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Via satellite, high-speed access

Adaptec will begin to market a product that connects PCs to high-speed satellite-based Internet links.

Adaptec (ADPT) will begin to market a product which connects PCs to high-speed satellite-based Internet links.

Adaptec, a manufacturer of data-transfer products for computers, announced a satellite receiver circuit board, or card, for PCs to allow Web surfing via high-speed satellite hookups.

Adaptec says it is collaborating with direct broadcast satellite operator DirecTV and Microsoft. IBM and Gateway 2000 have announced "their intention to support DirecTV's direct satellite system in planned PC systems," Adaptec said.

Based on a "push" technology model, the broadcast content that users can download with the Adaptec card includes digital high-resolution TV entertainment programming, broadcast Web sites (known as Webcasting), new video-enhanced multimedia magazines, and data-enhanced TV programming, the company said.

To enable these services requires a high-speed connection, Adaptec added. Its ABA-1010 card is a satellite connection utilizing PCI technology, a high-performance data transfer technology used in almost all PCs shipping today.

The ABA-1010 feeds digital satellite service programming and information into PCs at speeds of up to 30 mbps. By comparison, modems today download only 33 kbps at best.

The ABA-1010 includes a feature whereby a service subscriber can immediately set up access to a variety of services, pay-per-view shows, sporting events, and downloadable software and games.

The DSS receiver card uses a standard coaxial cable to connect to the 18-inch antenna (satellite dish) to the PC or PC-TV, eliminating the need for a separate set-top box.

The Adaptec ABA-1010 is available to PC vendors and OEMs at a sample unit price of $395.