ATI's HDTV Wonder - It Has Arrived

Introducing the ATI HDTV Wonder

Anyone who follows the computer hardware industry knows that, aside from developing a broad range of Graphics cards, ATI has carved itself quite a niche in the multimedia market as well.  Known for their "TV Wonder" and "All-In-Wonder" series multimedia cards, ATI is a true pioneer in the industry, being one of the first to bring TV to the PC.  

Fast forward a decade or more and now we find ATI right at the forefront of the multimedia foray as the digital media revolution is in full swing.  While the "Wonders" have matured with the times, bringing added features and improved image quality along the way, there was one area left relatively untouched, that being HDTV.

Introduced in the mid-90s, HDTV was touted as the TV of the future with a major initiative to have all broadcasters converted to the new format in 7 years.  While the 7 year forecast was a bit lofty thanks, in part, to the high cost of HDTV-ready televisions, it is clearly catching on.  Today, every state in the country is broadcasting HDTV signals to the public and all major electronic retailers carry a broad selection of HDTVs.  

In recent years cable companies have moved from being standard TV broadcasters to mass marketers of digital content.  Today, companies like Media One, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable all offer digital TV signal over analog.  With a vast improvement in video quality and added functionality, digital and HDTV are well on their way to becoming the standard in TV media, for a fee.

Back in February 2004, ATI tipped their hand at their latest creation, the HDTV Wonder.  While the product wasn't due to be released until Summer 2004, they had enough final details to give the world a glimpse of what they had planned.  We had the opportunity to preview the product specifications and features then and ever since we have been eagerly anticipating its arrival.  It's now June 22nd, 2004, the first full day of Summer and as promised, the HDTV Wonder has arrived.

Today, we have a complete rundown on the HDTV Wonder.  We'll take a look at its features and the new Multimedia Center 9 software package, with a focus on the HDTV related features.  If you haven't done so yet, we recommend taking a step back and reviewing our HDTV Wonder Preview where we covered the basics of the card as well as offering a primer on the differences between Analog and Digital signal.

Features and Specifications
What You Get

What's Inside:

PCI board with dual f-connectors (one for analog cable/antenna, one for digital antenna) and audio/video in (s-video, composite)
Remote Control

4 - AAA batteries included
1 - USB Remote Receiver

Cables, Adapters and Antennas:
1 – Audio/Video Input Block
1 – HDTV antenna

Setup and Installation:
1 - Installation and Setup Poster
1 - Installation and Setup Guide
1 - Multimedia Center User Guide (on CD)
1 - ATI Driver and Utility CD (includes ATI Multimedia Center 9.0 software)

System Requirements:

Computer System:
1.3 GHz processor
PCI bus slot
RADEON 9500 or above recommended (see FAQ for more information)
256 MB of system memory
Installation software requires CD-ROM or DVD drive
DVD playback requires DVD drive
Sound card supported by Windows
Interactive Program Guide requires internet connection (North America Only)
REMOTE WONDER receiver requires available USB port

Operating System:
Windows XP

Pricing and Availability:
The HDTV WONDER will have a SRP (suggested retail price) of $199 USD with remote control and HDTV antenna. It will be available from as well as major retailers world-wide in June 2004.

The HDTV WONDER has a 3 year limited warranty.

Product Comparison

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

HDTV and beyond on your PC
•Over-the-air digital TV tuner with 70 channel capacity.
•Automatically scan for available major and minor channels.
•Unparalleled reception capabilities thanks to the industry leading ATI NXT2004.
o The power to pause live HDTV, get instant replays, record live broadcasts for later viewing.
•Record HDTV programming to your hard drive.
•Capture HDTV still images to your hard drive.
•Listen to 5.1 channel surround sound .
•Export recorded HDTV programming to MPEG2 or MPEG4.
•Access the multiple audio streams offered by digital TV.
•Read broadcast EPG data.
•Automatic aspect ratio determination based on program content.
•View translucent HDTV programming with THRUVIEW .
•Burn recorded content to CD or DVD.

TV and beyond on your PC:
•Stereo TV Tuner with 125 channels.
o The power to pause live TV, get instant replays, record live broadcasts for later viewing.
•VIDEOSOAP™ - next Generation filtering options for Personal Video Recordings that improve captured image quality, particularly when capturing at low bit-rates.
•Gemstar GUIDE Plus+™ Interactive Program Guide- allows user to view and search TV listing by category, actor/performer, or date. Schedule and record programs at the click of a mouse button– all the benefits of a PVR without the monthly fees.
•MPEG-4 capture abilities for high quality files at small sizes.
•Burn recorded content to CD or DVD.

•Access TV or HDTV programming from a distance using the REMOTE WONDER.
•Integrated help screens help users master the use of the remote control.
•New menu system allows for changing application settings without leaving the couch.
•EAZYLAUNCH™ provides an easy and attractive method of navigating MULTIMEDIA CENTER applications from the REMOTE WONDER.

Easy Video Editing:
•Capture still images and video for use in your own creations.
•Save your authored videos to VideoCD and DVD formats and burn to disc with one click


Tags:  ATI, HD, HDTV, TV, DTV, arrive, DT, Ive, AR

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