Date: May 27th, 2005
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner & Head Editor)
Product was donated by: ATI
<--SHOP FOR AN ATI TV WONDER USB 2.0 HERE
ATI MULTIMEDIA CENTRE 9.03 (cont'd)
Although, it also can be used in a window, THRUVIEW™ Desktop is a great feature that enables you to work as usual, and watch TV at the same time. The transparency can be adjusted to your taste and preference.
That's right folks, not only do you have TV on your computer, but you have a free TV listing guide at your fingertips. Installing it is a breeze and after entering your zip or postal code, it will automatically download and install the TV schedule for your area. This option alone would take up about three pages to explain everything in detail, it's completely full featured with listings of every genre and also can be setup to record a program for you on a specific channel, at a specific time.
Personal Video Recording sessions can have capture options for display resolution, encoding type, input, de-interlacing options, audio format, frame sequence, bit rate, and file size customized, to suit the requirements of the user. New in MMC 9.03 PVR is next generation video filtering, VideoSoaptm. TV feeds often show poor quality images due to noise introduced to the signal; users see snow, graininess, or ghosting. VideoSoap™ provides default configurations that help remove residual noise from TV feeds, or allows custom configuration of filtering to improve the image prior to capture. Files created with the filtering applied play back with improved visual quality, at a lower encoded bitrate. Archived files can then be a more enjoyable experience than the original experience.
For Video CDs and Karaoke playback, MMC 9.03 provides VCD Player. Users may customize the control panel and access advanced features like Still Capture from a familiar control panel. Operation of the VCD panel follows other players in MMC with a consistent format and easy to use functions.
For captured files, *.MP3's, downloaded video or audio streams, MMC 9.03 provides File Player, a general purpose player for audio or video file types. File player offers intelligent control panel display, based on file type. Display options include THRUVIEW™ Window, a feature that plays video back over the desktop, making icons and applications visible through the player. Users may access advanced player options such as Still Capture.
TESTING THOUGHT AND IMPRESSIONS
Overall I don't have much to say in the negative department on this product. It installed perfectly, it guided me through the setup without issue and I was watching TV on my computer in a matter of 2 minutes. Can't ask too much more than that. The product does not change channels as fast as the PCI version but it in no way is slow. Other than that, the one thing I will note for you guys is the following.
Seeing the product is USB reliant, it does use a bit more processor cycles when compared to the PCI version. The CPU usage fluctuated between 11-16% when watching TV and changing channels. Again, this is not a huge concern in my mind and shouldn't be a concern when using this product with any of the new laptops with USB 2.0. Just as a side note, you will not be able to use this product with a USB 1.1 capable computer at all so don't even try it. All you will get is a warning screen saying that the product will not work when you are installing the drivers and software.
People buying this product primarily will be using the TV functionality, but if you want to use the A/V inputs, you will have no problem recording your camcorder media or a DVD with the included software.