ATI Theater 650 Pro & Catalyst Media Center Preview

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Overview of the ATI Theater 650 Pro's Key Features
A Different Kind of TV Tuner

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
IF Demodulator
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.

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