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View Full Version : ATI TV Wonder HD 600 PCI & HD 650 Combo USB


Rob Williams
02-28-2008, 04:09 AM
AMD recently released two new ATI TV Wonder HD tuners, both of which have been in our lab for the past few months. In that time, we've put them through numerous tests to see what each one was made of. While the 600 PCI left a bit to be desired, the 650 Combo USB proves to do a lot of things right.

You can read Nate's full review here (http://techgage.com/article/ati_tv_wonder_hd_600_pci_hd_650_combo_usb/) and discuss it here!

Merlin
03-08-2008, 12:46 AM
I have the older TV Wonder card that will not pick up the HD channels, so This ( 650 ) just might be a good investment.
My only thought is my HD channels come in at 803 to 897 on Comcast.
( And you can get HD from the coaxial input? )

Merlin

NicePants42
03-10-2008, 10:34 AM
Yes, you can most definitely get HD from the coaxial input, although it's only 1080i, as far as I know.

As for getting all of your HD channels to show up in the tuning software, that's been hit or miss with me. ATI's bundled software gets me about 6 HD channels (CBSHD, ABCHD, FOXHD, etc) but nowhere near the range of HD channels that I'm actually subscribing to. Windows Media Center, while the EPG properly detects where the all the HD channels are (702-800), can't display a single one. I'm thinking it may have something to do with the fact that the cards I've used (along with the majority of tuner cards on the market) are only capable of receiving 125 channels.

Needless to say, I'm still less than thrilled with the overall situation, and have been keeping an eye on ATI's cablecard solution.

asdzxc
04-16-2008, 10:27 PM
Someone correct me please:

Comcast cable is analog and will remain so for some time.
So the cable that is attached to the TV is attached to the analog connection. These are channels 1 - 99 (for me) but does not appear to go any higher.

One would connect a digital TV antenna to the digital input.

For me, the only HD will be over-the-air.

No mention if the device can receive FM and HD over-the-air, or there is a rescan or some reboot.


The worry I have is when Comcast dumps analog cable.

ATI does have a product with a CableCard. The drawbacks are huge -- you must use a commercial HTPC that has been approved. Comcast will only insert the cable card in the ATI device if all components meet their specifications.
So no home built HTPCs.

In summary, the superior quality of the analog signal is important for using cable tv analog signal.

I am at a loss why this is so difficult to watch TV in a window on a computer. I assume it is DRM.

Unregistered
06-20-2008, 02:29 PM
"A Note on Windows Media Center:
There was only one problem - the ATI tuners would not tune any HD channels, which, in my case, start at channel 702. I could tune channels 2 through 78 only, none of which were HD."

This statement from the review makes it sound as though HD is not an option, but then there are screen shots of HD pictures. Is HD available on one tuner but not the other?

One other question:
A couple of times the review states that QAM signals are good only with Windows Vista. Is that because Vista contains Media Center (which would seem to say that a Windows Media Center box would work also) or is there something else specific to Vista that makes QAM Vista-specific.

Thanks.

Merlin
06-20-2008, 05:03 PM
"A Note on Windows Media Center:
There was only one problem - the ATI tuners would not tune any HD channels, which, in my case, start at channel 702. I could tune channels 2 through 78 only, none of which were HD."

This statement from the review makes it sound as though HD is not an option, but then there are screen shots of HD pictures. Is HD available on one tuner but not the other?

One other question:
A couple of times the review states that QAM signals are good only with Windows Vista. Is that because Vista contains Media Center (which would seem to say that a Windows Media Center box would work also) or is there something else specific to Vista that makes QAM Vista-specific.

Thanks.
Qam is either 256 or 76 provided by your cable provider.
The chip on the card decodes the encryption.
Only a few cards work with Media Center although they say they will. Look for the SAMSUNG chip ( latest version out this past Feb 2008 )
I use the FussionCool7 (http://www.cyberestore.com/dvico-fusionhdtv7-cool-atscntscqam-tuner-free-shipping-p-772.html) card to get high def channels and even some HBO and Showtime channels
Mainly I use the card for recording security cameras because it has the composite connections

Merlin

Unregistered
01-12-2009, 05:04 PM
has anyone had issues with poor performance as in it saying you have the tv signal but not working unless you unplug and replug the box? Or the analog cable from comcast not having sound when other things in Windows media center work fine?

DSperber
09-23-2009, 09:33 AM
Nate,

I have an ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI card installed. I am also running with Catalyst Media Center, including the CMC_Patch_4310 update which fixes many many problems with the original CD-provided 1.0 of this program. In particular, the patch corrects EPG problems in the US and actually makes it work (with TitanTV for me here in LA, for ATSC digital TV channels).

Your review shows a screenshot of the EPG, in what I describe as the "matrix/cell 2-dimensional presentation" that is most usable, namely channels down the vertical and time-of-day across the horizontal. It is very easy to see what is on right now on any channel, by simply scrolling vertically. Or, you can see what's upcoming on the displayed channels by scrolling horizontally.

Now I have actually stumbled into this particular "matrix/cell" EPG presentation exactly once, and have never been able to get it back. I don't know what combination of keys I pushed to get it to appear, but I'm currently only able to get what I describe as the "linear" EPG, with a list of channels shown. You then have to select a channel in order to see what's on that one channel only, upcoming in time and going forward some number of days. All well and good, except not that friendly if I want to see what's on all of my channels right now.

So... I am stunned to discover your screenshot in your review, which demonstrates that exact "matrix/cell" EPG presentation I am trying to get back, but cannot seem to figure out how it is triggered. The geniuses at ATI support claim this is not part of the program, despite the fact that I was sure I'd seen it once. And now your screenshot of the same presentation confirms that I was not fantasizing... in fact this IS possible.

Can you please tell me how you get this "matrix/cell" EPG to appear? I know that sounds ridiculous, but when I push the EPG button I do not get this presentation. Instead I get the "linear" channel-list, which I then have to drill down into one channel at a time.

Hopefully, if you give me "the secret" I will be able to do the same with my version of CMC.

Many thanks in advance.

Here is that screenshot from your article, of what I call the "matrix/cell" EPG.

http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/8985/cmcmatrixepg.png

DSperber
09-23-2009, 10:10 AM
To demonstrate what I mean by "linear" EPG, here are my own screenshots of what seems to be the only form of EPG I can currently get presented with CMC plus the patch_4310.

I don't want this "linear" EPG. I want your "matrix/cell" EPG, if only I could be told what combination of keys or menu choices I need to select in order to get it..

Anyway, here's what I get.

http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/6536/cmc03tvatscmenu.jpg

http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/107/cmc04tvatscepglinear.jpg

http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/2804/cmc05tvatscepglinearcha.jpg

NicePants42
09-24-2009, 05:54 PM
DSperber,

I'm afraid that the view you're asking for may no longer be available in the current version of the software, and in any case, I wouldn't recall how to access this view even if it were possible.

It's certain that I was using an older version of the software for my original review (20 months ago). I can also say with 99% certainty that while I tried to provide screenshots of all of the software menus available, I did not delve extensively into the minutae of the menus, and would only have posted shots of the menus in their default format.

Therefore, I have to guess that if you are actually spending a lot of time trying to enable a menu format that I would only have found if it were standard, the format is probably not available.

In any case, I haven't used this tuner since the review, and thus have not kept up with the latest drivers/software, so at this point, all I can do is wish you good luck.

Lanza
10-10-2009, 10:35 PM
I am looking for a good but economical tuner and the ati tv wonder hd 650 combo usb sounds great from reviews I've read. I would like to know if the remote control will work with vista media center.
Thanks

Rob Williams
10-13-2009, 08:08 PM
I am looking for a good but economical tuner and the ati tv wonder hd 650 combo usb sounds great from reviews I've read. I would like to know if the remote control will work with vista media center.
Thanks

I don't believe the 650 USB combo includes a remote control, but I could be wrong.

http://www.amd.com/us/products/pctv/tv-wonder-tuners/Pages/tv-wonder-product-matrix.aspx

According to that product matrix, Windows Media Center is indeed supported, and something tells me that the remote control isn't going to care what tuner is being used, so I can't see it being a problem.

NicePants42
11-03-2009, 11:31 AM
I don't believe the 650 USB combo includes a remote control, but I could be wrong.

It does come with a remote, I just didn't post a picture of it. From the review:

"The ATI TV Wonder 650 Combo USB package includes the tuner box, USB cable and power cable, FM antenna cable, and an infrared remote and USB receiver. The infrared remote receiver is identical to the one included with the ATI TV Wonder 600 PCI, but the remote has a slightly different layout."

Also, I agree that using Media Center should not be a problem with the remote.

Rob Williams
11-07-2009, 05:31 PM
Well, those were my pictures, so I'm the moron at fault there ;-)

Good to see you around Nate, hope things are well.