Product Watch: The Ultimate PCI Card For The Couch Potato!

Formac ProTV Stereo
2-21-01
In a recent Product Watch we told you about two options for converting analog video footage to digital format, Formac's Studio and Dazzle's Hollywood DV-Bridge. We reviewed the latter product over at MacReviewZone and are waiting for Formac to deliver the Studio to us for review as well.

Both the DV-Bridge and the Studio are targeted at users that plan on doing a lot of conversion in both directions, analog to DV as well as DV to analog. If your needs are more modest and you have a PCi equipped Mac, you might want to check out Formac's ProTV Stereo card. The ProTV, as you might guess, adds a 125 channel TV tuner to your Mac. Channels can be switched from within the ProTV application itself or, more conveniently, via your control strip. The ProTV supports resolutions up to 640x480, so if you want to watch TV at full screen you will need to set your monitor accordingly.

The ProTV is no one trick pony however. It also has a built in stereo FM tuner and can capture video from your video camera or VCR. don't expect video capture to work as well as on a dedicated product. In a recent review, MacAddict noted that 320x240 yielded the best results. The ProTV driver supports a variety of programs including the bundled Adobe Premiere LE, and a variety of web cam programs. Interestingly, it doesn't work with iMovie.

In his review of the ProTV for MacAddict, Buz Zoller had the following to say:

"The ProTV is an amazing value - you'll get lots of bang for your buck. Besides, it's just plain cool to have a full-featured TV or radio available at the click of the mouse."

Formac ProTV Stereo
MSRP: $139
PowerShopper - Best price as of 2-20-01 $129.95 (includes free overnight shipping)
PowerShopper - Check current prices