ATI Theater 650 Pro & Catalyst Media Center Preview
In recent months, we've seen a major step forward in the image quality of TV Tuner cards on the PC. As we recently saw with our review of NVIDIA's DualTV, an analog signal can now be cleaned up nicely with finely tuned comb filters and other technologies to bring clarity not seen with previous products. As the technology has evolved, manufacturers now have the leverage to produce TV-Tuner packages with exceptional analog image quality along with other features, such as dual-tuners, using a single cable connection.
While NVIDIA impressed us with their DualTV card, ATI has been hard at work fine tuning their Theater 650 Pro processor. Building on the successes of the Theater 550 Pro, ATI brings new enhancements to the overall technology for even greater image quality and performance.
Recently, we were provided with a pre-production reference card to give us a taste of what a Theater 650 Pro based TV-Tuner card is capable of. Not to be out done by NVIDIA, ATI has upped the TV-tuner ante by integrating Digital and Analog TV-Tuners on a single card. Topped off with a completely new Catalyst Media Center package, ATI aims to deliver a PCl TV-tuner product that can fit a broad range of uses with support for all versions of Windows XP and over-the-air digital content.
* 125 channel TV tuner with stereo audio
* Intel Pentium 4/3/II, Celeron, AMD K6, Athlon or compatible
* Windows XP/SP1/SP2
* TV signal from amplified antenna or cable
* 12-bit video pipeline offer higher quality colors than the competition's 10-bit solutions
* Single chip support for NTSC, PAL and SECAM allows you to watch TV from Australia to Zimbabwe
Digital TV Support
* High quality ATSC HDTV powered by ATI's Theater 311 and DVB-T solutions available
Windows Vista Ready
* Prepare for the future - The Theater 650 PRO is Windows Vista premium logo ready
* Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition
As we assess the technical specifications of the Theater 650 Pro processor, there are a couple of things to spotlight. First is the support for digital TV, which brings over-the-air DTV capability to the mix. Additionally, a 12-Bit video pipeline, enabled through Avivo and an X1000 series graphics card, looks to bring richer color representation. And an adaptive 3D Comb filter aims to deliver the clearest picture possible, improving on the Theater 550 Pro in a number of ways.