NVIDIA announces Personal Cinema 2.0

NVIDIA has let loose a couple of press releases about its new Personal Cinema 2.0. NVIDIA's freshman Personal Cinema effort wasn't as compelling an offering as ATI's All-in-Wonder cards, but the Personal Cinema 2.0 may be more competitive.

Here's a quick rundown of the Personal Cinema 2.0's features from one of the press releases:

  • Watch, control and record live TV:  Watch the shows you want, when you want with Personal Video Recorder (PVR) functionality and a free electronic programming guide.  Simultaneous watch and record allows for recording live TV while watching your favorite DVD movie.
  • Direct burn of digital media and live TV:  Advanced recording capabilities allow you to record directly to DVD or CDs in real-time.  In addition, DVD recording capabilities enable consumer to create or expand their digital libraries by transforming old VHS content, or any video source, directly to DVD or CD with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • NVIDIA NVDVD™ media player:  Experience smooth, crystal clear DVD playback with rich surround sound on your PC or TV.  The NVIDIA NVDVD media player is a single application enabling consumers to enjoy and manage MP3 music, photo slideshows, and playback of all popular video and audio formats. 
  • Advanced RF remote control:  Designed and preprogrammed for advanced functionality, including mouse capabilities, this wireless remote arms consumers with an easy way to command their PC CD/DVD player, TV tuner, PVR, and MP3 player from anywhere in the home
Features-wise, this new Personal Cinema looks like it should be better-equipped to go up against the All-in-Wonder. I've seen a couple of Comdex pictures that suggest that NVIDIA's new RF remote is identical to ATI's Remote Wonder, which I couldn't be happier about. Adding functionality to allow for direct recording to CD or DVD is also a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the press releases don't suggest that the Personal Cinema 2.0 is capable of using pixel shaders to manipulate video streams. This makes a certain amount of sense, because NVIDIA has thus far only announced GeForce4 MX 440-powered versions of the Personal Cinema 2.0. Since it's only a DirectX 7-class part, the GeForce4 MX 440 lacks pixel shaders.

On paper, the Personal Cinema 2.0 looks like a great potential foundation for a PC designed for video playback and PVR applications. However, if the Personal Cinema 2.0 is limited to the GeForce4 MX 440, video editing and gaming enthusiasts will probably want to stick with ATI's All-in-Wonder line or a discrete TV tuner/video capture solution.

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