Even if you are away from home you can log into your Snapstream.NET account from a PC or a WAP and upload recording settings to your PVR at home. Handy if you forget to set the system to record the game and you're out of town.

Snapstream Personal Video Station

Rob Williams

Snapstream Personal Video Station
by Rob Williams

Even if you are away from home you can log into your Snapstream.NET account from a PC or a WAP and upload recording settings to your PVR at home. Handy if you forget to set the system to record the game and you're out of town.


Have you thought about replacing your VCR and tapes for a more modern way of recording your TV shows and movies? Rather than pay for subscription services for a Personal Video Recording TIVO device you can do this on your computer. You need a reasonably fast system, a TV tuner card and a software program to manage the functions you want. 

Most people prefer to watch their shows on a TV rather than a computer. I have tried ... but I am not comfortable watching TV shows from my Lazy boy on a computer. I prefer using a TV output tuner card and watching on a TV screen. 

The package I set up for this review is the Snapstream Personal Video Station 3 along with a remote control unit and a Hauppauge tuner card. This product utilizes free US TV listings for your area and puts the information in an easy to use interface allowing future viewing or time shifting (you watch the show delayed by usually 30 minutes and thererfore can pause the show, skip commercials and move forward and back). The user interface has been developed so the settings can be used with a remote for use from your recliner.

You can customize your channel layout, change the quality of the program recordings to suit available disk space and even convert the show to different quality for viewing on your pocket pc. And Snapstream can do one thing that a TIVO cannot ... control the system from any computer on your home network via a browser. This way you can record to the PVR PC and then stream the recorded shows to any computer ... you can even point your browser to the system with the tuner and watch TV in a small window. Even if you are away from home you can log into your Snapstream.NET account from a PC or a WAP and upload recording settings to your PVR at home. Handy if you forget to set the system to record the game and are out of town.

This software supports most tuner cards on the market and has a lot of features that Microsoft has not incorporated in their Windows Media Centre products. If you are outside the US as I am ... you can use one of the XML TV listing services. Just grab the data and import it to your snapstream guide. This software package has plenty of features and is easy to setup and use. Personal Video Station is available online at www.snapstream.com for a suggested retail price of $99.99 and no monthly subscription fees. The tuner card is also available for $50 and the remote control is $35.

Other Features

  • Support for hardware encode TV tuner cards all but eliminates CPU usage during recording

  • Completely free EPG with no monthly charges for users in the United States

  • Supports resuming playback of recorded shows at the position where you last stopped watching

  • Automatically uses spare CPU time to recompress your recordings to Windows Media to save space

  • Supports DivX, XviD and MP3 playback of movies and music with properly installed codecs

  • Records natively to MPEG-2 or Windows Media. No restrictive or proprietary file formats

  • Integrated streaming server supports streaming Windows Media files over any network

  • Integrated live TV streaming lets you stream to yourself over your home network

  • Mobile.snapstream.net and native WAP support lets you use your cell phone or PDA to schedule remote recordings from anywhere

  • Fully DirectX 9 accelerated interface with alpha blending. Takes full advantage of nVidia, ATI, and other 3D cards to provide advanced animation and effects

  • Supports Automatic, 4:3, 16:9, and Stretch to Fit aspect ratios

  • Integrated brightness, gamma and contrast controls

  • Native per pixel motion adaptive deinterlacing improves picture quality

  • Advanced recording prioritization lets you choose exactly what gets recorded


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