BroadClip announced last week a new "broadcatching" system that records video content directly from cable TV for later viewing on iPods and eventually PSPs, Zunes, and other media players. Appropriately named MediaCatcher, the system includes the Windows-compatible software, access to BroadClip’s programming guide, tuner card, and cables for $200 (laptop bundle with USB tuner), $180 (desktop bundle with PCI tuner), or $80 (software only).
According to company CEO Sam Abadir, using MediaCatcher to record broadcast TV is legal because "it falls squarely under the U.S. Supreme Court mandated Fair Use of cable TV content." Although BroadClip clearly states on its website that it has no plans to compete directly with TiVo, I’m pretty sure that preselecting an episode or an entire season of a sitcom, recording it automatically, and watching it whenever you want to is the basic idea behind TiVo and other DVR services.
If you don’t have an iPod and can’t wait for future PMP support, recorded content can also be viewed on your computer using Windows Media Player (and presumably other players as well). Mac and Linux compatibility are expected in 2007.
Paired with a device like the iRecord, the MediaCatcher looks like a nice alternative to shelling out $2 each for an episode on iTunes.[Product page via MobileWhack]