Dreamcast morphs into TiVo-modem-gaming thingy

— 12:52 AM on January 30, 2001

You've gotta give Sega credit for what they've done with the Dreamcast. They're licensing the DC hardware for use in set-top boxes, and the result looks immensely nifty. Check out this story about the just-introduced set-top box (for use as a digital cable tuner) that will run DC games. A couple of noteworthy developments make this one stand out.

First, the box has no CD drive:

The hitch, though, is that the box won't actually play game CDs -- it will play them off of a hard drive, with the games being downloaded in only three minutes via digital television bandwidth.
The good news: that's pretty cool. The bad news: you're gonna have to pay something to download those games, no doubt. And I'm interested to see how they manage to squeeze a full Dreamcast game through the pipe in only three minutes. Will games be broadcast, or will the box play the client in a client/server setup? Whatever the case, I kind of like the idea.

Second, this same set-top box will act as an uber-TiVo:

The Games Gateway, like the box Pace is making for Comcast, will also work as a digital video recorder, like TiVo or ReplayTV, though it will have a couple of significant advantages over them. Not only will the box allow game-players to watch live TV in a small window over their game, it will also allow for the simultaneous recording of two live video streams, though only one stream can be watched at a time.
I was just wondering the other day why my TiVo wouldn't record more than one video stream at a time. (Tuners can't be too terribly expensive.) Taken together, these two features oughta make this one heckuva set-top box.
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