the making for some time now, with product photos and tidbits of information floating around blogs during the past year. Here's what we do know, according to the product brochure:
- Allows you to record and watch DirecTV programming on your computer, and connects via USB.
- Features dual-tuners, but unsure if it can pull in high-definition programming.
- Includes an Ethernet connection, but we're not exactly sure why. One possible reason: it's capable of streaming to multiple Windows Media Extender devices and Xbox 360
- A fully-featured media hub to stream downloaded movies, music, and pictures (unsure if it's DLNA compatible though)
If those features sound a bit ambiguous, so is the release date. On the Green Button Forum, they're speculating a November release based on calls to DirectTV's representatives, but we're not holding our breath. We also hope this doesn't turn out to be vaporware. There is currently no support for the device in the current Windows Media Center TV pack (code named Fiji). This could possibly mean that it won't be released until Windows 7 arrives in 2011, according to Engadget, when the next TV pack is due. In the meantime, there are already plenty of solutions to stream media from and to your computer. Most of them, however, still don't come close to offering an easy way to pull in high-definition television programming, integrate it with Web based video, and stream it to your HDTV.
We'll keep tabs on this product, but what do you think of it? Would you be interested in watching DirectTV on your computer but also have the option to stream the programming to your television along with your collection of DivX videos?