Today we bring you a review of ATI’s newest Multimedia product, the ATI HDTV Wonder. How does ATI’s latest addition to the TV Wonder family perform? Come and take a closer look.
If you’ve walked into a consumer-electronics store like Best Buy or Circuit City within the past two years, chances are you’ve had the opportunity to see a HDTV display first hand. You’ve noticed the wide 16:9 aspect ratio standard on HDTV’s, the clearer picture, digital sound, and probably the expensive price tag on most televisions that support HDTV. But did you ever think that this technology would become affordable, and available today for under $ 200? Probably not in the short term, and that’s where ATI’s new HDTV Wonder comes in. You may be familiar with ATI’s previous line up in the multimedia front of the PC industry. Their TV Wonder tuner card remains one of the most popular on the market, and also one of the cheapest. The company continues to have a very popular All-In-Wonder series that blends all of ATI’s multimedia video technologies into the company’s latest high end graphics cards. Suffice it to say, ATI has been successful on the multimedia front.
So why a HDTV tuner card you ask? It’s pretty simple actually, and the answer lies in the fact that consumers have been asking for one for quite some time now. However, before I start, it’s important to talk about the technology behind HDTV and how it is brought into your home. Essentially when talking about the visual nature of HDTV, we need to talk about resolution. With more resolution you get a clearer picture, and HDTV specifications support more than two times the lines of resolution of standard NTSC television broadcasts. These broadcasts are brought to your home three different ways: through satellite provider, through your digital cable provider, or through OTA (over the air) broadcasts. Spurring HDTV growth is not only consumer demand, but also government mandate. The FCC has ordered that all television broadcast stations in the United States be HDTV ready by 2006, with over 870 complied already, therefore making HDTV available to the majority of the country’s population.
This now brings us to ATI’s new HDTV Wonder, a card that is destined to take up countless PCI slots in HTPC enthusiast’s computers over the next few months. Designed to be a PVR (personal video recorder) powerhouse, the HDTV Wonder allows for you to watch and record both OTA HDTV and standard analog television on your computer. So stay with us as we take a closer look at ATI’s new multimedia powerhouse, the ATI HDTV Wonder.
- Intel® Pentium® 4, Celeron™, AMD Athlon® or compatible, operating at 1.3GHz or greater
- 256MB of system memory
- Available PCI slot for HDTV WONDER™ card
- Graphics card with 64MB or greater of frame buffer and Microsoft DirectX 9.0 support
- Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
- Interactive Program guide requires Internet connection for listing updates
- Remote Control receiver requires available USB port
- Sound card with speakers
- Windows® XP with Service Pack 1 or higher
TV and HDTV Tuner Requirements:
TV Signal from amplified antenna or cable required for TV function. Version included for:
- NTSC (North America, Japan and Latin America)
HDTV signal from antenna (included) required for HDTV function. Version included for:
- ATSC (North America). Product does not receive satellite or cable HDTV transmissions.
Decodes the Following Signals:
- 1080i (North American HDTV – ATSC)
- 720p (North American HDTV – ATSC)
- 720i (North American HDTV – ATSC)
- 480p (EDTV North American)
- 480i (SDTV North American)
- Quick Install Guide
- User Manual
- ATI Installation CD featuring ATI’s MULTIMEDIA CENTER software
- HDTV WONDER PCI card
- DTV Antenna
- REMOTE WONDER
- Coax Cable
- ATI Input Connector
The bundle you recieve with the ATI HDTV Wonder is of a pretty standard affair, basically all the necessities one needs to get the most use out of the product. A favorite from the bundle among HTPC enthusiasts will be ATI’s Remote Wonder remote controller, the same one bundled with other multimedia products from ATI. I won’t go into the benefits of having a remote control for your HTPC, but needless to say the Remote Wonder is a welcome and very favorable addition to the HDTV Wonder’s bundle.