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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am upgrading from a GeForce2 GTS. I've been eyeing the 8500 for awhile now. Now that I read the gamma is fixed, I may take the costly plunge.


I use PowerStrip to modify the signal to go directly to RGBHV into the back of my Mitsubishi (2nd Gen.) My questions:


1) Will the TV Tuner (and therefore the PVR) capabilities go out the VGA port or do I have to do some (more) rube-goldberg type rigging into alternate inputs?


2) I read something about an integrated Program Guide? My opinion is that these are generally worthless -- what is the source?


3) Much has been made of how the Nvidia line is better than ATI at gaming. The rig will be used for gaming on occasion -- can someone tell me if it will be at least as good as the GeForce2 GTS was? Is there a huge difference between the gaming capabilities of, say, GeForce4?



Thanks in advance for any info.
 

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Scott:


1) The VGA port on my 8500DV is connected directly to the VGA port on my RCA tv, and yes, I have the TV app, tuner, PVR, DVD player, file player, etc. TV picture quality is not particularly good IMO, I generally use the TV's tuner for normal viewing. But it's fine for time shift recording, which is what I use it for, looks at least as good as a VHS tape. DVD playback is excellent quality, although the ATI DVD player sucks. I generally use PowerDVD.


2) Gemstar Guide Plus ... I've heard people gripe about it, but it works fine for me. Requires an internet connection and you have to manually download listings at least once per week. Don't know why you can't set it up to do the download automatically. One tip, took me a bit to figure this out, but once you select the channels you receive, to get it to remember that selection between Gemstar sessions you have to go into File ... properties and find an obscure box to check.


The guide is pretty tightly integrated with MMC ... recording programs, it will automatically name events and resultant files to the program name, from info from the guide for example. And switching channels, it'll tell you what's on each as you switch. It's really a pretty nice feature. The card has a lot of nice features. Has bugs, too, although it's a whole ton better than it was.


3) Can't help you there.
 

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A couple of other points:

1. The TV tuner seems to be quite sensitive, and may get overloaded by a strong signal. Result is a really bad, grainy picture. If this happens to you, get an attenuator. Do a search for attenuator and 8500 for a previous thread.


2. You didn't mention what sound card you have, but if you have or are planning to get an Audiophile 2496 be warned that the ATI MMC software doesn't work properly with this soundcard, at least using WinXP (don't know how the Win9x drivers are like).


3. Just because the Gamma bug is fixed in the upcoming drivers doesn't mean that it will be suitable for HTPC use. I am still using the 6015 drivers because the newer ones are breaking hardware acceleration for PowerDVD, while others supposedly fix this, but then break HW acceleration for TT.


4. The 8500 is comparable to the GF3Ti200 in terms of gaming performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Charles (olyar15),


Thanks. I just picked up an audiophile 2496 and had no idea as to the compatibility issues. The lure of the integrated PVR is still compelling but it looks like I'll have to pass on the 8500 AiW.
 

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Just wondering if you are/were considering the new 8500 All-In-Wonder (with 128 Mb memory and a standard tuner) or the 8500DV (with 64 Mb memory, firwire port and a silicon tuner)? They are different beasts in terms of TV quality - the newer 128 Mb version reputedly has better picture with less sensitivity to over strength signals. This card also performs faster due to its higher memory clock speed. Not sure if it has the sound card compatibility issue referred to by olyar15. ATI's integrated software called Multimedia Centre (currently version 7.6) incorporates a DVD player built right in, so there is no need to use Power DVD or any other extra DVD player software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, Kiwi -- I was hoping for the AiW 8500 128Mb. I own a copy of WinDVD and have heard rumor that the ATI player pretty much stinks.


I am rebuilding my HTPC from scratch and was hoping to add PVR to the mix. Although the 8500 128Mb is pricey, it's not too bad when you compare it to the cost of a video card AND a TV tuner card.


It's still in the running. I could resell the Audiophile card on Ebay for a small loss and pick up a Zoltrix Nightingale, provided there are no conflicts there. It's going into a new P4 WinXP machine.


Any input on this is appreciated. I have an OTA antenna -- what are the chances of PVRing an HD signal with this card?
 

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Scott,


If you want a DVD Player to do every possible feature, the ATI one probably isn't the player of choice. What it does do, it does well though. I have no problems at all with mine now I'm using Windows XP (had some stuttering under Win 2000 with an older version of MMC) and the picture/sound quality is great, I definitely wouldn't say it stinks.


I'm not sure what an OTA Antenna is all about, so cant help there (is it a US specific device?).


The other advantage over having a seperate TV card is that you're less likely to saturate the PCI bus during TV intensive operations. By having the tuner built in, it's all handled on the card so there's just one IRQ, one memory range taken up etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, so I do two replies in a row....


I was hoping someone would jump in and talk about the feasibility of the 8500 128Mb AiW being used as an HDTV PVR...


Does the DV do this? I heard about the 8500 (128, AiW) being "HDTV-ready" but so was my Mits 60905. So what else would I need to pull this off? I'm looking at recording over-the-air initially.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ScottK
OTA means "Over The Air," that's all.


PCI bus? Isn't the AiW an AGP card?
If you mean it's just a conventional antenna (rather than cable or digital/satellite), then TV Cards generally don't offer pictures as clear as ordinary TVs. For peak picture quality, you need the best signal quality. The latest AIW cards are AGP only but the TV Tuner card would be PCI (assuming you're not considering a USB device) - data has to go from one to the other, its easier if they're amalgamated into one because there's less bus traffic.

I have no experience with high definition tv.
 
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