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Sapphire’s XtendTV launches

AMD might have killed the ATI All-in-Wonder cards some time ago, but it hasn't stopped Sapphire from coming up with its own solution called the XtendTV which is based around a Radeon HD 5570 card with the addition of a TV-tuner. However, Sapphire has taken things to the next level by adding internet streaming to the mix, a feature that the old All-in-Wonder cards never had.

The XtendTV may not have the most powerful GPU, but considering that the card is most likely going to find a home in HTPCs, it might not be a huge issue. The card features a DVB-T tuner, although presumably Sapphire will offer other options later on judging by the "DVB-T only at launch" asterisk from the press release. Beyond the antenna connector the card also sports a dual-link DVI port and an HDMI 1.3a port as well as a mini USB port which doesn't have any specified usage at this point in time.

As for the streaming, Sapphire is supplying software from Mirics that allows for one-to-one streaming, i.e. only one source can view the streamed content which Sapphire claims will avoid license and IP issues. Presumably the TV-tuner is also from Mirics as the company offers a wide range of tuners for various platforms. Sapphire hasn't specified which mobile devices though it is possible to stream to either. And simply mentioning that the client software is required for the streaming to work is not exactly helpful. On top of that, you need an internet connection with at least 1Mbit upstreams bandwidth to be able to stream to the internet. Finally, Sapphire supplies a Windows MCE compatible remote and USB receiver with the retail package version of the XtendTV.

It's a neat little card, but as we do not know what price tag Sapphire is intending to put on it as yet, we'll reserve judgment until we do. There are still some questions with regards to the streaming software, mostly because we're not familiar with Mirics, and Sapphire would need to clarify with regards to which platforms the video can be streamed to. Still, we can see this become a popular upgrade option for many HTPCs where the graphics performance isn't up to scratch and where users don't want to use a USB TV-tuner. This is the only option for someone that wants an internal TV-tuner and a graphics card upgrade in a system with a single expansion slot.

Source: Sapphire

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