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Review: ATI's TV Wonder USB 2.0

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 28 October 2004, 00:00

Tags: ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD)

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Introduction

ATI does a lot with its Rage Theater ASICs. The 200 version was peppered over all manner of All-In-Wonder and TV Wonder products after its inception, and given the recent launch of the Theater 550 PRO, expect to see those crop up everywhere too. So while the new Theater 550 PRO expands on the basic tenet that the 200 established - that of flexible, high quality video and audio processing - there's still life in the old 200 dog yet.

Here's one such product that affords it that long life.

TV Wonder

If you know anything about ATI's All-In-Wonder products, the TV Wonder will make sense if you think about it as the TV-tuner and video capture hardware from an All-In-Wonder product, but on its own card, that rides the PCI bus. It's long been an ATI tactic to do just that, decoupling the TV tuner and video processor hardware from the All-In-Wonder and selling it as a separate product for people to augment into their own systems with whatever graphics card they choose.

It's ATI's best-in-class TV and video hardware on a cheap add-in-board. Good TV for the masses.

The advent of cheap notebook systems without expandable PCI slots and the march of USB2.0 has caused many add-in TV product vendors to consider USB2.0 interfaces to their hardware, allowing people to connect the hardware that way, an especially good thing for those notebook owners.

ATI's response is to take the basic PCI TV Wonder, add in a helper ASIC and a USB2.0 interface, before wrapping it up in an appealing shell and selling it as the ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0. Let's check out the hardware.