SageTV Media Center software coming to the Mac

Media Center software-maker SageTV says it is bringing two of its products to the Macintosh. The company’s flagship media center package, SageTV, will arrive early in the new year, while the remote viewing software, Placeshifter, is expected sometime in the next month or so.

“We’ve received a lot of interest from Macintosh users asking us to bring SageTV to the Mac,” Mike Machado, SageTV CEO, told Macworld. “More homes have mixed environments these days and people want to be able to watch TV on a big screen regardless of their operating system.”

Currently available for Windows and Linux, SageTV gives users Tivo-like functionality on their computers. Users have the ability to pause and rewind live TV, record television programs to the computer hard drive, set up season passes for favorite shows and do keyword searches using the integrated programming guide.

Using the Plextor ConvertX 402U or other capable device, SageTV can also record shows in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 or DivX.

The capabilities of SageTV go beyond recording television shows. You are also able to listen to music stored on your hard drive, view pictures, get weather reports for your area and set parental controls for content on the system.

SageTV will certainly have some competition when it enters the market, not the least of which from Apple itself. While Apple’s upcoming iTV does not include PVR (Personal Video Recorder) capabilities, it will allow users to play songs, music videos, movies and television shows purchased from the iTunes Store. This functionality is very important to users and is closed to all companies but Apple because of its FairPlay DRM.

Machado said that all of the details and features have not been worked out for the Macintosh products, but the company is aware what Mac users are looking for.

“We are still working on what level of integration we will be able offer our customers,” said Machado. “These are important things for us and our customers.”

From what he’s heard from customers, Machado believes that many users want an integrated PVR on their computer. This feature, among other things, will help set SageTV apart from iTV and other products.

“People are telling us that they want a PVR and all of their personal media,” said Machado. “We think solving the PVR issue is important for customers.”

Knowing how much Mac users value design, Machado said that they are working on the SageTV interface to make it a little more familiar to Mac users.

SageTV also has the ability to accept third-party plug-ins. An active developer community has built plug-ins to enable automatic commercial skip, new theme layouts for the interface and many other enhancements. While Machado said he can’t be sure if all of this will work right off on the Mac version he said he is looking forward to having Macintosh developers pitch-in to that community.

The other product SageTV is coming out with for the Mac is called Placeshifter. This allows users to access SageTV (on any platform) over a network from any location.

Placeshifter not only gives users the ability to watch recorded TV, but you can also schedule recordings, adjust settings and watch live TV — basically, you can do whatever you could do if you were sitting right in front of SageTV using the exact same interface.

Pricing for the Mac products has not been set, but the Windows version of Placeshifter is $29.95 and SageTV is $79.95. The company also offers several bundles.

This story, "SageTV Media Center software coming to the Mac" was originally published by PCWorld.

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