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VisionTek 5564 Everything
Featuring
The NVIDIA Personal Cinema

By: Brian Gray - October 10, 2001

Installation

The Xtasy Everything has an installation guide/poster that is unfolded to give you the path to the treasure of multimedia bliss.

Notice the plethora of connections.

he directions are clear. You need to circumvent the normal install and use the install cd. After the autoexec, just go with the Express Install. You run through all of the necessary software that is so much a part of the Personal Cinema. The bundle uses the 14.61 Detonator release. All testing was done using the supplied driver set. Total install time, about 20 minutes.

Install countdown, bottom left.

Watching TV

A restart afterwards leaves you ready to go. Grab the remote and press the DVR/TV and WinDVR will start up. Wouldn't you know it, it worked. When has that ever happened?

Time to configure all of your basic cable channels. Keep in mind that the new digital cable channels on Fiber-Coax systems are not decodable. Regardless, I have 70 channels of television on my PC I never had before.

User friendly.

The interface is fully compatible with the remote. You can pull up the channel listings, tweak the volume, and even record. Yes, record.

Timeshifting, thumbnails, recording - the Personal Cinema does run as a digital VCR. Image quality? Well, not that good (default), but it is stored in an easily shared mpg format. The recording capabilities gives WinDVR the capacity to pause live TV and let you resume at your leisure. Very handy.

I did play with the settings to increase the image/sound quality of the recording. There are three settings; 320x240 at 1800kbps video and 224kbps audio, 352x480 at 3600kbps video and 224kbps audio, and 480x352 at 4000kbps video and 224kbps audio. If you really want high quality recording (monstrous file sizes), you can select 1/4, 1/2, and full DVD level recording. Get a big hard drive.

Looks good.

Image quality is about what you would expect for TV-emulation on a monitor. It is a bit grainy but the picture was stable. The software effectively controls annoying leftovers when dragging the viewing screen and window size adjustments were immediate. Solid performance here.

Watching Movies

WinDVD? You know it, you love it. Easy to use, very compatible, what else?

What you never had before was the remote control. Sweet.

WinDVD let me jump right to the S/PDIF out of my Live X-Gamer into my Midi-Land 5.1 surround sound system. When you use the digital in, only the speakers can control the audio level. Glad I have a remote for the speaker system, too. Analog gives the remote volume capabilities. I tested it and went right back to Dolby Digital bliss.

Looks good.

Image quality is again solid. We're not reinventing the wheel here. The package constitutes the revolution for us NVIDIOTS.

Next Page: Editing And A Little Gaming

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Last Updated on October 11, 2001

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