DVRs get stylish at CeBIT

CeBIT: Digital video recorders are going in the direction of modular hi-fi equipment with TerraTec's new product line, inadvertently named after a northern English city
Written by Jonathan Bennett, Contributor

CeBIT 2003 sees the introduction by TerraTec of its Lancaster digital video system.

While personal video recorders (PVRs) have been available for a while, this is one of the first systems to look more like consumer electronics than a desktop PC. Its name comes from its network connectivity -- LAN caster -- rather than one of the sides in the English War of the Roses.

The Lancaster system is modular, consisting of a TV tuner (analogue or digital), a hard disk module and an interface module that ties the system together and connects to your TV.

The modules are connected using standard Ethernet connections, giving you flexibility over where the modules are placed and used. Multiple storage and interface modules can be used, increasing the capacity of the system and allowing multiple TVs to be used for watching programmes.

Like most PVR systems, Lancaster allows time shift recording so you can "pause" live TV programmes. Since the Lancaster is networked, you can also watch recorded programmes on PCs around your home with just an Ethernet connection.

While the Lancaster itself doesn't have a wireless interface, it can be networked to a wireless access point if you have one. You can also use PCs to load media onto the storage module so that, for instance, home movies shot on a DV camera and edited on a PC can be watched on a TV easily.

While the Lancaster has no Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) integration in its first incarnation, the inclusion of the network interface makes it possible to upgrade it to use a broadband connection to download programme timings, although TerraTec remains tight-lipped on the subject.

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