ATI Theater 650 Pro & Catalyst Media Center Preview
ATI has had a fair amount of success with its Theater 550 Pro processor, which is integrated into set-top components as well as PC based TV-Tuner solutions. With the Theater 650 Pro, ATI continues to build on a good thing, adding several key features. For a summary, we've compiled a comparison grid based on information provide by ATI, with the key changes highlighted in RED.
|Feature||Theater 550 Pro||Theater 650 Pro||Benefit|
||Integrated||Integrated||Lower Cost Tuner|
|ADC Precision||12-Bit||12-Bit||HQ Digital Conversion|
|2D Comb Filter||5-Line||5-Line||High Detail Video|
|Audio Standards||Worldwide||Worldwide||Worldwide Support|
|Video Standards||NTSC, PAL||NTSC, PAL, SECAM||Worldwide Support|
|3D Comb Filter||Adaptive||Motion Adaptive||Sharp Video, Less False Color|
|Auto Gain Control||Single Stage||Multistage, Multispeed||Faster Brightness Adjustment|
|Auto Color Control||Coarse||Fine||Brighter Color|
|Digital TV Support||No||Yes||ATSC/DVB-T Support|
|Edge Enhancement||No||Yes||Shaper Video|
|Non-Standard Video Support||No||Various||View Out of Spec Video|
|Auto Standard Detect||Software||Hardware||Faster Signal Detection|
|Noise Reduction||Hardware||Hardware, Motion Compensation||Sharper Image w/Less Static|
|VBI Slicing||No||Yes||Lower CPU Utilization|
|Bus Support||PCI, PCI-E||PCI, PCI-E||Universal PC Support|
|Vista Ready||Yes||Yes||Ready for Next-Gen OS|
As seen above, ATI has added support for the SECAM video standard (Sequential Color with Memory), which is commonly used in France, as well as Eastern European countries, broadening the market potential of the Theater 650 Pro. Adding Motion Adaptive algorithms to the 3D Comb Filter helps bring improved video quality to fast or slow moving video while Auto Color Control has been improved to a Fine detail compared to the Theater 550 Pro's Coarse detail. Hardware Noise Reduction now brings Motion Compensation for an even sharper image, which also benefits from a newly added Edge Enhancement feature for greater detail.
Theater 650 Pro Block Diagram
The Theater 650 Pro will be offered in PCI and PCI Express 1X (using a PCI-E bridge) flavors, making it a compatible with a wide range of hardware. MPEG2 encoding is handled in hardware to reduced CPU cycles, which improves performance. The Theater 650 Pro utilizes a 12-Bit video decoder for playback while video recording supports MPEG2, MPEG4, DivX, WMV9 and H.264 formats. Additionally, a hardware DRM engine is integrated for digital rights management.