Friday, November 21, 2008

BeyondTV 4.9 Arrives – 3 Big Features

The folks at Snapstream have been busy working on the latest version of the popular BeyondTV PVR software and today they’ve released BeyondTV 4.9 for all to use.  With BeyondTV 4.9 comes 3 big features:
  1. Clear QAM support for additional QAM tuners (beyond the SiliconDust HDHR)
  2. Placeshifiting for recorded TV via the built-in BeyondTV web admin
  3. Official (improved) beta support for H.264 and therefore Hauppauge HD-PVR
In addition there are several bug fixes and other items, but the biggest news for existing BeyondTV users just might be the fee increase for version 4.9 – more on that later.  First we’ll review the new features.

Clear QAM Tuner Support – the following QAM tuners are officially supported by BeyondTV 4.9:
  • ATI/AMD Theater 650 family
  • AverMedia A180 (QAM capable ones)
  • AverMedia M780
  • Hauppauge HVR-950Q
  • Hauppauge HVR-1250
  • Hauppauge HVR-1600
  • Hauppauge HVR-1800
  • Hauppauge HVR-1950
  • Hauppauge HVR-2250
  • Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Dual Network Tuner

Snapstream has been working on a placeshifting feature for their web admin for several months now and with 4.9 it is built-in.  They built-in a video player for the BeyondTV web admin which allows you to access and watch your recorded shows via the web.  For long-time readers you may remember that BeyondTV has had placeshifting abilities for a while now (see screencast of the earlier version of placeshifting BTV) although this placeshifting came via a user-developed (thanks to ccarlin) version of BeyondTV's.  The new, official version for placeshifting uses Microsoft Silverlight which should allow it to work on multiple platforms.  The bad news is this new placeshifter doesn’t add liveTV support at least thus far.  Still, it’s nice to have the feature officially supported by Snapstream.

Beyond TV Placeshifting
        Screen-shot of BeyondTV Placeshifting from Web Admin

H.264 transcoding & Improved Hauppauge HD-PVR Support
BeyondTV version 4.9 brings with it official beta support for H.264 which allows for use of the Hauppauge HD-PVR tuner (recorded and liveTV for all digital channels via Cable or Satellite box).  Snapstream has been very careful to say that the current support with the HD-PVR is beta-level support and there are still some issues with the HD-PVR and Snapstream.

Fee increase with BeyondTV 4.9
Ready for the bad news?  Well, Snapstream has decided to package H.264 support with the DVD Burning add-on and wrap it all into a single BeyondTV package.  If you’re a BeyondTV user who has already purchased the DVD Burning plug-in for BeyondTV then you get to upgrade to 4.9 at no cost, but if you haven’t you’ll have to buy the “plugin” which will cost you an additional $29.99 in order to get the ability to transcode to h.264.  The BeyondTV package now costs $99 for the download version or $109 for the CD version.

UPDATE:  Existing users of BeyondTV 4.x CAN upgrade to 4.9 without paying for the plugin and they can still get the HD-PVR to work with it.  But to enable transcoding to h.264 you'll need to own or purchase the $29.99 plugin.  New users will of course have to pay the $99 for the entire package though.

Additional Features in 4.9
  • Tech support upload through Web Admin
  • Add recording-level setting for "max days" expiration
  • StreamSnip on the fly for ATSC and QAM recordings
  • Add option to tag recordings automatically with the name of user who scheduled them
  • Create a new MPEG-2 transport stream demux
  • Support Hauppauge HVR-2250
For an entire list of new features and bug fixes check out the release notes. To download click here.
via Snapstream Blog