AMD Turns PCs Into Premium Hi-Def Content Recorders - InformationWeek

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AMD Turns PCs Into Premium Hi-Def Content Recorders

The AMD device turns a PC into a video recorder and television for high-definition premium video content broadcast by networks such as ESPN and HBO.

Advanced Micro Devices has unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show a device that turns a PC into a video recorder and television for high-definition premium video content broadcast by networks such as ESPN and HBO.

The ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner works on computers running Microsoft's Windows Vista Media Center, and leverages the operating system's menus and interfaces. While Media Center can record and manage traditional analog and free, over-the-air HD channels, the AMD tuner is certified by Cable Television Laboratories, or CableLabs, for recording premium HD content.

CableLabs is a non-profit research and development consortium founded by cable operators in 1988. The group develops hardware and software specifications for gaining access to cable programming. Having copyright-protection technology that's acceptable to content providers is necessary to gain access to CableLabs technology.

The AMD tuner does not stream HD premium content from the PC to the TV, which is where most consumers prefer to watch video because of the larger screen, experts say. However, the AMD tuner could be useful to people who want to record on their notebooks for viewing later outside the home.

The new product is expected to be available Jan. 30 in portable and desktop PCs from major manufacturers, AMD said Monday at the Las Vegas, Nev., trade show. Pricing will vary depending on the PC maker and the level of hardware included.

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