ATI-TV Wonder TV Tuner and
Video Capture Board
Last updated: 1/21/02
you want to watch TV on your computer? Then just add an ATI-TV Wonder,
install the software which comes with the board, and plug-in your cable TV,
VCR, etc. But that's not all... The ATI-TV Wonder is a very good
video-capture board (frame-grabber), as well. If you already have a
camcorder, especially a small one with an LCD display, you may now
be able to live without a digital camera until the prices drop. Mount
your camcorder on a tripod, connect it to the ATI-TV Wonder, fire-up Microsoft's
NetMeeting and you will have an Internet videoconference camera. The
uses of this board abound...
IN THE BOX. The board comes with two CDs of
software, two audio cables to connect to your sound board and CD-ROM, a stereo
cable, a stereo mini-plug to two RCA jacks adapter, and a Getting Started
Guide. In my opinion, ATI should have included an S-Video cable.
MANUAL. The 16-page Getting Started Guide is OK
for hardware installation (I didn't really use it) and it is nebulous and
not very useful for software installation (I did read it when I got stuck
trying to figure-out which CD had the drivers). There is an extensive
on-line help capability which is available after installation and viewed
by clicking the ? Button at the top of the ATI Player user interface. It
is extensive, well-written and organized, and amply illustrated.
COMPATIBILITY. Unlike the ISA version
of this PCI board, the ATI-TV,
the ATI-TV Wonder does not require a flat cable between it and the ATI multi-channel
connector (AMC) on the display adapter. It communicates with the display
adapter through the PCI bus. According to ATI, the ATI-TV WONDER is
compatible with all graphics sub-systems supporting overlay, including:
- ATI RAGE Family of Graphics
- Nvidia Riva 128
- Nvidia Riva TNT
- 3Dfx Banshee
- S3 Virge DX
- S3 Savage 3D
I tested it with a ATI 3D Rage Pro AGP display adapter,
400 Mhz Pentium II, Asus
P3B motherboard, 64 MBytes of memory, and Windows 98.
INSTALLATION... Was less than smooth. After
installing the card and booting-up, Windows detected the board and I went
looking for the driver. It wasn't on the CD labeled "International
Installation CD" (which ATI ships with all of their boards) as stated
in the instructions and could not be found on the CD labeled ATI-TV Wonder. That's
because it is on the ATI-Wonder CD, but it is compressed. The procedure
which works is to abort the Windows install, insert the ATI-TV CD and run
setup (the CD will not autostart; there is no autorun.inf file on it) and
reboot when it's done installing the drivers and software.
- I encountered two additional problems: ATI folder in
the Start Menu is labeled "%s Multimedia" and the executable
is labeled "%s Video Player."
- After hardware detection and before I aborted setup,
Windows 98 SE asked for disk 7 during the driver installation.
ATI is aware of these problems.
INPUT/OUTPUT. The ATI-TV Wonder has the following
external connectors on the back of the card:
- CATV. A coax connector for cable TV or
- SVIDEO IN. The best way to input video
and audio if your input device has an S-Video capability.
- COMP IN. An RCA phono jack
for composite video input.from a TV, VCR, camcorder, etc.
- AUD OUT. Provides stereo audio to a sound
card, or directly to amplified speakers or Hi-Fi system. The connection
to the sound card would normally be done via the internal cables supplied
with the board. Mini-stereo jack.
- AUD IN. Mini-stereo jack.
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