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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I just bought an ATI AIW8500DV and I'm thinking of brining it back...I'm not impressed with the software that came with it, and, for the second time, my PC has lockde up upon reboot. The first time this happened, I had to boot in safe mode, uninstall the drives and all the software, then reinstall the drivers. I've updated the drivers from the website, but now the box won't boot...it locks on the WinXP screen.

Before it decided to lock on reboot, I was far from impressed with the software's ease of use. I could figure it out and scedule things, but I need this to be wife friendly...we had an UltimateTV setup when we had DirecTV, and that was easy...the wife would just hit the guide, find her shows, then hit record...all was well. Now, she has to launch Guide+, try to read the guide (it's pretty lousy on the TV) go up to record it and hope that she can find the file in the library. Also, if you're watching a show and you go to the library, it get's a little confusing as far as what it's going to do next..she's even had it playing a live signal as well as a recoded show at the same time....not friendly at all!

2 qustions:

1 - Is there better PVR software out there?

2 - Anyone know of anyway to get around this damn lockup problem?


PC - AMD Athlon 700Mhz

384 MB RAM

I'm using an externam USB Netgear adapter.

SBLive! sound card
 

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One thing that is important to do on most systems is to disable the Firewire support on the 8500DV card. This can cause the system to fail to boot. Also, downloading the new drivers is very helpful, if you accidently got older ones on your install CD, they were terrible, the new ones are pretty good.


Be very careful to (1) download all three primary drivers in a local directory (and all optional software on a separate directory to avoid confusion) ,

(2) uninstall the Graphic driver using the hardware manager


The new driver installs in three steps, MAKE SURE YOU DON'T REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER AFTER THE FIRST STEP EVEN THOUGH IT ASKS YOU TO. They warn you about this but it so easy to forget and answer OK, but then you can get really jammed up (I did, ugh!). Also it is good to not have a TV display installed when doing all this, it will detect the TV and default that to your principle adapter (which is very bad if you accidently reboot after the first driver install).


After installing the second driver, you can reboot, and then again after the third. I actually find the Threater Mode Option to be really nice and the integrated TV Guide is nice as well. There are better DVD software players based on feedback from the AVS Forum members. I thought the ATI one was not too bad. I found I needed to separately get a few audio codes to play (hear) all AVI formats.


Also, I found I had to install the DVD option from my installation disk, the download MultiMediaCenter software failed to recognize my disk (and I had uninstalled the DVD player).


Hope that helps. The software has been very stable for me once I got it configured correctly (which is no easy feat).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ghostlobster

Now, she has to launch Guide+, try to read the guide (it's pretty lousy on the TV) go up to record it and hope that she can find the file in the library.
Sorry, I don't have the lockup problem so not sure what to suggest, but as far as recording, there is an easier way then what you describe above. In Guide+, simply right click on any program and select 'Record' to record it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by RichCarling
One thing that is important to do on most systems is to disable the Firewire support on the 8500DV card. This can cause the system to fail to boot. Also, downloading the new drivers is very helpful, if you accidently got older ones on your install CD, they were terrible, the new ones are pretty good.


Be very careful to (1) download all three primary drivers in a local directory (and all optional software on a separate directory to avoid confusion) ,

(2) uninstall the Graphic driver using the hardware manager


The new driver installs in three steps, MAKE SURE YOU DON'T REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER AFTER THE FIRST STEP EVEN THOUGH IT ASKS YOU TO. They warn you about this but it so easy to forget and answer OK, but then you can get really jammed up (I did, ugh!). Also it is good to not have a TV display installed when doing all this, it will detect the TV and default that to your principle adapter (which is very bad if you accidently reboot after the first driver install).


After installing the second driver, you can reboot, and then again after the third. I actually find the Threater Mode Option to be really nice and the integrated TV Guide is nice as well. There are better DVD software players based on feedback from the AVS Forum members. I thought the ATI one was not too bad. I found I needed to separately get a few audio codes to play (hear) all AVI formats.


Also, I found I had to install the DVD option from my installation disk, the download MultiMediaCenter software failed to recognize my disk (and I had uninstalled the DVD player).


Hope that helps. The software has been very stable for me once I got it configured correctly (which is no easy feat).


How do you disable firewire support? Is it a hardware setting on the card?

Thanks!
 

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There is a small DIP switch on the card somwhere or you can just go into the Windows Device Manager, right click on the IEEE 1394 Host Controller and disable it. The second option is easier and leaves it semi-easily accessable if you ever want to use it in the future.
 

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For the 8500DV to work for me, I changed the DIP switch to disable the Firewire support on the card, my motherboard would lock up before getting to the login prompt due to conflicts with PCI interrupt assignments with other cards, so I didn't have the opportunity to disable it from the Device Manager. In the Installation there is a page that explains which DIP switch to change, where it is, etc. On newer motherboards (mine was a older Dell PIII) they probably do a better job of handling this particular problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All,

Pretty strange resolution here.... I rebuilt the box from the ground up, reformatted and everything. Installed XP, and the ATI apps. Went into device manager and disabled the firewire interface. After the reboot, all worked well...then it was time to update the drivers. Got the latest drivers (not the ref drivers, the ATI drivers) from the website, installed the WDM driver first, and then installed the display driver, then rebooted. Upone reboot, it saeemed to be OK. Once doing a shutdown, a complete hard shutdown, when I restarted the box, it locked up completely again with the XP splash screen!

Went into safe mode removed the ATI drivers. Reinstalled the drivers from the CD and did no upgrade of the drivers. From there, I was able to reboot, shutdown, and do whatever I wanted without a lockup! It was either something with the new drivers, or possobly the fact that when I updated the drivers, I did not do an uninstall of the existing drivers first....would that be the problem?

OK...that being said, I'm working through the config of the ATI MMC...getting my GuidePlus+ settings and everything...but running this on a TV only, not a monitor, makes it impossible to read the type in the guide. I bumped the resolution down to 640X480, enabled large fonts in windows, but still, it's really tough to read. All the Windows icons are legible, but within the apps, it's not really friendly. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this more friendly for viewing on a TV? Thanks again!
 

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A couple of ideas, don't know if they will help much though, the way your system locked up at the splash screen is similar to the problems I had, that is when you want to set the dip switch on the 8500DV to turn off the firewire port right on the card. But you could have a mixed driver issue, installing new ATI drivers over old ones is not always easy.


From a separate forum post on AVSForum, I learned to do the following:


Besides disabling the drivers from the device manager, I would also go into the registry using regCleaner available here to delete the old drivers from the registry after disabling them via the Device Manager. Then to absolutely make sure that there was no reference to the old drivers, I would also delete everything on the C: drive that matched ati*.*, this would make sure Windows did not undermine me and find and load older drivers (ATI driver installs usually leave a directory on your C drive where they unpack everything and store it for recovery). I then reboot at that point, cancel out of windows trying to find new graphics drivers (this way I know it did not pick up the old ones) and then run the new ATI installation 1 and 2 for the drivers. I would hope that is not always necessary, but if you still have problems, you might give that a try.


In your case, this might be more difficult if you are only driving a TV via the breakout box of the 8500DV (so... maybe just changing the DIP switch to shut down the firewire port would solve the lockup, maybe the new drivers handle it differently???).


If you are only using a standard TV (not a HDTV via component in), I hope you are at least running it via the S-Video, otherwise the resolution is probably not going to be good enough to vie the Gemstar Guide. I run a separate LCD monitor at my computer, drive the TV via the Clone Mode and Theater Mode settings found in the advanced settings of Desktop Windows properties dialog.


I just don't know how practical it is to (try to) view the Gemstar Guide at standard television resolution.


If you really have the time to reload windows XP, I would put the drivers on an extra CD (if you have another computer available or can use the CD burner on this one) and install to the new device drivers directly, without every loading your original ones.


Messing around with the ATI drivers are not on my list of fun things to do.
 

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I am not a big fan of Guideplus as well. What you may want to consider is myHTPC, http://www.myhtpc.net. It is still being developed but has a built in TV Player/scheduler, takes some work with ATI but the end result is great and viewable with TV. Also has Media modules for music and video playback as well as a slide show. There is a forum topic at the site for ATI tweaks.
 
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