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Packard Bell breaks into digital home

TVs and set-top boxes for Christmas

Packard Bell, best known for its range of budget PCs, is branching out into other digital home entertainment devices.

The first of these is a set-top box, the TCX-170, for receiving free-to-air digital TV channels. The £100 digital receiver went on sale yesterday and will be available in Dixons stores.

It comes with two Scart ports, so that the TV and VCR can be connected at the same time, widescreen capability, and audio out for connecting to a hi-fi or home theatre system.

Plans are in the works for a version of the receiver with a hard disk so it can be used to record programmes digitally.

Before the end of the year, the company will also launch a range of LCD TVs with 17, 32 and 30in screens. At least one of these models will sport two tuners so that a hard disk can be attached for recording. All are equipped with two Scart ports.

The home entertainment devices are part of Packard Bell's latest range of products destined to hit the stores in the run up to Christmas. The range includes new laptops and desktops designed in white casings, à la Apple, and a new PDA with Pocket PC 2003 software.

The products are being previewed today by Dixons, Packard Bell's exclusive retailer in the UK.

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