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eVGA Personal Cinema Review - Page 6 of 8


The first selection from the eVGA Media Center, Watch TV, opens InterVideoís WinDVR 2. WinDVR is a commonly bundled application with TV Tuner cards. Iíve been using the VIVO features of my eVGA e-GeForce4 Ti 4600 for the past year, and have become accustomed to NVIDIAís WDM drivers and their abilities. But I was blown away by the image quality of the input. Itís definitely a step up from the resolution-fixed freeware applications I was using.

I was having problems capturing the video overlay to display the image quality and my camera's capabilities are lacking in the motion department. When watching TV at Full Screen, the image is slightly fuzzy but much sharper than viewing the TV at the same distance. At a distance of 8 feet the image is about as good as you can get with even a high-end TV set.

WinDVR also allows you to record and it includes a nifty timeshifting feature which allows the Personal Cinema to emulate a digital VCR. Right in the middle of the game and the lady needs a hand? The recording capabilities allow you to pause live TV and watch the rest of the show later.

There are a number of pre-set recording quality settings. The audio settings of the pre-set setting are as shown above, but with a 44.1 kHz sampling rate. The only setting that varies is the resolution, with Good set at 320x240, Better at 352x480 and Best at 640x480. If youíve got the room, the DVD quality settings are great. I tend to use the ľ DVD setting myself.

An electronic program guide is also bundled in with the device. TitanTV acts as a TV-Guide replacement for you PC. After registering and selecting the cable plans available in your area (support for US-customers only), Titan displays the channels as with the currently playing and upcoming shows. Clicking upon the show's title fires up WinDVR if the show is currently playing. If not, then a recording entry is entered into WinDVR. When the show begins, WinDVR automatically starts up and records the show. Finally a VCR that works without messing around with various timers and menus. There is one drawback though, the Titan TV display is rather small, so it's hard to see at a distance.

The Play a DVD selection fires up NVIDIAís NVDVD software. Version 2. 21 was included on the CD. Iíve since upgraded to 2.55 courtesy of the recently released update. One draw back though is that the included version is an OEM version, and as such lacks support for multi-speaker positioning and Dolby Digital 5.1, Pro Logic and Headphone support. Most bundled DVD players are stripped down version of their counterparts anyway, but you gotta hope for the best right? Owners can upgrade to the full version for $24.95, as savings of $15.00 off the stand-alone price of NVDVD. I wonít waste any time on NVDVD as the vast majority of you have tried the demo version available here, and have already compared it to WinDVD, PowerDVD or your player of choice. Although, the adaptive de-interlacing of the GeForce4 MX chips has improved the overall quality of the image

The Edit a Movie feature fires up Uleadís VideoStudio6 SE. Those previously acquainted with video editing will easily find their way around it. The included help file doesnít contain much information which would be welcomed by newcomers. Fooling around within the program proved to be the best way for me to figure out the various editing options. The menu along the top drives the whole program and divides it into easily accessible parts specified to edit various aspects of the video. Editing a video is composed of importing the various movies in the order to be displayed in the Storyboard section, select the transitions in the effects section, cut and splice in the overlay section and get fancy with titles and audio voice-overs in their respective sections.

The Make a DVD function fires up the last of the remaining editing applications, Uleadís DVD MovieFactory 2 SE. Itís the inclusion of this program which allows the Personal Cinema unit support direct to DVD recording. I see this application as more of a finalizing program as it allows one to export the video to a huge list of various formats with varying compression levels, match and organize them into various menus and section for easy viewing and then outputting the result upon a disc.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2003

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