Analog Output Support

Written by James McLean
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The explosion of film and media editing in personal computing is far from over. It seems every day you hear about another independent film that was edited entirely on Final Cut Pro, or another dance party in which all the video output was generated by a single notebook PC. No wonder that more customers are demanding those machines interface more gracefully with many of the technologies we already know and love.

TV tuner cards are the hot new thing for mobile computing, and it's not hard to see why. These clever extension cards turn any computer into a full-featured television, complete with Tivo-like pause and playback capabilities. Of course storing your favorite shows does no good if you can't watch them on any TV in the house.

Analog Returns

That's why modern notebook manufacturers are beginning to include unusual features like analog outputs with the video cards they sell. Why require S-video or digital screens when you can just as easily throw a signal down a coaxial line like the kind that runs your home's cable. The most versatile laptops in the world can output in digital or analog, ensuring any device on the planet should have no trouble getting a signal.

There are ways to make computers smarter, and this is one of the best recent examples. When your computer speaks in something other than ones and zeros, it suddenly becomes backward compatible with generations of playback devices. For many homes and a wide swath of hobbyists, this development is music to their ears.

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