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TerraTec Cinergy 2400i DT dual-tuner card

Digital TV on your PC... times two

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Review Digital terrestrial TV is slowly but surely winning viewers over from analogue transmissions in Europe, and with all analogue signals scheduled to be switched off in the UK by 2010 and replaced by DVB-T, it's time to start thinking about how you might want to make the switch...

Terrtec full package

If you've got a Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) PC or something similar containing one or more analogue tuners, TerraTec's Cinergy 2400i DT might be just what you need to facilitate the digital upgrade.

The 2400i DT comes in two different versions: one for MCE PCs and another for those that need a remote control and some software to make it work. The TV tuner card is identical in both packages. It's is a fairly tall, white PCI Express x1 card. This would be a problem with older computers that don't have PCI Express on board. However, this is one of the first PCI Express x1 cards to go beyond SCSI and network controllers, so a big thumbs up to TerraTec for moving TV tuners into the PCI Express era.

What makes the TerraTec Cinergy 2400i DT even more special is that it features two DVB-T tuners, which allows you to use it as a true PVR, to record one show while watching another. This could be an affordable alternative to buying a dedicated dual-tuner PVR as they tend to be heavily over-priced if you're looking at anything above 80GB. Sure, for the card solution you need a PC and it might not be as user friendly as a consumer device, but it's a step in the right direction. Having a second tuner also allows for picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture (although the second picture is smaller than the main one), which you only get with fairly advanced TVs and very rarely with digital TV set-top boxes.

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