Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are You Interested in Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC?

Get Your Free Nero Liquid TV TiVo PC

Traditionally, anyone who wanted to convert a PC into a DVR was limited to the likes of Windows Media Center, SnapStream Beyond TV, or (for the more adventurous DIYers) MythTV.

Starting in mid-October, however, people can turn their Windows PCs into a full-on TiVo DVR thanks to Nero's new Liquid TV package. The software effectively turns a standard PC into a full-service TiVo DVR, replete with the same interface, program guide, and ease-of-use as TiVo's standalone hardware DVRs--but with the added ability to burn recorded shows to DVD or export them to portable devices such as the iPod or PlayStation Portable.

So, what are the potential drawbacks? If Liquid TV is like other TiVo products, content providers or broadcasters could use program "flags" to make it impossible for certain shows to be transferred to DVD or portable (or recorded at all). But the bigger problem could be the HD issue for anyone not using an over-the-air antenna source. If you want to record a program from your cable or satellite box--for something not over-the-air like HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, USA, ESPN--most PCs only allow standard-definition video capture (composite or S-Video). To get HD quality, there are only two possibilities: capturing the HD video output stream from the external cable/satellite box, or getting a PC with internal CableCard support.

Unfortunately, peripherals and PCs with hardware support for either solution remain rare. Note that Liquid TV doesn't offer internal support for Internet bells and whistles found on TiVo boxes--stuff like Amazon Video-on-Demand, TiVoCasts, podcast support, Internet radio, and so forth. But since you're already using a computer, all of that would be superfluous, anyway. Its absence isn't much of a loss.

Is Liquid TV worth buying? If PC makers could make it easier to get an external HD cable feed, I think it would eliminate the product's biggest red flag. Also, competing products like SnapStream's Beyond TV already offer built-in support for antenna HD recording, DVD burning, and transfer to portable devices. Still, the ability to get a true TiVo interface, the TiVo remote, and the necessary accessories and dongles in one box--along with a year of service--could well make Nero Liquid TV a compelling PC DVR option for many.

Get Your Free Nero Liquid TV TiVo PC



Artsy said...

Great post! I love my TiVo and was waiting for this new product to come out. Now this information makes me wonder if I should get it or not... thanks!

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