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Philips turns on feature-filled Media Centre system

But where's the digital TV tuner?

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Philips has begun pitching its entry into the Media Centre PC arena to UK consumers, touting its MPC9350i as the ultimate home entertainment rig, offering music and movie playback, twin TV tuners, hard disk-based PVR functionality, wireless internet access and more.

philips mpc9350i media center pc

The MPC9350i is part of Philips' Showline range. It's got a 3GHz Pentium 4, 512MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive on board. It runs Windows XP Media Center Edition. There are a pair of TV tuners built in, to allow you to watch one channel while recording another, though bizarrely they're both analogue, so you'll still need to buy a separate digital receiver system like a Freeview or Freesat box. Doh!

Saved programmes can be kept on the hard drive or achived onto the optical unit, which supports dual-layer DVD±R, single-layer DVD±R/RW and even CD-R/RW. It will read all these formats too. There's an eight-in-one memory card reader for getting pics of cameras and other devices, or you can use the MPC9350i's four USB 2.0, two six-pin Firewire and solitary four-pin Firewire ports.

The box has an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi adaptor and a port for 10/100Mbps Ethernet networks. It's got SCART, RCA, DVI, S-video and plenty of other audio and video ports, and it ships with a stack of cables and adaptors, including DVD-to-HDMI and SCART-to-S-video. You'll find a remote control and a wireless keyboard in the box too.

All of which doesn't come cheap: the MCP9350I will retail for around £1000, apparently. ®

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