Maxtor and Scientific Atlanta last week attracted column inches on their plans for the next generation of DVRs, due for release in about 18 months. But what exactly are they talking about when they boast of 6 stream technology? To date, pegging the price of DVRs and VCRs meant that they could feature a limited number of tuners. A tuner sorts through the signals on a TV network - digital or analogue - and selects the wavelength carrying the required programme. The tuner then unscrambles it and readies it for viewing pleasure. In the past, including two tuners was thought to be an extravagance, and any more than that completely unnecessary.
The rationale behind this was that the single-TV consumer would be unlikely to want to record more than two programs at a time, while either watching one of them or watching a third recorded program. With the advent of home networks, and with three or more TVs in the house, many households will, in future, want to watch multiple recorded streams. What's more, there may still be the requirement to be recording up to two further channels - at least. This means that 6 concurrent video streams need to be supported.
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News source: The Reg