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I noticed HDTVFanAtic posted in another thread his/her recent experience with the new ATI HDTV Wonder card. I haven't investigated this card yet but I'm receiving a myHD MDP-120 tomorrow. I'm wondering if there is now a better choice. Does the ATI card support DVI for HDTV? What are the DVI timing specs? What is the PQ like compared to the myHD? Time to start a search for reviews ...
 

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Unless I am mistaken, I suspect the ATI HDTV Wonder will be much like the Fusion line of cards and will utilize your main video cards output via overlay or VMR.


-pd
 

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I put the original post in another thread as a wake up call to MIT. I for one would rather know the landscape of what's going on instead of sticking my head in the ground....but regardless.


I played with the ATI HDTV Wonder Card for around 30 minutes total today at the NAB in Las Vegas. It is due out within 4-6 weeks with a $110 retail price.


This card only works with a 9500+ Series Radeon (9500, 9600, 9800 etc). They are not supporting other cards at this time - though they may in the future.


So your DVI or composite output is determined by the Radeon 9500+ card.


As this uses the same basic interface updated for HDTV as the AIW, you cannot use a 9800 AIW and this card together at the same time.


I am not sure if that means it will work with a 9800 AIW as the main video card or not - or just the TV features of the AIW. I could see how the hardware might conflict.


Their card of choice for use with the HDTV Wonder is the 9600XT

For the $110 retail price, that does not include the Remote. That is another $50 retail if you get their newest remote. The older series that is included with the AIW will work as well, but it is older.


Clearly, I could not compare it to MyHD Card in Florida. However, the live PBS HD feed in Vegas looked pretty damn good. It was an unfamilar Monitor and Source feed - so impossible to compare it to my MyHD setup.


Unlike the MyHD card, you could basically use all TIVO like effects - you could pause the live PBS-HD feed and pick it up at that point.....go back any amount of time and restart it from that point etc.


The capture software was amazing as it let you capture in about any format you wanted (transport stream, MPEG, MPEG 2, MPEG 4, Windows Media, AVI etc) - or downconvert it to that format for archival on a DVD or CD. At that point it even told you the size of the different formats so you could choose accordingly.


I was able to make the live feed start stuttering by clicking on a link to a network drive that wasn't there. However, this is the beta software, which they are trying to finish up on, and thus the hold up. I can lock up (not just stutter) MyHD much easier than this - so I am not overly concerned that will be fixed.


I was very blunt with them and told them their hardware has normally been really good for a number of years, but their software and drivers typical suck. They felt that they had a really good team and were trying to correct those past perceptions.


The OSD blew away anything from MyHD.


The only thing I liked more on MyHD was the Reservation Page - a single page where you can see everything. ATI is using a wizard. I don't like Wizards. However, as I had my laptop with wireless capabilities, I logged into my VPN at home and brought up my HTPC from the Convention Floor and showed her the Reservation screen from MyHD. She said that in the future they may make a novice/expert screen, but they originally went with a single page setup and their feedback was it was too confusing and John Q. Public liked the wizard better.....oh well.


Also, they originally made their Radeon Drivers with the Professional accepted overscan of 15%. With the latest set of drivers, they have it more defined where you can pretty much bring it in on a 16:9 - and in the future drivers they intend to have it right on the money.


Overall, I was highly impressed. I intend to get a unit upon release and run it beside MyHD card for Quality and make my decision then which to send back or sell on eBay.


We will know by the end of May.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks HDTVFanAtic for the report. I'm more interested in comparing the HW between these two products. I guess I'm already committed to the myHD since I'd probably be outside any return window by the time we know about the relative quality of the ATI HW.


P.S. pdermody ... What is VMR?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by HDTVFanAtic
Also, they originally made their Radeon Drivers with the Professional accepted overscan of 15%. With the latest set of drivers, they have it more defined where you can pretty much bring it in on a 16:9 - and in the future drivers they intend to have it right on the money.

could you elaborate what you mean by this? overscan is a function of the display, not the drivers. are you saying the drivers allow you to output a lesser resolution to compensate for display overscan?
 

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Overall it's neat. The only thing that bugs me is the video card requirements. They're leaving us folks with Radeon 7000s or 8000s behind. And what about people with nvidia cards? And you can't use an AIW at the same time? Bleh.
 

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There were pictures of this card linked in another thread here.. It's very similar to the Fusion cards, it just has the tuner and demodulator components, no hardware encode/decode capabilities. So, it relies on the CPU for most of the work. This means the software will play an even bigger role, especially when doing more complex PVR functions. I hope that it works well. But, given my experience with ATI's video drivers, I won't be buying one of these cards until I hear user reports about the quality.



Also, HDTVFanatic, I'm not sure what kind of issues you are having with MyHD, but I don't think frequent lockups are a common issue with the MyHD card. I've been using it since the MDP-100 first came out, and with early software versions I had stability problems, but now I have no stability problems.
 

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As this uses the same basic interface updated for HDTV as the AIW, you cannot use a 9800 AIW and this card together at the same time.


This can not be! Even ATI isn't that stupid!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RTK
could you elaborate what you mean by this? overscan is a function of the display, not the drivers. are you saying the drivers allow you to output a lesser resolution to compensate for display overscan?

I think they might be saying you won't need Powerstrip--that they will have a pre-defined resolution you can pick that will display on your TV. This card will output through your video card.
 

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Quote:
So, it relies on the CPU for most of the work.

Not necessarily. If they are insisting on a 9500+ as a requirement to pair it with, then they are likely using DxVA with DX9-specific calls and possibly not even offering a software-only decode mode. The 9500 was the first ATI card to support DX9 in hardware.


RG
 

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Rick, Regarding your statement: "... overscan is a function of the display ..." I think this generally true but in the case of the MyHD there is a routine you can execute (provided by MitInc I think) that adjusts overscan-underscan via the registry. If pushed to far, the picture begins to show horizontal banding - but applied lightly - it does work on both the overlay and in HD mode.
 

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I'm curious whether or not they included QAm256 capabilities.
 

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Any idea how sensative a tuner it has? I can pick up all kinda of stations with the MyHD 120 card that I couldn't with many set top STB's.
 

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yah, also here rogers has just a box for tuning for hd, wondering also if I already have rogers hd will I be able to pick it up witht his card since it has QAM
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rick Guynn
Not necessarily. If they are insisting on a 9500+ as a requirement to pair it with, then they are likely using DxVA with DX9-specific calls and possibly not even offering a software-only decode mode. The 9500 was the first ATI card to support DX9 in hardware.

I'm not sure what you mean by DX9 specific calls for DxVA. What was added for MPEG2 processing in DxVA for Dx9?


ATI has had acceleration in their cards for a long time now. But, even with DxVA, that's a much different processing situation than with a full hardware decoder like the MyHD.


DxVA (at least the older DxVA) just addresses parts of the MPEG2 processing, the iDCT (Inverse Discrete Cosine Transform) and motion compensation. There is still a lot of work done by the CPU, and a lot of data going across the PCI and AGP bus.
 

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Does anyone know how/if ATI HDTV Wonder plans to enforce the Broadcast Flag requirement? I understood that these types of products will need to comply starting next summer and that products after that time would not be allowed to transfer unencrypted data on the open PCI bus. Does this mean the product will contain a time bomb which gets activated next year?


DonP
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by HiDefDon
Does anyone know how/if ATI HDTV Wonder plans to enforce the Broadcast Flag requirement? I understood that these types of products will need to comply starting next summer and that products after that time would not be allowed to transfer unencrypted data on the open PCI bus. Does this mean the product will contain a time bomb which gets activated next year?


DonP

That IS the $64k question.
 
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