27 Jan 2007, 19:34

Beyond TV Link

I continue to be impressed with SnapStream’s PVR related software offerings. A couple weeks ago it dawned on me that, wait a minute, Beyond TV Link might be pretty useful to put on a laptop. I mean, what if I want to watch TV or a recorded show but I’m too lazy to walk downstairs? What if I want to watch a recently recorded episode of Mythbusters while Jolayne watches Grey’s Anatomy? That certainly was an intriguing concept and so I shelled out for a license to see what it could do. It turns out that the standard Beyond TV app is actually also a server, and all it takes is the Beyond TV Link client to connect to it and get full access to watch recorded shows and live TV remotely, all from an interface that feels identical to the full version of the app. One of the coolest things about it is how brain-dead simple it is to get it started. There’s no configuration required at all. I was expected at the very least to have to give it the address or name of the machine running the full Beyond TV but as soon as you start Beyond TV Link it finds the BTV server on your network automatically. Quality-wise it’s quite impressive as well. Running across a 54mpbs 802.11g network there’s no loss of quality or performance in the interface or in watching live or recorded TV. It feels exactly like the laptop has a TV tuner card and it’s own full copy of Beyond TV installed. Now the second tuner card I added to our PVR machine comes in extra handy since that allows Beyond TV Link to view a different channel than the main machine when watching live TV at the same time. It’s also impressive to note that it performs well enough that the PVR machine, a near ancient 1.2Mhz AMD with only 384MB RAM, can handle displaying its own show while streaming to the linked machine without any noticeable performance hit. It’s been a great addition so far.