ATI Theater 650 Pro & Catalyst Media Center Preview

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Catalyst Media Center Software - Under the Hood


Catalyst Media Center Software - Under the Hood
A Slick New Look

While the main interface of the Catalyst Media Center is clean and direct on the surface, do not be deceived, the interface has a robust collection of underlying features and settings that make it a complete multimedia package.  We'll highlight some of the advanced components in a bit more detail.


When we access the TV menu, options are provided to chose various video inputs, including Analog TV (Cable), Analog TV (Antenna), Digital TV (ATSC), Composite and S-Video.  A Recorded TV menu helps to organize recorded video as well as search the system for other forms of video.  Video files can be sorted by Name or Date and can easily be burned to a CD or DVD using the Burn to Disc feature.  Aside from simple burning of media files, Burn to Disc also offers a complete Authoring package with custom menu options and the ability to add audio tracks as well.  Supported Disc formats range from DVD, VCD and SVCD with quality settings from DVD Smart Fit, HQ, SP and LP. 


Catalyst Media Center brings full scheduled recording capabilities for both TV and Radio.  Schedules can be set for one time recording or recurring schedules based on the day and times specified by the user.  Once set, schedules are listed on screen by either frequency or date of the set schedule.  The Channel list menu offers a quick way to jump from one channel to another without keying in a channel or having to scan one at a time.  If the option was chosen during setup, the EPG menu lists the Electronic Programming Guide which downloads custom programming information from TitanTV.  Lastly is the Settings menu which allows for adjusting video input sources, region settings, audio quality (Stereo, Mono and SAP) as well as enabling or disabling Time-Shifting.


Under the main Settings menu, advanced options are provided for TV, DVD, Videos and Radio in a single location.  For TV, Display and Audio settings are accessible.  Here the screen ratio can be set to 4:3 or 16:9.  When viewing movies in 16:9, the display type can be set to Letterbox, CLPV or Pan & Scan.  There is also a Color Profile setting that can tweak the image from Original, Vivid, Bright, Theater and CLEV-2.  If an ATI graphics card is used in conjunction with the Theater 650 Pro, ThruView can be set, making the video transparent when set to full screen.  The last option is the Visual Effects which range from Off, Good, Best and Auto. 

In essence, the Catalyst Media Center software encompasses all the best that previous software packages offered in a slick new interface.  The features are many and the menu system is organized clearly, giving easy access to all of the Catalyst Media Center's functionality.

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