The Xtasy Everything has an installation
guide/poster that is unfolded to give you the path to the treasure of
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.
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.
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.
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
WinDVD? You know it, you love it. Easy
to use, very compatible, what else?
What you never had before was the remote
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.
Image quality is again solid. We're not
reinventing the wheel here. The package constitutes the revolution for us
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