TV Wonder Elite - Software
For a variety of reasons, ATI is departing from its traditional Multimedia Center software solution and has chosen Cyberlink's PowerCinema instead. We suspect that ATI might be working on a single program to possibly incorporate all the separate modules of MMC, but for the moment, we are going to be using PowerCinema. The TV Wonder Elite will not work with MMC, trying to setup via the configuration program in MMC will just result in a program error. While Cyberlink doesn't offer a trial version of this software, you can see their flash demo here.
We have played around with PowerCinema 3.0 before, and overall, it is fairly intuitive to setup and use. Obviously, CyberLink is supposed be trying to imitate Windows XP Media Center Edition. The difference, is that PowerCinema doesn't have a lot of features that MCE does, i.e. TV program listings.
It takes about 5 seconds to tune in a program right off the bat, and another 4 seconds or so between channel changes, which is about 2 seconds more than software based TV tuners. Since TV listing isn't an available function, TV shows are named based on time, i.e. 4_Feb21024236.0000.mpg -> [year]_[month][date][military hour][minutes][seconds]. There are only three settings available for recording quality (all are MPEG-2): Best: 1 hour ~ 3.86GB, Better: 1 hour ~ 2.85GB , Good: 1 hour ~ 2.05GB (rough numbers based on our tests). Of course, setting up a recording makes it harder because now you have name the recording, set the time parameters, and channel number.
We should note that we encountered an error when we went from the recorded TV sub-menu back to the main TV section, where the program would crash. Unfortunately, this happened on a couple of systems we tested, but this may just be a fluke on our end or some oddity from the TV Wonder Elite drivers that will be addressed in the near future.
It is also interesting to note that while recorded TV is stored in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Videos\Shared TV Shows, this is not the folder that PowerCinema Video section is setup for. Instead the Video function of PowerCinema points to C:\Documents and Settings\[Window's user profile name]\Documents\My Videos\. So far, there is no way to "correct" this slight problem.
Recording FM radio can be done either in WAV: 2 minutes ~ 22.2MB or WMA format (32KB: 2 minutes ~ 504KB, 64KB: 2 minutes ~ 958KB, or 128KB: 2 minutes ~1.85 - rough numbers based on our tests). MP3 format is not supported. All radio recordings are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Radio.