Expo Notes: Tune in, TubeStick out

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Editor’s Note: All this week, Macworld editors will report from the Macworld Expo show floor on meetings with Mac developers, new product announcements, and anything else that catches their eye.

Ahh, the Tube—that’s actually the polite word for TV in my parents’ circle. But however you feel about it deep down, you’ll be able to watch and even share your viewing experience with others with Equinux’s TubeStick hybrid, a TV receiver that will be available in the U.S. next month for $129.

Plug this tiny USB device into your Mac and receive free digital HDTV as well as digital cable and analog TV signals. You get the receiver, mini antenna, adapter and cable, and The Tube software right in the box.

The Tube lets you watch, timeshift, and record live TV, but also makes watching more social, especially if, for example, your political debate buddies aren’t sitting on the couch next to you splitting a bottle of chardonnay. The Tube’s new TubeTalk feature—a chat room available for all running TV programs—lets you and your companions across the country trash the politicians before they even stop talking. BuddySurfing, another feature, lets you keep track of your friends when they get bored with the political spin and start to channel surf.

But what if you’re on the go? That’s where an optional Web-based service called TubeToGo comes in handy. It lets you remotely schedule, manage, and watch your programs while you’re en route. With TubeToGo you can publish your library on .Mac or to an FTP server and watch the programs via WiFi on your iPod Touch or iPhone.

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