Tech TV

Record your favorite shows on your computer's hard disk

3 min read
The Plextor ConvertX.
Photo: Plextor Corp.

The line between computers and TVs has become blurred. On the TV side, advanced set-top boxes like TiVo record broadcast and cable television directly to a hard disk. On the computer side, services like Apple's iTunes Music Store allow you to download and view popular shows such as Lost and Battlestar Galactica . The advantage of this marriage between television and computing is that you can watch recorded programs at the click of a remote control or a mouse, instead of having to rewind or fast-forward through VHS tapes.

But most set-top boxes require you to sign up for some kind of subscription plan, usually with a cable or satellite provider, and Apple charges for programs on a payâ''as-you-go basis. For those who want the ability to watch TV on their computers and save it to disk without paying additional fees—or any fees in the case of free terrestrial broadcasts—the Plextor ConvertX PX-TV402U PVR (personal video recorder) may be what you're looking for.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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