TV-ON-DEMAND Makes A
The All in
Wonders television feature has evolved slowly over time.
It first consisted solely of television reception. With the
introduction of the All in Wonder RADEON, ATI added time
shifting the ability to hit 'pause' during a live TV
stream while the computer continues recording a compressed
MPEG-2 stream into a buffer. Once you resume playback,
youll be watching video of comparable quality even though
it is being played from the buffer. At the same time, ATI
also introduced a TV Guide in collaboration with GemStar.
The subscription service remains free and the Guide's
listings are updated through the Internet.
multimedia team has made a couple of additions to the TV
package, incorporated into the Multimedia Center 8.0
package. The first, MulTView, enables
picture-in-picture, picture-outside-picture and the ability
to record one program using the All in Wonder while another
channel is displayed using an additional TV Wonder card
(purchased optionally for $50).
If you only connect one
antenna, this is what you'll see with MulTView enabled.
Cleaning up your act
enhancement to the TV software is VideoSoap, which combines
up to four filters to remove random noise from an incoming
video stream saved through the Personal Video Recorder.
Among the available filters are soft focus, de-speckle,
sharpen, and a combination filter. The result is a
better-looking recording that can be saved using higher
compression, and consequently, less disk space. Each of the
filters requires processing power, so ATI has wisely
included an indicator that allows you to estimate the
performance impact on your system given the desired
Fifth Wonder - Drivers
Up to Catalyst 2.4
ATI has a sordid history with
drivers, to be sure. But with the introduction of the
Catalyst program, ATI made an official commitment to clean
up its act by increasing stability, enhancing performance,
and most importantly, take feedback from the enthusiast
community about bugs and possible improvements. The latest
version of the driver set includes dialog boxes for OpenGL
and Direct3D adjustments, in addition to a rotation feature
similar to NVIDIAs NVRotate. ATI has also included
SMARTGART, a handy utility for setting the speed of your AGP
bus and toggling Fast Writes on and off.
Sixth, System Setup, and Some Benchmarks