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Gateway touts PC-TV satellite capability

Digital satellite-signal reception technology takes the convergence of personal computers and televisions into new territory.

In debuting its flagship PC-TV at Comdex, Gateway 2000 (GTW) will highlight digital satellite-signal reception technology that takes the convergence of personal computers and televisions into new territory.

Gateway's Destination Digital Media Computer (DMC) will offer a digital satellite receiver card that connects PCs to portions of the Web via satellite and makes possible video streaming of movies.

Manufactured by Adaptec, the Satellite Express receiver card allows high-speed data downloads via satellite of digital high-resolution TV programming, broadcast Web sites (known as Webcasting), and data-enhanced TV programming, according to Adaptec.

Adaptec has said in the past that satellite services are available for pay-per-view shows, sporting events, and downloadable software and games.

The card feeds digital satellite service programming and information into PCs at speeds of up to 30 mbps. By comparison, modems today download only 56 kbps at best.

Gateway's DMC also features DVD and, in anticipation of its availability, digital TV. These technologies are expected to replace CDs and analog TV, respectively.

The DMC comes standard with an Intel 300-MHz Pentium II processor, 64MB of memory, a high-end graphics chip, an 8.4GB hard drive, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

A 36-inch screen and a surround-sound system highlight the home entertainment components; the unit also includes three audio/video connectors that let users connect VCR, stereo, and audio equipment. Other connections include microphone inputs and a Universal Serial Bus port.

The DMC will cost just under $5000. Already on the market, Gateway's Destination PC-TV, with a 31.5-inch monitor, costs about $500 less.