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© St. Petersburg Times, published August 16, 1999
This wireless 2.4-gigahertz transmitter and receiver kit is advertised as a personal computer's DVD broadcast system, but it will work with any video and audio sources that have the red, white and yellow RCA output jacks.
Hardware setup is straightforward. You connect the sending unit to a video device such as a DVD player, VCR or satellite receiver, and the receiving unit to a second TV elsewhere. DVD Anywhere is capable of delivering high-quality visual images and stereo sound through walls, furniture and floors, as long as the sending and receiving units are within 100 feet of each other.
X10 includes a universal remote control that can operate in conjunction with a receiver connected to either the round PS/2 or nine-pin serial port of your computer to run your PC DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive from another room. The remote worked great once it was configured under Windows 3.x or 95/98, but most users will have to ask X10's technical support staff for help with the complicated software setup.
DVD Anywhere lists for $250.
-- JIM BUU
Actiontec Call Waiting Modem
Busy phone signals from active modems have become the bane of the computer-equipped household. Working parents are cut off by teens Web surfing after school; companies can't reach their telecommuters. As a result, telephone companies have made a killing by installing modem-only lines in many of the country's 50-million Internet-connected homes.
Devices addressing the problem have been introduced in the past year, but Actiontec's newest multifaceted 56kbps modem is the first to include a call-waiting feature within the modem.
The Internal PCI Call Waiting Modem allows an attached handset to ring while the modem is engaged. Another option allows incoming calls to be completely ignored, and a third sets the line to automatically disconnect whenever an outside call is sensed.
A semblance of call-screening is allowed. In general, an Internet connection will be maintained for about seven seconds after your modem quits sending signals. With the Actiontec product, users have enough time to pick up the phone, find out who's calling, then resume online activities without having to re-establish the connection.
At $104.99, this model also handles faxes, V.80 video conferencing, answering machine duties with multiple voice mailboxes and remote touch-tone message retrieval. An external, serial port version is available for $20 more.
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