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View Full Version : SnapStream Announces Feature Set for Beyond TV 4

Jason Dunn
07-27-2005, 06:15 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://blogs.snapstream.com/2005/07/26/beyond-tv-4-announced/' target='_blank'>http://blogs.snapstream.com/2005/07/26/beyond-tv-4-announced/</a><br /><br /></div><i>"SnapStream Media will release Beyond TV 4 in the next few months. Beta users have already started seeing some of the upcoming features under the codename “Retro.” But until now, it’s all been very hush, hush. In general, at SnapStream, we like to stay quiet about new releases until beta users have had a chance to give us significant feedback. Well, the verdict is in, and things are looking very good. Three big ticket items slated for Beyond TV 4 are FM Radio support, DivX support, and HDTV! Yes, HDTV. We’ve already got this up and running in our office lounge and the difference is simply unbelievable especially on our plasma TV. It’s six times the picture quality, two and a half times the audio channels with Dolby surround sound, and countless new camera angles, all in one easy-to-use product. If you’re wondering about the camera angles, you should have seen the digital broadcasts of the summer Olympics last year."</i><br /><br />SnapStream has announced Beyond TV 4 on their blogs, and it looks like a good update, though there's nothing revolutionary here. Being in Canada, I can't get over-the-air HDTV, so support for OTA HDTV cards doesn't get me excited. What I, and many others, are waiting for is an announcement from someone...ANYONE...that they have a way for the PC to interface with an HDTV tuner box from the local cable company.<br /><br />Beyond TV is a great client for watching TV, and in many ways I prefer it to Media Center Edition 2005 - it has some awesomely powerful features such as built-in remote scheduling, a PDA-optimized content portal, automatic transcoding, and software clients for other PCs. Those are all areas where Microsoft either doesn't have a solution, or is relying on a third party to fill the gap (and some do it badly). BeyondTV is also compatible with more hardware, and doesn't require you to build a new computer with very specific parts. But the gaping hole in SnapStream's strategy (from where I'm sitting at least) has been the lack of a well-polished extender client to connect to your TV. I've tried a variety of clients; some worked, some did not, but all shared the same horrific "Made in Taiwan for $5" user interface. I ultimately went with Windows Media Center because I could turn my Xbox into an extender client with the <i>same user interface that I already knew how to use</i>.<br /><br />The power of a platform cannot be under-emphasized, and if SnapStream wants to thrive in this market they need to evolve into more of a platform mindset and take the big step and make their own hardware where they can take their awesome UI and extend it directly onto the TV.

07-27-2005, 10:18 PM
SageTV has also anounced (http://www.byopvr.com/displayarticle415.html) 3.0 in public beta.

They have details on the public beta here (http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12164).

From what I've read, they are planning a OEM platform to run on linux. Perhaps Snapstream could also go in that direction. Let someone else build the hardware as long as they license the software.

I'm a current user of SageTV and they're also adding HD support. Not that I have an HD TV or card. But things seem to be heating up on the PVR/HTPC front. It'll be interesting to see how these two product stack against each other once they are released.