ATI All-In-Wonder HD, A Legend Returns
Most impressive is the size of the TV tuner itself, with an area that is smaller than the size of two US postage stamps. This is a far cry from the canned tuners of the past, showing how refined the technology has become over the years. Backing the tuner is an ATI Theater 650 Pro which handles AVIVO, MPEG encoding, a 3D Comb filter for analog imagery, DTV demodulation, analog stereo decoding and IF demodulation, among other functions.
The All-In-Wonder HD comes with a single DVI-I connector and one HDMI output while a DVI-I to VGA adapter is included to connect to analog equipment. The card sports a single coaxial connector that feeds both Analog/Digital TV and FM radio signal into a single connection. The hybrid card supports analog (NTSC), digital/HDTV (ATSC) and ClearQAM unencrypted signals. Essentially, this model can pick up signal from coaxial cable or over the air (OTA), making it an extremely flexible digital solution. For OTA signal reception, ATI offers a telescoping antenna that is much nicer than the antenna offered when the HDTV Wonder was first released back in 2004. We should note that while the card supports WindowsXP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate, these do not support DTV directly at this time. For the full DTV experience, ATI offers their ATI Catalyst Media Center to take advantage of this feature, which we'll spotlight in the next segment of this article.
With Personal Video Recording (PVR) as a focal point with the All-In-Wonder line, naturally all its signal inputs are supported with time shifting, with pausing, rewinding and recording being achieved with relative ease. This works with both the TV and FM tuners. The card also sports a dedicated Unified Video Decoder that helps direct HD decoding processing from the CPU to the GPU. The All-In-Wonder HD supports Blu-ray and can upscale as high as 2560x1600. The Audio/Video daughter card expands the All-In-Wonder HD's capabilities, offering Composite video, S-Video connections as well as component outputs and stereo audio inputs for maximum connectivity potential.
With so much technology packed into a small design, there are a few areas where we found the All-In-Wonder HD to be lacking. First, the card doesn't support Crossfire, which is unfortunate since the card is already at the lower rung of the 3D performance ladder. However, this is not too surprising, considering this card's primary target application. Second, the TV tuner is a single tuner, so if you are recording one program, you cannot channel surf for something else to watch. To us, this is a key feature that takes away from a rather impressive design. We're fairly certain that most consumers would be willing to forgo the FM tuner in favor of a second TV tuner.