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Television Media Hardware

HDTV On Your PC - ATi's HDTV Wonder 187

Spinnerbait writes "ATi is getting their new High Def capable HDTV Wonder ready for release soon and there is a preview of the card over at HotHardware. It will be an add-in PCI card that will be bundled with their All In Wonder cards initially and eventually be sold as a stand alone product. High Def on a nice 23" Flat Panel... time to drool."
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HDTV On Your PC - ATi's HDTV Wonder

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  • Pixel for Pixel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrHatken ( 213187 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:10AM (#8421922)

    Will you be able to see pixel for pixel high res?
    • Re:Pixel for Pixel (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:29AM (#8422099) Homepage Journal
      If I'm not mistaken, TV broadcases are not in the typical monitor proportions. That means no. But perhaps ATi understands this and has a nice interpolator on board.

      In any event, contraty to the OPs position, I do not drool over 23" of TV viewing pleasure...
      • I prefer my 56" of DLP viewing pleasure. :)

        Anyhow, if you're in 1600x1200, you CAN see a 1080i broadcast pixel-for-pixel on your monitor.

        Some regular monitors will do native HDTV resolutions too, so that would work.
    • Late To Market (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @01:09PM (#8423396)
      ATI is by no means the first to produce a card like this. There has been a PCI HDTV card on
      the market for over a year, produced by DVICO. Unlike most cards on the market, that keep the
      HDTV stream off the bus, and overlay the video directly onto the vga signal and you don't get to
      capture it at all, This card dumps the raw mpeg2 out to you. It will tune over the air HDTV as well
      as the HDTV you will get on cable.

      The Fusion III just came out last week, I think. It has the hardware capabilities of tuning that holy
      grail cable QAM 256, as well as over the air. And you get to play with the raw hdtv data,
      and process it however. [] - manufacturer [] - retailer
      • I wish you hadn't posted this as AC so I could ask you mroe questions if you've got that card. I myself went and spent twice as much for a Hauppauge HDTV tuner card that I ended up returning (horrid technical support, buggy software, and it didn't tune my digital cable). So, can you CONFIRM that this will tune digital cable?
  • It seems to me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SisyphusShrugged ( 728028 ) <me@igerar d . c om> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:15AM (#8421931) Homepage
    It seems to me that this shouldnt be to difficult, technically speaking, considering the 1080 pixel resolution is well within that normally supported on a PC monitor.

    I cant wait to get Hi-Def on my TV, have seen it before and it is the ultimate in geek-drool fest! ....mmmmm...Hi-Def TV....yummy!
    • Misconception? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fnj ( 64210 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:33AM (#8421969)
      It sounds like you likely have a misconception as to what 1080i is exactly.

      1080i is 1920x1080, 30 frames/sec, 60 fields/sec interlaced.

      Methinks this is still quite high for a PC monitor. Not to feel bad, though, because very few HDTVs can resolve every pixel of 1080i either.

      720p (1280x720, 60 fps non-interlaced) is a better match for 95+% of PC monitors, and is still very pleasing.
      • Re:Misconception? (Score:5, Informative)

        by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:51AM (#8422012) Journal
        My monitor (a Sony 21" GDM-F520) can do 2048x1536 @ 85Hz, and has a .22mm aperture grill no less.

        If anything, it's the graphics card that are holding things up. My GeForce 4 Ti4800SE can only do 2048x1536 @ 60Hz in 8-bit mode.

        It can however handle 1920x1080 @ 85Hz in 32-bit mode, so for 1080i viewing I should be OK.
        • specs vs reality (Score:4, Interesting)

          by h2odragon ( 6908 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:25AM (#8422085) Homepage
          have you tried pushing your monitor that hard? Best i can make an (admitedly slightly older) G500 21" do is 2000x1500 @ 77Hz; any higher and the pixels distort. What your graphics card can drive it at, without strange effects, is a different question as well: with a matrox g400 i use 10px fonts and stare at this screen all day long; with a nvidia card 12px fonts and 1600x1200 made my eyes melt.

        • Re:Misconception? (Score:3, Informative)

          by mmortal03 ( 607958 )
          Whether or not your monitor supports the resolution or not, this still does not mean that it can fully support 720p. It has to do with the length of the electron guns in your display. I cannot find the best source for this information anymore, but there used to be a page that explained the issue. Basically very few HDTV displays currently can display 720p correctly. 720p is MORE DIFFICULT to display fully than 1080i. This is the best I could do here:

          "And if I can go completely geek on you for a second
          • Re:Misconception? (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            The 7" vs. 9" refers to the diagonal measure of the CRTs used in projectors (rear or front), not to the "length of the electron guns".
            Every CRT has a "sweet spot", where the size of the spot drawn by the beam is very close to the size of the desired pixels. At the sweet spot there are no gaps between pixels, nor do the pixels overlap.
            For 7" CRTs the size of the sweet spot is large enough (compared to the overall size of the CRT) that when you try to display 1920 pixels across the screen they overlap, effec
      • Re:Misconception? (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        1080i may not be within the capabilities of most monitors, but it certainly is no big deal for most graphics cards. I can decode and output 1080i via an ATI Radeon 9000, which is so low end that you can't even buy one anymore. My 21" monitor displays this resolution quite nicely, btw. I think HDTV is mostly a marketing ploy now, especially when it comes from ATI, because ATI's whole Radeon family was/is famous for having iDCT support way before it became "HDTV support". Don't throw out your working graphics
      • I can get my 15" no-name monitor to do 1920x1080x60 interlaced very readily. XFree86 users can use this modeline to get it:

        Modeline "1080i" 74.250 1920 2008 2048 2200 1080 1084 1094 1125 interlace +hsync +vsync


        Note that the dot clock is only 74.25 MHz, the hsync is only 33.75kHz and the vrefresh is 60Hz. That is easily within reach of most monitors these days.

        On the other hand, you should keep in mind that this is an interlaced mode, and, as such, is as good at renderi

  • Component inputs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhotoBoy ( 684898 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:15AM (#8421932)
    From this article it looks like the HDTV All-In-Wonder card won't have any useful video input sockets on the card and there's no mention of any external connector box.

    I really want a decent means for connecting things like games consoles to my PC monitor. All the VGA boxes out there just give horrid blurry pictures because they double the scanlines of the picture. I wish someone would do a card with component or SCART inputs. :(
    • by SendBot ( 29932 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:37AM (#8421976) Homepage Journal
      I really want a decent means for connecting things like games consoles to my PC monitor. All the VGA boxes out there just give horrid blurry pictures because they double the scanlines of the picture.

      With an inexpensive BT8xxx card and a decent linux box, you can use tvtime [] to watch beautifully scaled and deinterlaced video in realtime. I use it with my gamecube and it's absolutely fantastic!
    • Re:Component inputs? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Albanach ( 527650 )
      You really don't want to try and run a PS2 or similar through a PC TV Card. There's a nasty lag in getting the signal processed and on to your computer screen. It doesn't matter if TV is running half a second behind the broadcast, but if you use your controller and you don't see your character move for half a second.

      You need a monitor with a scart input or a games console with a monitor output. Don't try putting a PC in the middle.

      • Lag? What lag? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ClassicG ( 138845 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:01AM (#8422034) Homepage
        I've been hooking up my game consoles to my monitor through my PC for years, and I've NEVER seen any kind of lag like you're describing. I'm not using anything fancy either - just an old PCI WinTV card and xawtv and now the awesome tvtime [].
      • Re:Component inputs? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dirty ( 13560 )
        No there isn't. There might be some delay that can be measured in milliseconds, but it's nothing a human can detect. I've been doing this for years. Up until about 6 months ago I didn't own a TV and used my computer for TV and my PS2.
      • Re:Component inputs? (Score:5, Informative)

        by AIX-Hood ( 682681 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:15AM (#8422061)
        This user is unfortunately thinking of using an mpeg-2 encoding board like a Hauppauge PVR-250 where there is indeed a lag. Boards like the ATI HDTV however just have direct analog and digital stream recording without any realtime encoding, so there's no lag here.
    • Yeah, there's very little info. For instance, I want to be able to pick up HDTV over satellite (either DirecTV or DishNetwork) and watch it on my PC. Will this card let me do that? It doesn't say.

      If it does--and if I can get it to work with my nVidia GPU--then I buy both the card and a satellite subscription right away.

      If not, I stick with Netflix.
    • I suspect that if you require ATI to do the deinterlacing, you'll be disappointed, because it will probably look the same way.

      Graphics chips are still horrible at deinterlacing, just the same way that DVD player software is horrible at deinterlacing.

      Even if you wanted HD component inputs, that is so close to the PCI's bandwidth (the 33 MHz / 32bits that few care to exceed) that it isn't practical for many systems.

      There are standard definition component input boards, but one I've seen (but can't find the
    • Is it possible that you are actually seeing the image clearly on the PC monitor, but it actually just looks "better" on the lower image quality TV screen?

      A lot of console game developers displays/gui's/textures are made to be optimally viewed on a TV (i.e. taking into account the interlacing in fact taking advantage of the blurring)


  • HOWTO? (Score:5, Informative)

    by anish1411 ( 671295 ) <> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:21AM (#8421942)

    With all these stories about HDTV and big screens and wotnot, I felt inspired to hook up my TV to my computer. I have a 50-inch plasma tv, and surround sound with a hefty woofer, and - apart from the movie experience - how cool would UT2004 be on that!

    Well anyway This site [] [] has some useful information about wot the holes at the back of ure TV do, and various other stuff.

    • Re:HOWTO? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <john.jmaug@com> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:14AM (#8422058)
      how cool would UT2004 be on that!

      Speaking from experience, very cool.

      Except for the fact that it's VERY hard to find a comfortable gaming position in this type of setup (unless you move your desk and stuff.) I had my PC hooked up to my 56" HDTV, and my Live drive's optical output hooked up to my surround sound system, it was very very sweet. The only issue I had was trying to sit on the couch and play. No place for a wrist rest, no place for my keyboard (except my lap) it became really annoying. I eventually used my coffee table as a desk and built a chair with seat cushions, it was decent but not as nice as a chair/desk setup. It would have been much nicer if I setup the TV for a good viewing position too, it's nice sitting in front of a 21" computer monitor cause you can see everything easily. But when you sit right in front of a 56" HDTV things become very hard to see. If you're too close a lot of stuff is out of sight since it's such a huge viewing area and if you're too far you can't see things like that sniper off in the distance.
      • Re:HOWTO? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @09:14AM (#8422230) Homepage
        I did something similar (xbox through a projector) and on any game that was reasonable fast moving, I would get dizzy.

        If the image fills most of your field of vision, the movement on screen will trick your brain into thinking it is actually happening. Without the corresponding movement in your body, things can get very weird.

        I ended up having to shrink the image, and moving back. The cinematic Halo experience was not for me.

        It ended up being a lot like seeing the 'rollercoaster' IMAX. That made me sick too...
        • Re:HOWTO? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Ah, a fellow "simulator sickness" sufferer. At least you don't get nauseous from FPS games like CounterStrike, like I do.

          If the image fills most of your field of vision, the movement on screen will trick your brain into thinking it is actually happening. Without the corresponding movement in your body, things can get very weird.

          This could be why the more expensive simulators, like flight training simulators or entertainment simulators like "Star Tours" are equipped with all those hydraulics to make the

    • Just be really, really careful about burn-in. i'm sure you know it exists on plasma TVs, just make sure you don't leave anything on your plasma for more than a few hours at a time like the Max Payne health bar.
  • by mocm ( 141920 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:34AM (#8421971)
    Unfortunately there is not much information of what the card can do.
    Does it have an MPEG hardware decoder for HDTV, or is it only a tuner and demodulator?
    Does it have TV out or can it only display on the monitor?
    If the card is only a tuner and demodulator with PCI bridge then it's no big deal. The CPU will have to do all the decoding, maybe with a little help from the graphics card. You can do that with a lot of DVB-S,C,T cards already. With a 60Euro card you could already watch the Superbowl in HDTV, of course you needed a fast CPU.
    • by hazman ( 642790 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:52AM (#8422014)
      Does it have an MPEG hardware decoder for HDTV, or is it only a tuner and demodulator?

      It appears that this card is a ATSC tuner/demod (U.S. HDTV transmission standard). It likely passes the digital stream over the PCI bus to the video card (minimum 9600) for decoding and displaying.

      Does it have TV out or can it only display on the monitor?

      It likely does not have TV out of the card itself but you can probably use an ATI video card that has composite/svid out to display on a SDTV. The quality of the scaling is yet to be seen. Likewise, SDTV streams (tt has a standard NTSC tuner also) will likely be scaled to HDTV resolutions. Again, quality of the scaling is yet to be seen.

      The real question is how good is the ATSC tuner/demod. This has been the biggest stumbling block to comprehensive and consistent reception. The digital cliff can be very steep.

      • The older AiW cards 8500 and up, have a very good deinterlacer and scaler built in to them already. The card will definately be able to scale to HDTV resolution, as any bt8x8 tv capture card can do that with any video card made in the last 10 years.

        Just a guess, but this will look absolutely great, especially if you have a monitor which can display 1920x1080.
    • I answered all of these questions (except the first) when I submitted an article on this the day the press release came out:

      2004-02-17 19:04:50 ATI to Ship HDTV Tuner Card (articles,tv) (rejected)
      (Not that I'm bitter or anything.)

      No, it doesn't have an MPEG-2 decoder. Who needs one nowdays when software decoding is so easy?
      No, it doesn't have TV-out. It's meant to be a card used side-by-side with an All-in-Wonder which has the TV-out components.
      The big deal is that it's cheap and handles American OTA st
  • by tronicum ( 617382 ) * on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:35AM (#8421972)
    As long as there is not enough input (broadcasters) that provide HDTV stuff and suitable devices (HDTV TVs or video projectors) I would not invest a dime in HDTV.

    As with DVD they will probably change the standard or remove and add some crappy copy protection. So if you buy stuff now you will regret within a short while...

    • In my area (Lawrence, KS), CBS, NBC, and PBS all broadcast (over-the-air) HDTV programming. PBS (and perhaps the others) have more than one HDTV channel running simultaneously - in other words, they can broadcast more than one program in HDTV at the same time. In addition, the HDTV tier of my cable provider offers HDTV flavours of ABC, CBS, Discovery, ESPN, HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. Also included are a generic HDTV programming channel and HDTV movie channel. At least in this huge metropolis of 90,000,
    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:55AM (#8422168)
      You are living a couple of years in the past. There are satellite TV services ( that broadcast 30+ HDTV channels, and HDTVs aplenty in the stores. Copy protection has also been standardized.

      About the only reason to delay purchasing now is that prices are dropping fairly rapidly. Intel has entered the HDTV silicon market and is expected to drive costs of LCOS sets down by $1000 over the next year.

    • You are wrong in multiple dimensions. First there is a huge selection of HD content on the major networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and additional HD content on WBand UPN. Starting in the fall FOX will be upgrading from 480p widescreen to true HD. These HD programs are not available in every single market but they are no longer rare.

      On the issue of copy protection the FCC has decreed support for the Broadcast Flag but no encryption of over the air (OTA) signals. Part of the directive demands backward compatibili
  • How is this news? (Score:2, Informative)

    by eggsome ( 660932 )
    Both of my flatmates allready have HDTV cards for watching TV. One of them is even running it with Linux (Nebula Digi-TV).

  • What about Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fldvm ( 466714 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:38AM (#8421983) Homepage
    High Def on a nice 23" Flat Panel...

    Sure if you want to run windows...

    I want My HD MythTV...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:47AM (#8422004)
    If it doesn't work with linux, then I don't give a shit one way or the other.

    And like most of the All-in-Wonder cards, I doubt half the features will work correctly if at all.

    Otherwise I would give up my ancient geforce2 card in a second, but for right now I have no reason to. My 19 inch monitor with my ATI wonder VE tv capture card works great for me right now.

    Oh, BTW I use the Nintendo Game cube via the composite input on my ATI card. If you want to play games and get a useable picture get a decent program, like TVTIME. Most tv capture programs for windows that I've seen in stores looks like crap on a monitor, get something that does anti-aliasing properly. Thank god for Free software.
  • What we really need (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nonmaskable ( 452595 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:48AM (#8422006)
    isn't's a hdtv input card that can take component inputs.

    Most HDTV uptake will come from HDTV over cable, with the decoding/descrambling done by the cable company box, which produces component outputs.

    Then our MythTV boxes will be able to record HDTV!
    • by AGTiny ( 104967 )
      You already can... [] it's called the Linux pcHDTV card. And no one will ever be able to make a card or other recording device with component inputs due to the copyright issues.
      • Oh, I guess this [] doesn't exist then. :)

        I have one and it records a pretty decent picture from the component inputs. The included software doesn't work like a PVR, it looks to the system like a DV video camera. But any open PVR software could probably be adapted to take DV input if they don't already.
    • by dirty ( 13560 ) <dirtymatt AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:28AM (#8422093)
      No they won't. No consumer pc on the market can handle recording an HDTV stream. Assuming a 4:2:2 image (12 bits per pixel) you're looking at almost 90MB/s of data. No hard drive can handle a datarate of anything near that. And the only hardware MPEG2 encoders that can handle HDTV are still way above what any consumer can afford. Honestly, I doubt you could even send that stream to your video card over the PCI bus. I think you'd either need the inputs to be right on the video card, or use a special, dedicated high bandwith bus from the capture card to your video card. And even then you would have no chance to process the signal at all, so all of your deinterlacing would have to be done on the video card.

      I'm sure someday we'll be able to, but just look how long it took before we could digitally record SDTV. We need a lot more than a capture hard with HDTV capable component inputs.
      • by dirty ( 13560 )
        Sorry about that 4:2:2 is 16 bits per pixel I believe, not 12, 4:2:0 (IIRC) is 12. So my earlier figure of just under 120MB/s would be right.
      • My understanding is that TiVO has been showing a HDTV version of the TiVo around. I'm not into the scene enough to know what compromises went into it, but...

        In addition, I think there are some folks who have the other OTA HDTV card working under Myth.
        • by LazyBoy ( 128384 )
          There is a HD DirectTivo -- it works with an already-mpeg-compressed stream. There is a "standalone" HD Tivo that has been shown, but I don't think is planned for sale. It can handle OTA ATSC (also an already-mpeg-compressed stream).

          There is no "standalone" HD Tivo with component inputs for the technical reasons described in the grandparent post.

          Yes, OTA HDTV cards work under Myth. Again the key is working with the compressed data.

          • From what I've read, the HD DirecTiVo has two tuners for DirecTV and two tuners for terrestrial HD signals. It is able to record broadcast HD digitally from the air.

            But true, it has no raw HD input ports.
      • by JKR ( 198165 )
        A studio quality uncompressed HDTV stream (at least as per BBC R&D Kingswood Warren 10 years ago) was about 1.2 Gbit/s (I believe that's 1250 line 50 Hz interlaced). We used to fit two of them into an STM-16 over fibre for the studio optical routing project I was fortunate enough to work on, back in 1993. MPEG-2 was still being worked on back then, but wouldn't have been used for studio quality signalling anyway.

        So, probably more like 150 MB/s (less for the US / Japan since they use 1080 lines). Now, M
      • by Chris Pimlott ( 16212 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @01:34PM (#8423522)
        Erm, that's assuming no compression. HDTV is broadcast using MPEG-2 compression (specifically designed with broadcast media in mind), and the US ATSC standard specifies two data rates of 19.4 for broadcast and 38.8 for cable applications. The more often used broadcast rate is well within the capability of modern hard drives and the higher cable rate should be doable by high end drives as well.
      • Maybe this [], from the Register article "Maxtor champions 6 stream DVRs", will give you the data rate we need. It's designed to do so.


        Dramatic crush
        Existing TV formats require a stream of about 270 megabits per second or 34 megabytes per second, in raw video. MPEG or other compression crushes this down dramatically to around 675 kilobits per second or even less with the new H.264 codecs. Six such streams would require a disk-reading speed of only 4 megabits per second.

        But if we consider HDTV, then
    • As others have noted it's too much data for a PC & consumer affordable, real-time, HD-resolution MPEG encoding is a long way off.

      What you need is a souce with firewire output. Firewire output has been "mandated" for cable boxes soon. The firewire stream is already mpeg compressed.

    • No, that still isn't the best thing to do.

      If you could get an HDTV card with a QAM tuner, you can view HDTV broadcasts over cable. ATSC is used for over-the-air, QAM is the cable standard.

      Most cable operators here in the US (including Comcast and TimeWarner) have promised NOT to re-encode the HD locals, so if you have a QAM tuner you can pull them right off your coax.

      THEN you can just record the actual QAM stream! Basically do exactly what a DirecTiVo does. That wuold be the most efficient way to do i
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @07:49AM (#8422007)
    The messages are pouring out of web forums, broadcasters have discovered the "copyright" tag they can send out with their programs when they're delivered... and ATi very happily kow-tows to the signal and says "sorry, this program is copyrighted and cannot be recorded" (witness last week's Enterprise).

    Pretty soon all this hardware will be worthless, since nothing will be recordable except your home movies.

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:03AM (#8422040) Journal
    There's little-to-no HDTV over here. The only place I've seen it in fact is in post-production studios, where they'll use it as a master-format.... Pity :-(

    • No kidding. Even now most channels still don't broadcast in 16:9. I can't imagine HDTV starting here for maybe two or three more years. And that's being optimistic.

      Besides, would you really want higher-definition reality TV? *shudder*
    • by D. Book ( 534411 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @10:55AM (#8422655)
      You don't need the ATI card anyway. There's a UK-based outfit called Nebula Electronics who've been making HD-capable digital TV cards since late 2002, so you're all set for when HDTV broadcasts finally begin. The software is of reasonable quality and the support miles ahead of ATI. Here in Australia, where there's at least some HDTV broadcasts, we've been reaping the benefits of these (and competing DVB cards) for for quite some time now.

      The ATI card wouldn't even work in the UK anyway, since it's based on the American ATSC standard. I'm not actually sure what all the hubbub over this card is about--Hauppauge already beat them to it. I guess ATI's size means they get the publicity by default.

      In the UK you use the DVB standard, which is what much of the rest of the world has also settled on. This is the standard on which the Nebula and other cards are based.
  • by psoriac ( 81188 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:03AM (#8422041)
    Notice that there is no slot for inserting a flash card; unless it supports an external flash drive connected to the PC via USB or similar (doubtful) this means you will not be able to watch the majority of cable hdtv channels, since they are usually scrambled and require a flash card with the decryption information in the cable box.

  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AGTiny ( 104967 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:16AM (#8422067)
    There have been PCI HDTV cards for years that receive OTA HD. Even a cheap one [] that only works in Linux!
  • What makes me think that various recording associations might have a little conern with ati releasing this "moins" any form of DRM....
  • Subject? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    On a 23" panel? Pfbt.

    I prefer to watch the 13 HD channels I get via Time Warner on a 64" Pioneer Elite.

    And UT2k4 is pretty awesome on it too!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:35AM (#8422109)
    Why is this card better than something like Hauppauge's WinTV-HD []? At least the Hauppauge has component outputs standard. I'm guessing it's the price as the Hauppauge isn't cheap. BTW, there's a few more HDTV cards available at places like The Digital Connection [].
    • I bought the MIT MyHD MDP-100 form them. It rocks! Since then, the MDP-120 has come out. I doubt that ATI would be able to top it, but they may be able to make enough of them that Best Buy and CompUSA will have them in stock. That would be a good thing.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The HDTV Wonder is the first computer PVR device that can tune/record Digital Cable (QAM 64 & 256). Even supports the interactive menu stuff..
  • by mmmbeer ( 9963 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @09:14AM (#8422231) Homepage
    There are already a number of cards available which can receive ATSC HDTV broadcasts (which require an additional antenna) in addition to analog cable and broadcast. The nice step up here is the use of their own NXT2004 chip, which provides a QAM demodulator.

    I've been looking for years now for a tuner card which will allow me to watch Time Warner's Digital Cable here in Tampa. Step one is getting a demodulator which can sync to the QAM-256 signal. Tne next big hurdle is determining if my cable provider uses a proprietary mechanism on top of that to encapsulate their streams. There are no standards here as far as I can find, just commonly used implementations.

    A cable comes into my apartment with 50+ digital channels, including the networks in HDTV. I've got a cable box that decodes it without having to put up an aerial... why can't I have a card in my computer that does the same thing? This card could end up being just another useless ATSC tuner card.
  • by sam_handelman ( 519767 ) * <> on Sunday February 29, 2004 @09:25AM (#8422253) Homepage Journal
    I have one of ATI's older graphics cards (the first or second generation of their "All in Wonder" line) - but the latest version of their software.

    And it is buggy, still. Their drivers are much better now, but in the begining they were dreadful.

    I'm still quite pleased with my setup - in a one room apartment the TV/computer combination saves a lot of space, and I can surf the net during commercials. In spite of the problems, I recommend buying one to anyone who asks. However, every three days or so ATIMMC (the process that actually plays the TV) forces me to do a hard reset.

    A lot of the problem is with win32, of course, which enters a non-responsive state when I try to kill the ATIMMC process (I don't do any actual work in a windows environment so my technical knowledge is somewhat limited - but if it walks like a kernel panic, and if it quacks like a kernel panic...). If I were still running win16 I would hardly notice something that took three whole days to crash my computer.

    Also - the early versions of their product hardly ever worked in beige boxen. It was wildly incomptabible with a large spectrum of commodity hardware (I've been told their newer cards have this problem to a lesser extent.) I mention this because I went through a lot of grief over it - but now adays building your own machine isn't worth the $50 you save anyway.

    So - while I'm really pleased with their product in spite of the flaws - I wouldn't recommend being a beta tester for the HDTV card, especially given the slow rollout of HDTV. Give ATI a year or two to iron out the flaws, and let HDTV acquire a little penetration, before bothering to buy. That's what I plan to do.
    • The PVR software is buggy and limited like a true hardware PVR. For example, how come I can't schedule TV-On-Demand shows? I want to be able to watch, pause, rewind, etc. on scheduled recordings. Using non-default recording presets crashes MMC.exe!

      The best PVR software so far is Snapstream []'s SeeBeyond, but it still has limited features for my needs. For example, no captioning like ATI's VCR format since I am partially deaf.
    • What? You have a Windows system and you only need to reboot every three days? Duuuude, count your LUCKY!!! I reboot at LEAST three times a DAY!
  • I recognize that the entertainment industry is standing in the way of a component HD input card (and the cable/satellite companies are standing in the way of a direct-digital in, even if you put in an encryption smartcard handler), but that still doesn't mean that I care about getting HD over the air...

    (Frankly, why else get HD except for sports which I don't watch, bowdlerized upconverted movies and Discovery HD which isn't OTA?)

    Wake me when I can get HD digital satellite on a PCI capture card in Linux,
    • I recognize that the entertainment industry is standing in the way of a component HD input card...

      Take off the tinfoil hat. A component input card would cost $1000 in volume. Are you willing to pay that? Didn't think so. (And if you really want it, just buy a component->HD-SDI converter and an HD-SDI card.)
  • pchdtv card (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sdibb ( 630075 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @10:37AM (#8422549)
    Nobody's probably going to see this since I posted it so late, but this was brought up at our last LUG meeting -- it's a PCI HD TV card made especially for Linux. All the drivers are open-source, etc, etc. Check it out: []
  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @10:38AM (#8422555) Journal
    Although I was psyched about the pending release of High Definition TiVo [], I must say that at a kilo-buck, it's a bit too expensive to be able to record the (limited) HD content that's out there. I already have a standard DirecTV/TiVo system along with a separate High Definition DirecTV/terresterial receiver.

    I'm thinking the best solution for my "need to record HD" dilema might be to just get a HD capable PC. I know there are solutions out there now, but the ATI board might be a cost effective way to go. I realize that the only way I'm going to record DirecTV HD content is with the HD-TiVo, but to be honest the best content (save for Sunday Night Football) comes in over the air.

    Plus, I like the idea of having a PC in my living room entertainment center. If I want to use the computer out there now, I have to drag out my laptop. The Gateway media center PC line [] has me interested. Not so much because of the media center aspect of it, but because they've designed it to look like the other components in a home theater rack. I've gone the DIY route before and the a) the thing still looked like a PC and b) the video recording technology wasn't quite there yet, and c) it was getting exceedingly expensive to make it quiet enough for the living room. A media center PC married up with an HD receiver card might get me where I want to go...

    Though chances are I'll just cave and buy the HD-TiVo...


  • by treat ( 84622 )
    It is fraudulent to advertise this thing as an HDTV card without a huge warning that it is only an HDTV tuner and requires a huge external antenna, and does not accept component or DVI inputs.

    Only a small portion of people live in an area where HDTV signals can be received with an antenna. Even fewer people already have the antenna.

    Why don't they just give us component inputs?
    • Re:fraud (Score:2, Informative)

      by Krojack ( 575051 )
      Maybe I'm reading this wrong.. But the website says:

      Complete Multifunction Tuning:

      * HDTV WONDER will function as both a HDTV tuner and an analog tuner
    • Re:fraud (Score:4, Informative)

      by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @01:45PM (#8423573) Journal
      Not exactly...

      In most areas, the digital TV stations are on the less used UHF band of the spectrum. UHF antennas are relatively small.

      One of the most popular HDTV antennas is the tiny Silver Sensor []. It's resold by Zenith and Terk at Sears, Best Buy, etc.

      The last estimate I saw for HD availability was that around 95% of US citizens were able to receive HDTV. I receive no less than 20 digital tv broadcasts where I live. Even my parents, out in the middle of nowhere, receive 6 - including all the majors.
    • You talk about DVI input and then call someone else fraudulent? Please line up and buy a clue. Almost the entire point of DVI is to prevent people from reading the digital signal. The only components with DVI in are monitors. They are adding HDCP in order to make it even more certain that only monitors ever see a signal from DVI.

      On the issue of HDTV signals from an antenna you seem equally unacquainted with the facts. Around 99 % of the US population has the ability to receive digital TV signals with an a
  • So it can receive HD over firewire.

    No mention of copy protection on the recorded content...
  • Digital TV in Europe (Score:2, Informative)

    by CMBologna ( 155447 )
    What is the situation in Europe about digital TV transmission? I've heard in Italy there is a thing called 'digitale terrestre', is this card capable of receving such a signal?
    • by jjj ( 91351 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @01:48PM (#8423589)
      In Europe, mostly the DVB-Standard is used to transmit digital TV.

      DVB-S over Satellite,
      DVB-C over Cable,
      DVB-T for terrestrial reception.

      All three variations of the DVB-Standard can also transmit High Definition video, e.g. there is an HD channel broadcasting via the Astra satellite system on 19.2East called Euro1080 [].

      Some cable networks use proprietary encryption, but the basic transmission usually occurs via DVB in MPEG.

      In Australia, HDTV is available over DVB-T terrestrially.

      I don't know about the exact situation in Italy, but DVB-T has been rolled out extensively in the UK and I heard also in Scandinavia. Rollout has started in Germany with Berlin, some trials exist in Austria.

      Regarding this card:
      No, it will not be able to receive European digital broadcasts, as it uses the American ATSC Standard that uses other modulation, even though also MPEG2 is broadcast.

      But there are DVB-T PCI cards available, they cost just a bit more than the cheap DVB-S cards (starting at EUR 60) - around EUR 90, but they also do not have a hardware MPEG decoder chip on board but offload that to the CPU or graphics card like the card mentioned here.

      Digital-TV in Europe is mostly driven by the Pay-TV companies in each country with the UK and France having the most successful adoption rate - no wonder as old analog terrestrial TV offered only 4-5 channels of stuff people did not want to see (not implying that the now 500 channels piping out lots of crap are better qualitywise ;-)

      Best regards
  • by Yo Grark ( 465041 ) on Sunday February 29, 2004 @08:49PM (#8425803)
    And before you go about telling me about myHTPC there is one serious thing lacking


    Why can't I find a decent PVR software that lets me use my All in Wonder, and has a season pass feature?


    Oh and if anyone has suggestions, PLEASE let me know what else is out there, SageTV, MyHTPC, TVHolic all have been tested and were not ready for prime time.

    Please help!

    Yo Grark
  • It's great a big manufacturer seems to be getting serious about Digital TV.

    In this case, as previous posts have stated, there is little "new" here that other smaller vendors haven't offered for years. In fact, the "core" Nxt2004 chipset is over 2 years old.

    ATI has serious credibility problems with end-users, and while the Catalyst guys have made huge improvement, and the hardware is usually good, the Multimedia side is hampered with poor user support, leadership problems and serious internal dissent con

The computer is to the information industry roughly what the central power station is to the electrical industry. -- Peter Drucker