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BrianG
09-29-05, 10:39 AM
Summary: Good hardware? We'll never know because the software sucks so bad.

You know, MMC is bad enough that most TV Wonder users run DScaler or other applications. The HDTV Wonder takes it to new levels.

First of all, the instructions tell you to install the card, then run the CD and *poof* you have OTA-HD. Wrong. Thread after thread recommends installing the software first (some insisting on a clean install of video drivers and even XP). I tired doing ATI's recommended install path, BSOD halts the install. I reboot, XP won't recognize the card. I even try to manually point to the driver folder, XP insists the driver is not for the hardware I am trying to install.

Strike one.

So, I blow out all of the drivers, remove the card, run driver cleaner and restart the process. This time I install the drivers first. Shut down, reinstall the card and upon boot up, things appear to be normal. I go to launch DTV, BSOD.

Strike Two.

So after restarting XP, AGAIN, I finally see that XP recognizes the card and I successfully launch the DTV software. I watch about five minutes of HD content, looks pretty sweet on the Dell Widescreen and then...BSOD.

Strike Three.

Due diligence: I went ahead and installed an app called WatcHDTV written by a forum member at www.avsforum.com. It works, not user friendly, but it worked. The true problem was that I still had to use MMC with the HDTV wonder. Dscaler does not recognize it because of the new data path to digitize input. Picture quality of MMC versus Dscaler? Forget it. According to several threads around the web, the HDTV Wonder cooperates a little better with the ATI cards. It still doesn't stop MMC from sucking.

ATI has severely hampered what could be good hardware with the typical piss-poor multimedia software support. I'm back on the TV Wonder using Dscaler with the latest Remote Wonder plug-in. Somebody remind me to Paypal $20 to the guys that wrote DScaler!!!

superklye
09-29-05, 10:49 AM
Yeah, your sentiments sound about right. I remember reading some reviews either this past summer or the summer before when the card came out and the reviewers had nothing but complaints--pretty much everything you said.

Sorry it didn't work out for you and that they still haven't gotten their crap together even after all this time and all the bad reviews.

ATi just can't seem to get anything right these days. :-\

OWA
09-29-05, 11:27 AM
Yeah, it is frustrating because the hardware is very promising and while it does work better now that I've got the X800 Pro back in the system, it's still not very stable.

I'm not sure on this, but you may want to search the R3D forum. Seems like I remember seeing people having trouble running the DTV app when it first came out and there may have been a work-around. It has been a while so I could be wrong about that. Edit: Actually, now that I think about it, I think I'm just confusing that with the analog TV launching issue where you had to edit the environment variables or the analog tuner would fail to launch.

Anyway, I keep holding out hope because when it works, HD TV looks great on my LCD. They don't seem to be updating the software/drivers much lately though so who knows, the way it is now may end up being as good as it gets.

BrianG
09-29-05, 12:07 PM
I may trade in one of my converters for an HD non-DVR to use on the LCD's DVI port and get the SPDIF in card for the Mystique to pass-through 5.1.

The analog cable to the monitor should no negatively affect the displays image quality given the 60Hz refresh and a lower pixel count than 16x12...

OWA
09-29-05, 01:02 PM
Here are a few screenshots I took the other night. I was going to post these before you got the HDTV Wonder so you could see how it looks. I never got around to it though.

http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/540/csimiamisep260325nn.th.jpg (http://img187.imageshack.us/my.php?image=csimiamisep260325nn.jpg) http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/4161/nflfootballsep260219kw.th.jpg (http://img187.imageshack.us/my.php?image=nflfootballsep260219kw.jpg) http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/4324/shreksep240031me.th.jpg (http://img34.imageshack.us/my.php?image=shreksep240031me.jpg)

BrianG
09-29-05, 04:05 PM
Bummer.

Ah well, as nice as that looks, it is going back. What a pain.

The thing should have a warning label. "In case of expectations for this product to work with out massive trial and error, please return to the shelf."

OWA
09-29-05, 04:38 PM
Yeah, I quickly gave up the idea of using it a lot. I had it in a SFF PC and had a lot of ideas about how I wanted to use it but the MMC part has never been stable enough. So, it's now more of a novelty. I put it in my 2nd system and just occasionally have it on when I want to keep track of more than one thing on TV.

Sazar
09-29-05, 09:33 PM
Patience is a requisite sometimes for certain Ati AIW and other products related to multimedia :)

My AIW 9700pro was the most problem free item I had.

The x800xt is a little more problematic primarily because it uses a different tuner and includes a few additional features. However I haven't had close to the luck you had Brian :(

Maybe you should bring your rig over and we can play with it a little when you get a different tuner :cool:

ENU291
09-29-05, 09:42 PM
Here are a few screenshots I took the other night. I was going to post these before you got the HDTV Wonder so you could see how it looks. I never got around to it though.

http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/540/csimiamisep260325nn.th.jpg (http://img187.imageshack.us/my.php?image=csimiamisep260325nn.jpg) http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/4161/nflfootballsep260219kw.th.jpg (http://img187.imageshack.us/my.php?image=nflfootballsep260219kw.jpg) http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/4324/shreksep240031me.th.jpg (http://img34.imageshack.us/my.php?image=shreksep240031me.jpg)
Wow those captures are amazing. Are you using the same hardware that BrianG is?

OWA
09-29-05, 11:03 PM
Yeah, I think we are using the same one although I think he is going to take his back. It does look really good and even though I've had it a while now, I still get blown away by the detail and clarity of the picture on closeups. When the focus is further away, it's not quite as clear or impressive but it's still pretty good.

Edit: Here are some shots not quite as closeup.

http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/2127/nflfootballsep260075kr.th.jpg (http://img260.imageshack.us/my.php?image=nflfootballsep260075kr.jpg) http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/369/thesteveharveyshowsep290057bl.th.jpg (http://img260.imageshack.us/my.php?image=thesteveharveyshowsep290057bl.jpg) http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/6575/wavyhdjul040132nt.th.jpg (http://img260.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wavyhdjul040132nt.jpg) http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/1708/wavyhdsep290026av.th.jpg (http://img260.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wavyhdsep290026av.jpg)

BrianG
09-30-05, 07:07 AM
I have the TV Wonder installed with Dscaler. No it isn't HD, but the deinterlacer in Dscaler is pretty amazing.

BTW, when I uninstalled the HDTV wonder drivers, it loused up the audio drivers and removed the HDA control panel applet from the task bar. So, I guess ATI likes adding insult to injury. I may give the Fusion HDTV card a shot down the road.

OWA
09-30-05, 06:54 PM
Yeah, it currently has my system pretty unstable. It's kind of ridiculous. If I download anything or use the network at all, the remote wonder software crashes. The software also seems to make the system kind of lag (is the best way I can describe it). I keep hoping they'll fix it since the hardware does seem to be good if they can just get the software to work well with it.