LifeView, a little known company with some great productsFounded in 1990 as Animation Technologies, Inc., and now retail branding under the banner of LifeView, the company has regional offices in the USA, Europe, and, of course, a manufacturing centre in China and HQ in Taiwan.
LifeView's Taiwan HQ is housed on the 8th floor of a large, high-rise office block and the reception area, pictured below, is indicative of many smaller companies
The first-time I'd personally come across the brand was at CeBIT 2006 on Cyberlink's stand, where one of LifeView's PCIe x1 products, a Dual-DVB-T tuner (LR540), was on display. Incidentally, now, the same model number, LR540, interfaces via USB connectivity.
Up until recently, it has been concentrating on the OEM/ODM marketplace which is why you've probably not encountered the brand before.
In fact in the same month, Bob Crabtree, editor of HEXUS Lifestyle, reported on Lifeview's Fly-DVB-T card being bundled with PowerCinema in a special Football Edition bundle.
The reception area showcases most of LifeView's card-based tuner products, and there's plenty of them (click to enlarge).
LifeView also offers a small range of USB, Compact Flash, and SD-card webcam's with either 0.3 or 1.3 MP resolutions
It also had a small demonstration area where (if you could understand the Chinese language interface) you could try out one or two of its internal expansion card products.
The first of two really cool products we spotted during our visit was LifeView's LR822T2A2M model, which is part of their FlyTV Express X1 range of cards.
What makes this product interesting is that apart from utilising one of the underused PCIe x1 slots instead of the conventional PCI as an interface to your motherboard, it manages to pack Dual DVB-T (Philips TDA10046A) and dual analogue Silicon (Philips TDA8275A) tuners, along with a ViXS XCode II-L Dual Hardware MPEG-2/4 encoder chip, and 64MiB of Samsung DDR-400 memory (used for the frame buffer) on to a low-profile PCB.
Therefore, you can drop this card into pretty much any normal desktop or media center PC (assuming it has a free PCIe x1 expansion slot), and get the ability to watch and/or record up to 2 analogue (normal, non-digital TV from your aerial), or 2 digital terrestrial (Freeview) channels at the same time, and without it placing a heavy load on the host processor, which frees up the CPU to run non-hard-disk intensive tasks such as reading HEXUS or playing a game.
And with Windows XP MCE-certified drivers it's an ideal card for integrating into a self-built Media Centre PC running Microsoft Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005. S-Video and composite inputs are nice, too.
The second card, the LR843T2A2M,, which is part of the FlyTV Express X16 range of cards and not yet listed on LifeView's 'site, is ideal if you're looking to build a Media Centre PC and want to ensure the best possible quality, analogue or digital terrestrial viewing, and PVR playback to your HDMI-equipped high-definition display.
The LR843T2A2M utilises a spare PCI-E x16 slot, and, in addition to providing all the same functionality of its PCIe x1 equivalent mentioned above, the card is equipped with a HDMI digital audio+video output and coaxial S/PDIF digital audio input. That's what the rear shot, above, highlights.
A couple of innovative products from a company you'll be hearing more about in the near future.