Adaptec Videoh! DVD Media Centre

Anything a set top box can do a PC can do better? That's the claim from Adaptec with its Videoh! DVD Media Centre. The device, which includes a TV tuner, gives you all the functions of a PVR system as well as the ability to transfer VHS and camcorder data to your PC for further editing or storage

Connecting to the PC by the USB2.0 port, the Videoh!'s transfer speeds are fast enough to get the job done. It would've been nice to include Firewire as well, but then that would drastically reduce the appeal to the home users this device is so obviously aimed at and increase the price with a second set of royalties to pay.

With only LEDs and a power switch on the device itself, everything is controlled via remote control or software on the PC. On the back of the box you'll find an Analogue TV aerial input although annoyingly satellite or cable aren't provided for. On the front you are presented with Audio (left and right) phono inputs as well as a video phono (yellow) and S-Video input. The remote is fairly standard and gives you access to all the PVR functionality with the rest, such as setup being handled by various software components. All the software you'll need to take avantage of the system is included in the box, including InterVideo WinDVR v3 and Sonic MyDVD v4.04.

For those not familiar with PVR technology, it allows you to pause, rewind, and record live television by “timeshifting”. This, while sounding like something from a Jan Claude Van Damme movie it does rely on you having a large and fast hard drive to cope with the amount of data. Recording can then be watched there and then, or burnt to a DVD or CD depending on what you fancy.

Verdict

All in all, this is a good product that does what it sets out to do and as long as you have powerful enough kit to cope. At £160 it launched with a price tag £700 cheaper than its under the TV counterparts and even with recent price drops in the Hi-Fi arena, just like DVD-ROM drives, the computer equivalent remains cheaper.