The great thing about SnapStream's Beyond TV 3 was that it enabled the creation of a HTPC without the need to purchase an entire system to get some of the functionality of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 OS. Its limitation was that the program only provided the TV experience and left out things like a music/media/photo library, playing DVDs, FM tuning, and everything else that Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 brought to the table along with the TV experience.

We have seen and tried lots of MCE imitation software (i.e. InterVideo's Home Theater), but nothing so far has come even close enough to making a great impression on us. Since the last time we checked, Microsoft is maintaining that they will not release MCE 2004 as a direct-to-end user product, which means until they do, there will need to be someone to fill the gap. And with the dropping costs of computer components, people are finding new ways to use their old/spare computer parts, and a HTPC for the home entertainment system answers that need well; either that or spending at least $800+ on a MCE 2004 system. While the hardware requirements needed for HTPCs aren't the same as the latest and the greatest, software continues to be an issue. After all, your HTPC needs to be just as good as TiVo and with more features, if it is going to be worth sinking some of your hard earned money into one.

Aside from SnapStream, the other name popping up in HTPC talks is Frey Technologies' SageTV 2.0. After we finished taking a look at SnapStream's Beyond TV 3, several of you asked for a SageTV 2.0 review, and we are here to deliver.

The Test
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  • MlbDude - Sunday, July 25, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • Saist - Sunday, July 25, 2004 - link

    I only have one comment to make.

    D-link??? EWWWWW.

    Reply
  • Spearhawk - Sunday, July 25, 2004 - link

    Nice article. It would be intresting to see a simelar on GB-PVR (http://www.gbpvr.com/), which is freeware. I actuly prefare it before Sage TV. Reply
  • nullpointerus - Sunday, July 25, 2004 - link

    Very interesting article! I would like to add one bit of information: while it is true that SnapStream cannot stream hardware-encoded TV files over the network without a fairly lengthy reencoding process, they will be removing this restriction in the next version. Also, they will be adding multiple tuner support, parental controls, and some user privacy settings. Maybe Anandtech will reexamine SnapStream at that time? The HTPC world seems to be in a very "buyer beware" mode right now, and it's good to have such in-depth reviews of each product. Reply
  • coolred - Sunday, July 25, 2004 - link

    Still reading, looks good so far. I have been using sage TV 2.0 for about a month or so now, works great. One thing though, I see you mentioned that it is available for download only, and while this may be the case from frey themselves, PC alchemy sells sage TV as both a download or on a CD, thats where I got mine from.

    I believe one of thier employees, or possibly the owner himself is a member of these fine forums we have.

    Keep up the good work. Next we need a "How to build and awesome HTPC" article.
    Reply

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