Base Product Comparison and A Closer Look at the DualTV MCE
With the production of the DualTV MCE, NVIDIA is targeting the dual-tuner solution as a competitive option to the best ATI and Hauppauge currently have to offer. Trying to take in the complete picture, we listed some of the more important features each product has to offer to get a clearer understanding of which card has the most to offer.
|Features||NVIDIA DualTV||ATI TV Wonder Elite||Hauppauge WinTV PVR-500|
|Windows XP Home||**||X||*|
|Windows XP Pro||**||X||*|
|Windows XP MCE||X||X||X|
|Remote Control Option||X||X||X|
|Price w/o Remote||$169||N/A||$169|
* Requires third party software such as SageTV or BeyondTV
**Requires third party software such as Yahoo! Go for TV, BeyondTV or Orb Media
Looking at all three cards, only ATI's TV Wonder Elite supports all current flavors of Windows XP right out of the box, having the upper hand with its Multimedia Center software. Both the DualTV MCE and WinTV PVR-500 require third party applications to work with Windows XP Home and Pro. On the other hand, the TV Wonder Elite is a single tuner solution while the NVIDIA and Hauppauge models both support dual tuner functionality through a single CATV input. From a pricing standpoint, the NVIDIA DualTV MCE comes out with the higher price, although it should be a slightly better value than the WinTV PVR-500 which doesn't offer a DVD Decoder. The ATI TV Wonder Elite comes in at the lowest price point and has the best all around package and support, except for the lack of dual tuner capability, however, users could afford two TV-Wonder Elite cards for just a few more dollars than the other two single card options. In the current market, the DualTV MCE appears to be positioned well, however, the situation may change if ATI delivers a dual tuner solution along the same price range. Another advantage to the ATI solution is the Remote Wonder Plus, which allows for mouse control while the Media Center remote control included with the DualTV MCE and WinTV PVR-500 does not.
NVIDIA's DualTV MCE Remote Edition brings a lot of useful features to the table, adding to its overall versatility in a Windows Media Center PC environment. Along with dual-analog TV tuners provided by Philips, the DualTV also comes equipped with an FM Tuner as well. The bracket of the card sports a wide selection of inputs including two coaxial connections, one for FM signal and the other for the dual analog TV signal. There are also two sets of Video-In and Audio-In ports that can be used to connect two other sources via S-Video cables provided in the package. For buffering purposes, the DualTV MCE card comes with 32MB of Samsung K4D261638F-TC36 DDR SDRAM clocked at 275MHz.
Controlling the DualTV MCE is a standard Media Center certified remote control receiver, plus an IR transmitter. The receiver also comes with two additional "Blaster" extensions which allow the remote to control up to two set top cable boxes with accompanying extenders. The remote is nothing new, but rather a standard MCE remote and is identical to the one offered with Hauppauge's WinTV PVR-500.