CeBit Field Notebook: FAST TV PVR Connects with Mac Movies, Music, Photos

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Date: Wednesday, March 19th, 2003, 18:51
Category: Archive

I just found a product everyone will WANT! FAST TV Server AG, a German company making PVRs, showed the “Media Player” on the CeBit. It’s a terminal that has an Ethernet jack and a PCMCIA slot for getting data from your Mac and a bunch of connectors (FBAS, S-Video, VGA, component, SPDIF, optical audio) to connect it to your TV/home cinema.

When the included Mac/Windows server app is running, the Media Player can access your iTunes playlists, your iPhoto albums, and all MPEG-1/2/4 and DivX movies in your “Movies” folder. Plus, you can browse the Web on your TV and use Yahoo Messenger. The Media Player is a slim box; a large dot-matric LCD (useful if you use it to play music with the TV off) and a IR keyboard are optional. The price is EUR300 (incl. GST) in Germany. The TV Server TVS-200N adds a cable TV capable PVR (satellite will be available as an upgrade in summer) with a 160 GB HD and a highly sophisticated program guide.

You can program the video recorder wherever you are: you just login to with your password, select the shows you want to record and log out. The data will be transmitted to your TV server on the TV signal’s text section — no need to have a permanent internet connenction. You can access the recorded shows from your Mac; they are stored as normal MPEG-2 files. You can also access the files on a TV server from a FAST Media player.

The price for the TV server is a bit steep, around EUR2000 – but it’s the first officially Mac-compatible PVR that also serves as a iTunes/iPhoto/DivX terminal, so I think we have another winner here. [Ed: for less money, the TiVo has some, but not all, of these features. I don’t know what TiVo’s availability is in Europe, however. Someone over there, feel free to fill us in. -PK]

You can see pics of both devices at the FAST forum. You’ll have to scroll down a bit, but its worth it!

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