ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL

Article Index

Multimedia Center & Remote Wonder

Like previous products in ATI's All-In-Wonder line-up, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's multimedia features are accessed using the company's Multimedia Center software suite.  To evaluate the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL, we installed version 9.10 of Multimedia Center, which was included on our installation CD. Multimedia Center incorporates the applications necessary to access all of the card's various multimedia features.

ATI's Multimedia Center Suite
Still Going Strong

TV Tuner

DVD Player

VCD Player

CD Player

FM Tuner


ATI Application Menu

TV Tuning:
All of ATI's individual players have a similar look and feel, as is clearly evident in the screenshots above. We should note, however, that Multimedia Center is also completely "skinable", should users want to change the look of the interface. Obviously, the TV Tuner application is used to tune into broadcast or cable television stations (125 channels). It isn't just a simple tuner though, as it has a few unique features of its own that help differentiate it from competing products from companies like Hauppauge or Leadtek. ATI's TV Tuner application works in conjunction with the included Guide+ TV listing software to make it very easy to search for, scan, view and record specific programs. With Guide+, all you have to do is enter your location information the first time the program is launched, and TV listings for your particular locale are loaded directly into a database. Simply click on a listing to view it, or record it directly to your hard drive for viewing at a later date.

The tuner app also has Multiview capabilities that give users the ability to display two separate channels simultaneously, should a second ATI-based TV tuner card be installed in the system.  One thing we noticed while working with the AIW X1800 XL, is that tuning TV channels takes a bit longer than it would on previous AIW cards that used the larger Philips tuner. We experienced the same type of delays with the AIW X800 XT and X800 XL as well.  Just like the other AIW cards that are equipped with the newer Microtune silicon tuner, the AIW X1800 XL, took a second or two to lock-into a channel.

FM Tuning:
The FM Tuner application is fairly straightforward, with a simple layout and a few buttons that are used to scan for and store FM stations. The FM Tuner has the capability to store 10 separate favorites, that are accessible via the buttons situated along the top of the interface. These button work just like the ones on an automobile head unit - press the button, and the tuner jumps right to the desired station. And like the TV Tuner, the FM Tuner can record FM signals on-demand. Unfortunately, there isn't a central database of FM programing similar to Guide+, so choosing the station and times to record are manual operations. 

Other Creature Comforts:
The VCD and CD players also look and function similarly, with the ability the store playlists, and play interactive CDs or special Karoke disks.  ATI's Multimedia Center software also incorporates a host of other features as well, like "Eazylook", which is ATI's take on a "10-foot" interface, and "Thruview" which translucently places a video signal being played over your desktop work area.


Remote Wonder Plus
Control Your PC From Another Room

A major component of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's accessory bundle is the Remote Wonder Plus.  This is the third revision to ATI's Remote Wonder, and definitely the best in our opinion. The Remote Wonder Plus is much smaller than the original Remote Wonder and Remote Wonder II, but all function in a similar manor.  The Remote Wonder Plus features a multitude of customizable buttons to control various applications, at a range of up to 60 feet.


The stand-out feature on the Remote Wonder Plus is its mouse control knob.  Using it takes a bit of getting used to if you've only worked with standard mice, but after working with the Remote Wonder Plus for only a few minutes, we were very comfortable using it to perform some basic tasks on the system, like launching / closing applications or stepping through songs in the CD player.

Configuring the Remote Wonder Plus is very simple, thanks to ATI's easy to use programming software. Assigning functions to each of the remote's customizable buttons is as easy as selecting an item from a drop-down menu. And for more extensive programming, users can install plug-ins for many popular applications as well.  ATI ships the Remote Wonder Plus pre-configured to work with their Multimedia Center software and includes plug-ins for Guide+, PowerPoint and WinAMP.  However, a multitude of other plug-ins are available from numerous third-party sources as well.

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, x1, 180

Related content