The circuit boards, which effectively allow users to
A Hauppauge TV tuner card
Because few PC vendors have said they will offer these tuner cards, firms like Hauppauge will likely be the primary beneficiary of consumers looking to find the necessary hardware to take advantage of all the features offered by Windows 98.
"The launch of Windows 98 [on June 25] is going to give large exposure to the 'TV-to-PC' market that it's never had before," said Hauppauge chief financial officer Jerry Tucciarone. "Just like the sound card added value to the PC, the TV card is going to add value, too."
Hauppauge is launching three new WinTV boards for Windows 98. The basic model, which lets users watch TV on their PC monitors and take advantage of WaveTop and Intercast supplementary data broadcasting, costs $79. WinTV with a high-end TV stereo system will cost $99, and WinTV with an FM radio receiver will retail for $129.
"The way they've priced it is going to be pretty helpful in getting a lot of new users on board," said Bryant Cherry, an analyst with Oakland, California-based Robert Van investment brokerage.
Although WinTV still is only selling in retail, Tucciarone said the company is in talks to partner with PC vendors to bundle the circuit boards in PCs. "We have established OEM [original equipment manufacturer] contacts, and we continue to solicit OEM contacts," he added.
The company has also seen its stock climb as anticipation of the Windows 98 windfall grows, trading around 4 in February to rise to a high of 14 this month. Hauppauge is partly basking in the reflected glow of the launch of Windows 98, Cherry believes, as well as increased marketing and sales efforts in the United States.