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Graphics Software

ATi's All In Wonder Radeon 7500 297

Posted by michael
from the build-yer-own-tivo dept.
FlippedBit writes "ATi has released a very affordable All In Wonder product based on their Radeon 7500 chip. For a mere $200 smackers you can get decent 3D graphics, TV Tuner, TiVO functions, and a remote that will work from another room with no line of sight."
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ATi's All In Wonder Radeon 7500

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  • problems with it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:33AM (#3283912) Homepage
    and it's not with the hardware but the software that gives you the TiVo like operation...

    it doesn't work without a massive fight under windows 2000. it is the same software suite that comes with the TV wonder from ATI and their multimedoa center just sucks.

    • by Brento (26177) <brento@NoSpAm.brentozar.com> on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:43AM (#3283972) Homepage
      and it's not with the hardware but the software that gives you the TiVo like operation...

      Well, my first problem is that this thing just isn't like Tivo. Tivo will automatically record your favorite shows no matter what the schedule is, which is great when you like stuff on TLC or History Channel that seems to air at random times.

      Furthermore, Tivo is smart enough to record things it thinks you will like. This software is dumb as a rock - if I don't tell it to record something, it won't.

      Even worse, the Gemstar Guide Plus software will only let you download 7 days of listings - you can't see further than 7 days out. That blows - I don't want to sit down every week and plan my next week of viewing, I want to do it maybe once a month. When I go on vacation, I can only record shows in the next 7 days - heaven help you if you're gone more than 7 days.

      Last, and worst, it doesn't REALLY work with dual displays. If you have two video cards in your system, and the second one isn't ATI, the program won't launch. You have to disable the second desktop in order to watch TV. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.
      • by fractalus (322043)
        Seems to me ATI hasn't really improved their software since I had the original Radeon All-in-Wonder. I had very, very similar problems with getting any of the TV features to work if I had a second video card installed and enabled. Turning off the second display was required to watch DVDs; to watch TV, I had to reboot and turn off the other video card with a BIOS switch.

        I've since replaced the Radeon All-in-Wonder with a Radeon 8500, because I wanted better dual-monitor support. Silly me. DVDs can't play full-screen at all with two monitors enabled, the dual-display support is horribly quirky, and when I attempted to add an ATI TV-Wonder board to get back the TV stuff not available on the 8500, I discover the two just plain don't work together, locking the entire system in seconds. The few seconds I did manage to get the TV going (only once) the quality was distinctly inferior to the All-in-Wonder.

        I've got too much money sunk into this stuff to go replace it right now, but I seriously doubt I'll be purchasing another ATI product in the future. Their drivers just plain suck, and their tech support (when they even bothered to answer my e-mail inquiries) assumed I was an idiot and gave me standard suggestions that I'd already tried (and I'd told them I'd tried, had they bothered to read the e-mail I sent).

        Buyer beware.
        • I have the original Radeon AIW, and am not very happy with it. It fails on two counts:

          1) from an engineering standpoint, it's hacky. Look at those pictures, esp [site is down, so URL is unverified]the wires [hothardware.com]. The card should have one coax in (and optionally svideo) and one DRI out. Instead it has a bush of wires. This is--for example--because they don't do sound output oer the bus, but instead send it out a wire, which then must be plugged into your soundcard to be sampled. Getting a soundblaster to co-exist with the AIW is a bitch and a half. And double-decoding my sound just feels wrong.
          2) Macrovision. I bought one of these to be able to watch VHS movies on my computer, and every so often, one just doesn't work. I figure it's macrovision. The sound continues, but the video freezes after about 3 secs.

          3) I agree with everyone else: The bundled software and drivers are so bad, they should pay me to put up with this crap.

          So:

          anyone have a better solution? I saw one guy suggesting getting the hauppage or bt442 cards.
          • Hauppage cards aren't all that great. I bought one (the PCI mono TV card)for my ex-girlfriend, but she hasn't been able to get it to work perfectly under XP since I bought it (several weeks). The worst problem is that there's no sound. She's using a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card on a VIA KT133A system. I've never heard of Turtle Beach sound cards having trouble with VIA chipsets.

            My advice is to just watch television on your television (imagine that). There are no good television cards for the PC.

            If you're really hell-bent on doing video work on your PC, then spend the big bucks for real hardware and software... or buy a Mac.
        • I recently purchased the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500DV card, and I've been quite happy with it so far.

          I had Windows ME installed, and after installing the video card and the accompanying software drivers it worked. Then I installed Ulead's Video Studio 5 and it killed my system. It took 10+ minutes to boot, I couldn't access my CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive, and everything was really slow.

          I put in a new hard drive and did a fresh install of Win2K, installed all the drivers and everything as before, installed Video Studio 5, and everything works fine.

          I replaced a GeForce 2 GTS card and a Pinnacle Micro DC30 capture card with a single card that gives me better performance, better input/output options AND gives me two Firewire ports.

          The card comes with all the multimedia software and drivers, a free copy of Half Life with CS and TF, Ulead Video Studio 5, the RF remote with batteries and a USB RF receiver, a composite video cable, S-video cable, i-Link to Firewire cable, DVI to VGA adapter and a very nice break-out box cable with Firewire, composite, S-Video and digital audio ports. There was another CD of some sort of multimedia presentation software that went on the shelf with all my other "it came free with the (device) and I'll probably never use it" software.

          I have already captured video from my Sony Hi-8 camcorder and burned a video CD with relative ease (I'd done it before, so it wasn't something new to me).

          I have a DV camcorder arriving tomorrow, and I can't wait to check out the world of digital video capture.

          If the new 7500 is even half as good as the 8500 (at right about half the price) it's worth the money, IMHO.

          The only problems I have are:

          1) The included RF remote isn't a universal remote, so since I have my satellite receiver hooked to the coax input on the card, I have to use the satellite remote to change the channel, and then I have to use the ATI remote (which is a nice remote, BTW!) to adjust volume, etc.

          2) There is no way to change the video input from within the included video capture software (Ulead Video Studio 5). If there is a way, I haven't been able to figure it out.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        heaven help you if you're gone more than 7 days

        Heaven is helping you if it gets you to get off your ass and stop watching television.

    • I have had the exact opposite experience with it. it's a great piece of hardware... the tv capture quality is superb(all ATI's are as I see it, but my only comparison was to a voodoo 3 3500 which wouldn't let you resize the screen).

      takes a while to switch mp2(the default format the vcr function records in.) other than that, it rocks. the new software is much more stable than my original all-in-wonder ve, which I got rid of due to an issue with my ali chipset(don't laugh).

      make sure you get the updates software from their website. I'm running win2k solely because this card kicks so much ass under it. sound quality isn't too shabby either, except the line-in is a good deal quieter than wav on my soundcard, so switching on the tv requires boosting up the sound.... the ICQ goes "UH OH" ...and I piss my pants while spraying pop all over my screen.

      I haven't looked into getting it to run under linux, but that'll probably happen when I switch over this summer. if anyone has some suggestions/sites to help me get it running as good under linux(debian) as it does under win2k, let me know.
      • oops, on a side note, I got mine about a year ago with 32 megs of ram and without the remote.... which looks cool as hell.
        I think I might give mine to my girlfriend ang get that one for me:)
    • by Rob Parkhill (1444) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @11:20AM (#3284187) Homepage
      The biggest problem for me is that like all of the other "TiVo cards" for your PC, it will ONLY work with analog cable tv. There is no "IR Blaster" output that would allow me to use this with my digital cable box, or my digital satellite TV decoder.

      These cards need to include an IR transmitter which I can use to change the damn channel on the decoder box automatically when I want to record a program. Without that, it's no better than the tuner-free video-in port on my PC now.

    • My AIW 128 Pro software and drivers suck, I don't even use the TV features any more, it just screws up my system too much, but I'd hoped they'd improve (dramatically) with the AIW 75/8500. After reading all the comments here apparently they have not. Which makes me wonder at first why this story was even posted (except, as some have noted, to show us the April Fools Slashfomercial post wasn't a joke) but think about it, even if slashdot did post this to advirtise for ATI (I'd tend to believe it was posted as news due to general lack of caring about what gets posted but...) it has worked great for the /. community. We all know now that the ATI drivers & software still, basically, suck and that my friends just saved me $200.

      Now then, what I want to know is - what are the altrenatives? I just want a good converter/encoder with a coax in (to run from my VCR which I'll use as my tuner). Any suggestions on cards that don't suck? Hey, maybe /. will post a story about one of these too?
  • by Skidge (316075) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:34AM (#3283914) Homepage
    and an IR Remote that will work from another room with no line of sight.

    Great! I hate having to have line of sight when I'm trying to watch some TV.

    • What about MTV? And muting the thing when you get a important phone call in the next room?
      And think about some nice case mods maybe in the wall or otherwise hidden...

    • I think his point is that you don't have to have the computer right next to the tv in order for you to output to tv.
    • Can't do IR w/o line of sight. I looked at the article and its RF which will work anywhere with a given range.
    • I hate having to have line of sight when I'm trying to watch some TV.

      If that was a serious reply: It a big improvement to be able to put your noisy PC in a different room from the TV, and just run a cable from the TV-out on the card.

      If it wasn't: heheh! :-P~

      It's sometimes so hard to tell whether people are being sarcastic!
      • Sorry, I forgot my sarcasm tags. :) It sounded much more sarcastic when I first heard it from the voices in my head. Maybe something got lost in the translation to text.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      At the risk of seeming to totally lack a sense of humor, I have to point out that some folks don't have their computers and TV sets in the same room.
  • Linux? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by L3WKW4RM (228924)
    So does ATI release Free drivers unlike the NVIDIA hell I've been stuck with the last 2 years?

    I wish it were easier to turn down hardware on the same issues we can turn down software, but it seems to be a sellers' market.
    • Nvidia hell? My geforce 2 and 3 work great under linux. and (Gasp!) I dont even want the sourcecode. (I can hear the angry GNU/angrymob members already heading for my office with torches)

      Nvidia released drivers that work... unless you have a desperate need for the sourcode to invent something... please quit whining about it.
      • NVIDIA vs. ATI (Score:2, Informative)

        by Yohahn (8680)
        NVidia's is like a bratty girlfriend:

        When they are good, they are very very good.

        When they are bad, they are rotten.

        I've had the experience with NVIDIA drivers working perfect on one machine, and on another it randomly crashes all the time.

        I just bought an ati7000 for building an audio machine (no emphasis on graphics) and the 3d accell worked alsmo outta the box on a debian "testing" install (I had to switch it so the agpart module was loaded BEFORE the radeon module).

        I'm tired of reading about the people that have it work "perfectly" at the expense of those that don't. I've had it both ways, and I like the ATI way better.

        (however the ATI drivers need to be labeled better, they refer to things like radeon VE, while consumers just know radeon 7000,7500,8500)
      • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Informative)

        by anandrajan (86137)
        While I'm not religious about open source, nVidia's drivers in combination with my AMD Athlon CPU and chipset have created numerous problems. For instance, X would randomly lockup leaving no errors in the logs AFAICT. In the end, thanks to the great documentation at http://www.gentoo.org/doc/nvidia_tsg.html, I disabled AGP entirely by using Option "NvAGP" "0" in XF86Config. Earlier, I had fought a losing battle - tinkering with the BIOS, messing around with agpgart etc. to no avail. Finally, I have a stable nVidia XFree86 configuration but it took a while to get there.
    • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Informative)

      ATIs policy is that they don't produce drivers for Linux. However, they have established a relationship with open source developers and provided all of the specifications for their hardware. It is my understanding that currently the Radeon series has good 2D acceleration in X, but the 3D acceleration portions (MESA et al) is still in the works. It will likely be month before we start seeing advanced features like the T&L they have been touting available for Linux.
      • It will likely be month before we start seeing advanced features like the T&L they have been touting available for Linux.

        Or you could just head over to http://dri.sourceforge.net and discover that work as progressed quite rapidly on TCL support and decide to pull the tcl branch from CVS. The most people who test it and report back bugs the quicker the development will progress.

        Dinivin
      • It is my understanding that currently the Radeon series has good 2D acceleration in X, but the 3D acceleration portions (MESA et al) is still in the works.

        That is untrue. 3D acceleration works for Radeons, except Radeon 8500 (...yet?). I played RTCW on Radeon VE without problems (but XFree86-4.2.0 and new drm is needed).
    • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Informative)

      by banadushi_ (168358)
      ATI does not support any of their consumer products under linux. However the GATOS Project [sf.net] supports most function under linux, including the remote.
    • I got this card for my new box (built it in late February). I haven't had the Win 2000 problems the poster in a previous thread mentions... works just fine for me. Radeon support in Linux has been a real bear though. It works okay with the frame buffer drivers, but zilcho otherwise. Supposedly works better with XFree86 4.X versions, but I haven't upgraded from 3 yet.

      I haven't tried any of the Tivo-like functionality yet, but I don't really care much about that stuff. I got mine primarily for capturing camcorder videos to send to friends an family, and I'm pleased with it so far

      I'd use the TV stuff more, but I don't want to drag cable accross the house to the PC... any suggestions for a good wireless solution?

  • Who needs 300 fps? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Who needs 300 fps? The eye can only see 50 fps.

    ---
    Yours sincerely
    The "Who needs 300 fps? The eye can only see 50 fps." troll
    • I argued this out with my quake friends - what use is producing more fps than your monitor can handle?

      they went on about mouse responseiveness

      no I dont understand either

      All I can think of is 2x oversampling to reduce aliasing in 150hz monitors

      tbh I can discern a 1 field error (even subtle things) in the animated moveis I used to make and that would be 50hz (2 fields per frame and PAL @ 25 fps) so I very much doubt that 50fps is the upper bound of noticability. I was aware that even when I pointed the anomalies out people around me couldnt see them until I slowed it down or picked out the single frame. I think one becomes tuned to such devices. Ask a musician and a layperson to disect sound and you'll see what I mean.

      • Ask a musician and a layperson to disect sound and you'll see what I mean.

        Or even a layperson musician and a member of the clergy who isn't a musician.

    • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday April 04, 2002 @11:37AM (#3284273) Journal
      The eye can only see fifty FPS of FILM, as film includes motion blur and the like, foolying your eyes into seeing many more virutal frames. Standard example: Take a camera that films at 2 frames per second. Film something passing from extreme left to extreme right over the space of a second; you'll get a blurred image of it passing. Now, write a 3d engine that will render at 2 frames per second. Have a 3d object pass from left to right over the space of a second. You'll get a static image of the object at one side of the screen for half a second, then a static image of the object on the other side of the screen for half a second. Looks much different, nicht wahr?
      • In addition, you could have the fastest video card in the universe, but considering that a monitor refreshing at 80hz will only display 80 frames/sec, its a moot point.

        Besides, standard NTSC television runs at 30 fps, and PAL (Europe) runs at 25. From what I've read, the minimum acceptable fps for most games lies right around 25 for flight sims, 35 for shooters.
    • by Proc6 (518858)
      I think the theory behind a 150 frame per second Quake score is, "If it can get 150 normally it should be able to get the acceptable 30-50 that seems smooth to us all in the "harder" parts." Remember some of these games vary wildly in complexity depending on the level, area, number of characters on screen, so getting 150 kps assures you that it won't start to suck as the battle gets complex.
    • i notice a tremendouns difference playing tuxracer when it's getting 200 fps and 500 fps. usually the 200 fps is because there's some massive compilation going on in the background and it's jumpy. 900 fps is smooth, and nice. real nice.
  • Obviously, if the remote works outside of line-of-sight, it's not IR. In fact it's a radio remote.
  • [quote]IR Remote that will work from another room with no line of sight[/quote]

    That sounds like quite a feat... I wonder if they mean RF.
    • Re:Remote (Score:3, Funny)

      by neonstz (79215)
      [quote]IR Remote that will work from another room with no line of sight[/quote]

      That sounds like quite a feat... I wonder if they mean RF.

      They probably mean a giant chemical laser which in case of no line of sight just makes it. :)

  • RF Remote (Score:3, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:37AM (#3283940) Homepage Journal
    The remote uses (RF) Radio Frequency, not IR (InfraRed). IR has to have line of sight. That's how it can go through walls.

    I have an old Dish Network receiver that uses an RF remote. It's great if you're listening to the CD channels piped through a home speaker system, and you want to change the channel blind (like you have the channel order memorized) but besides that it's worthless because you can never buy a replacement remote or integrate with a decent home theater controller. Of course there's a guy on the net selling an IR "upgrade" kit.
    • Re:RF Remote (Score:2, Interesting)

      by elhondo (545224)
      I have one of these too, and live in a townhome community. Unfortunately, they seem to be pretty common in my neighborhood, and the working through walls, and around corners feature can be pretty irritating at first. I would actually get into channel changing "tug-of-wars" with an unseen neighbor. Had to keep my phone line disconnected for fear that he would order pay per view movies, etc. I ended up using an IR remote on my current box for this reason (yeah, I know you can change the signals... but there are a lot of dishes in my neighborhood....).
    • This morning the story said it came with an IR remote, hence my past. Now it says it comes with a remote.
  • Oddly enough... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Akardam (186995) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:37AM (#3283941)
    I was just telling a customer that I didn't know of any easy way (read: my grandma can do it way) to turn his PC into a TiVo-like device. Looks like this might be it -- shall have to do some more research when I get to work.

    On the other hand, while I think that the price is great for what you get on this card, we've sold AIW cards for less than that before, so I'm not sure I'd mark it as "affordable" for someone who wanted just a "basic" AIW card. Still, a damn cool looking card.
    • by Brento (26177)
      I was just telling a customer that I didn't know of any easy way (read: my grandma can do it way) to turn his PC into a TiVo-like device. Looks like this might be it -- shall have to do some more research when I get to work.

      Let me save you some time - the only way this thing is like Tivo is that it can pause live TV, and it can record to a hard drive. It can't recommend shows you would like, it can't automatically record your favorite shows no matter when they air (like History Channel or TLC specials that change times on a weekly basis), and it can't view TV schedules more than 1 week out. I've had the AIW Radeon for about six months now, and I still want a Tivo.
  • What about Linux support for 3D and video ?
    Does it provide an OpenGL and Video4Linux interface in Linux ? Otherwise I'm not interested (as if that matters ;) )
    • Re:Linux support (Score:2, Informative)

      The Radeon line is works under Linux as do most ATi cards. The cooperate with open source developers to produce open source drives. They provide full documentation and say "have fun". ATi developers are free to help out in their spare time and in fact if I'm not mistaken, do.
  • by hillct (230132) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:38AM (#3283944) Homepage Journal
    an IR Remote that will work from another room with no line of sight."
    Uh, would that not be an RF remote? Or parhaps you were going to an iMAC motief in your house, with the translucent walls or something...
  • Slashdot still won't post any PowerVR related articles that I write.
  • A Tivo? Hardly (Score:4, Informative)

    by rosewood (99925) <rosewoodNO@SPAMchat.ru> on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:38AM (#3283949) Homepage Journal
    I have been using this AIW Radeon as well as the old AIW Radeon for a long time now and it is no where near the TIVO status. Why? I hate to say it / point out the obvious -- ATI's Drivers and Software suck. They are the major suck. Until 7.6 came out, when you fast forwarded you had no idea how many seconds / frames you skipped and it was never consistant. Also, pausing (the greatest TIVO feature imho) often causes crashes, as does pausing then playing then FF over comercials or slow parts. (This comes on a win98, win2k, and winxp boxes all that w/o TV card get months of up time, and the crashes are clearly TV card related). Their guide software, although free, is worth what you paid for it. Its total poo - and it takes forever to upload it.
    Also, recording on your PC from VCR (home movies anyone?) can be a real bitch if you dont read the rage3d faqs.
    The controls are also still very icky. The program scheduling and recording leaves much to be desired (if its going, thats all you get from your TV card - no way to record one show and watch another -- even if your machine has the horse power, this card does not). Then, to find out what show you have scheduled and whatnot, you have to find the tab in the options and thats a shitty interface to begin with.
    Also, when you install the MMC7.x which is required to give you the drivers for TV overlay and the program to watch TV, you get all kinds of other shit and program association take over (you can say not to install the shit but then when you play back recorded shows, they dont show right a lot of times w/o the ATI File Player)

    Simply said - the card may be good - but the software leaves much to be desired - and it is far FAR from Tivo quality atm

    (Please in the replies, if you know of good alternative software let me know - same if you know how to more or less make something of a decent tivo clone using an AIW + Linux)
    • What I would like to find out is how well it does MPEG capture, meaning how fast a processor, how much memory, and how much disk do I need to convert 22 minutes of analog to MPEG. Does it encode on the card, or in software?

      And does thier card work with other capture software, or are you stuck with what they provide?

      One of the things that annoyed me about this card is it doesn't do duel-head. The Xtasy Everything seems to be a comparable device, but it also does dual head. But you end up with an IR remote & the encoding is done in software.
      • The All In Wonder 7500 Does great MPEG capture. It does MPEG 2 encoding and decoding on the card, so not only will it capture, but it helps you watch a DVD while doing all sorts of other things. The bottleneck here is your harddrive speed, you'll drop frames if the drive can't take all the data. But a modern IDE drive should do the trick.

        As far as dual head goes, the main reason it doesn't have "normal" dual head (Analog and DVI outs) is a space issue, if you take a look at the back of the card, it's full with what it has (Analog inputs from CATV, Input for breakout box, outputs to breakout cable). However, it does allow you to run a TV and a monitor at once, so you can watch a movie on a tv with the thing and still surf on your monitor, if that's your bag.

        Anyways, I have an AIW7500 as well, and I can say I'm much less dissatisfied than the grandparent.
    • Re:A Tivo? Hardly (Score:2, Informative)

      by Denito (196701)
      I have a Radeon All-in-one, and while I agree that the ATI software is not strong, I simply use ShowShifter [showshifter.com] for the TV stuff.

      It is a great piece of software-- works really well on a regular TV as well.. combined with a logitech wireless keyboard and a B & O TV, and I'm a happy tv watcher.

      It even recompresses your recordings in the background so you can do archiving of your sheduled shows..
    • Agreed. also, you can't setup a "season pass" where shows will be automatically recorded without you going in and selecting each show after your weekly download.

      You also can't use this with a cable box as it, unlike the TIVO, has no way to change the channel on the cable box itself.

      Also, the "keyword search" functionality where, say, you want to search on shows that have the word "Robotics" in the title and description also doesn't work. It does make a nice little recorder to record shows from your TIVO to VCD and if you don't have a cable box you actually get all your cable channels which helps.

    • Re:A Tivo? Hardly (Score:4, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:58AM (#3284054) Homepage
      tivo clone... that's kinda easy/hard

      a bt878 capture card - elcheapo is best.
      a hollywood+ mpeg playback card.. dirt cheap on ebay... DO NOT PAY the $79.95 retail for these.. only complete idiots are trying to sell them for more than $45.00 I get the mall the time for $29.00 on ebay.

      a old P-II machine and nuppelvideo for recording and mplayer for playback.

      Add a web-based scheduler and you are done.. no you dont get pause tv, or the other fluff but you do get it recording your shows... showtime every friday at 1045pm est for 1 hour.. is not difficult to program

      • While the list you give you TV recording and playback, it's nowhere even vaguely close to TiVo-like.

        Read what he (and others used to TiVo) asked for, and you'll note you didn't answer the question.

        First off, the hardware solution given is very, very low quality. The recording is MPEG-1 IIRC, and low-bitrate at that. The playback is fixed resolution (so if you have a big-screen HD-ready TV, you've screwed yourself -- flipside is that TiVo is pure NTSC as well, so it doesn't exactly do wonders for bigscreen HD-ready either).

        Second, the real contention is not the hardware, but the software. Pausing live TV is not an optional feature. 2+ weeks of guide data is not an option. Automagic recording of a show instead of punching in day/time data is not an option.

        Ok, so maybe those features ARE an option to you or to others who haven't used TiVo, but it merely means that your solution is behind the times. And yes, all of these things are harder than they seem. And yet, people whine about having to pay TiVo for exactly this kind of thing.

        All that said, your solution does work, and is a low-budget alternative to the AIW card, TiVo, Replay, etc. It does lack some features, but what can you expect for something that is half the cost (or less)? I just wanted to note that you didn't actually answer the question being asked.
    • Hauppauge's WinTV with MPEG-[12] support isn't much better. The software sucks, my w2k box and later XP crashes a lot in ixvideo.ix -- in explorer of all things. I've updated their drivers and everything.

      The mpeg-2 it produces is horrible too. It works fine with it's own video player, but using any other codec and it's "squashed" so I only record in VCD quality (mpeg-1). Even that is horrible. If I bring it into a video editing program like Cyberlink's PowerDirector, the audio and video slowly get out of sync. From what I can tell by doing google searches, it's because Hauappauge encodes some sort of proprietary sync markers into their a/v streams and other vendor mpeg editing tools don't grok it.

      They did finally release an mpeg editing tool that just allows "cuts only" to edit out commercials, but it then re-encodes the entire file. I bought PowerDirector mainly because it doesn't re-encode the entire file and now it's all but useless to me.

      So, in summary, their competitor isn't much better, if at all. The A/V capture market sucks it seems..

    • An original SGI R5k Indy, with a 2GB scsi hdd and 128mb ram can be had on ebay for around $100 right now...

      Of course, it won't run windows, but it'll do anything you want to a bit of video.
    • RANT (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stiletto (12066)

      Agreed.

      Why is it that everyone who comes out with hardware with some kind of video recording ability, they tout it as "tivo functionality"? I'm not a big fan of how some companies abuse trademark law, but if I were tivo, I'd crack down on this misleading nonsense.

      Just because you have hardware that records MPEGs, doesn't mean you have anything even remotely close to what tivo and tivo-like systems provide.

      And to answer your question about if there are any good alternative software out there that "more or less" makes something of a decent tivo clone, I don't know of any. There are bits and pieces here and there that record and playback video, set up timed tasks, and I believe, even read program guide information, but AFAIK there is no freely downloadable software that does everything and has a nice interface.
    • Yeah, the AIW sucks at that. Massive frame droppage. I bought a Dazzle DV-Bridge [dazzle.com]. It's a device that converts NTSC video in to DV out on a 1394 link. Works beautifully. The only problem is that DV takes up HUGE amounts of space. The plus is that there are tons of video editing software that work with it.

      Another advantage is that it's a stand-alone device. You can plug a VCR in one side, a DV camera into another, and do the conversion automatically. Works with ANY platform that has 1394 inputs and drivers.

    • The program scheduling and recording leaves much to be desired (if its going, thats all you get from your TV card - no way to record one show and watch another -- even if your machine has the horse power, this card does not).

      There's a very simple reason for that: one receiver means one channel. With DVB digital television, one receiver could theoretically mean multiple channels from one multiplex, as it depends on the capabilities of demux (and decoder(s) and so on), not the actual receiver front end.

      Now, You're not going to get multiple receivers on a single TV/Video card for some time, as each receiver takes real estate on the board. You can see how much just by looking at the card: the receiver is the part enclosed within the metal cover. It's perhaps about 40*80mm (1.75"*3.5").

      What I really would like is pure receiver + demux cards for DVB-(T/C/S) reception. Cards which I could just tell the tuning parameters and request specific PIDs as separate streams. That way a small piece of software could just receive a single channel and store it on disk for each card, without any recompression (end result would be whatever was in the air/cable/sat - mostly SDTV 3-7Mbps CBR MPEG2 streams, perhaps some additional meta-data). If I wanted to watch something while storing, just have a second process read the (constantly growing) file on disk.
  • Now I can watch tv and use my computer
    from my bathroom.

    (sorry, i won't put my computer in the bathroom)

  • In other news, slashdot's new "ad stories" have begun today featuring an ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 7500 Video Card produced by ATI. As always, no actual fact checking was done to insure that this payed advertisement was actually factual and not missleading.
  • First of all, it has been released for over a month... mine arrived in late February... Unlike a previous poster, I have had little setup issues with Windows 2000, although it is a tad on the quirky side. (A useful tip is to do a google search for "beta radeon drivers," where you can get the latest release of ATI's multimedia center that is considerably less buggy than the one that it ships with... The only issue that I have had with this card is that my "non-line of sight" remote only seems to work within about 5 feet from the receiver... (ATI's tech support has been no help with this issue either)....
  • I've got this card (Score:2, Informative)

    by prisoner (133137)
    and it works really good (the remote is really well designed) with one or two exceptions that I was pretty much ready for: Using a TV as your monitor sucks. The text is unreadable, even set to a larger size. The TV picture in a window looks really clear on the TV and monitor. However, if you maximize the tv picture (when using the TV as your monitor), the resolution goes to shit and the TV picture isn't that clear. The Tivo software works good but the TV guide program doesn't seem to work with DirecTV but I haven't really tried hard yet. It was really easy to install on XP but under 98 (don't ask) it had serious issues which were probably related to the machine I was using.
    • The TV picture in a window looks really clear on the TV...

      Huh? Don't tell me you bought this video card so you could watch TV on your TV (in a window, no less!).
  • This thing came out last year.
    They're really nice, though. I use mine to catalog the Simpsons and The Rockford Files on VCD. It does seem to have a problem with the pitch on the audio when recording to certain formats (like the ones I want to use).
    The fact that I bought one explains their anonymity. I'm always one of like 18 people who buy my particular brand(s) of hardware, making support sketchy.
  • I already tested many graphic cards available on the market. I found these boards (Radeons) somewhat easier to install but I dont know why it had some issues with some games I tested under windows. I never get the chance to test them under linux cause my linux box is already equiped with a GeForce mx400 and a voodoo 3 3000.

    I tested a Radeon (but i cant remember the model anymore) board on a G4 Cube and it worked alright however gaming perfomance was not that high, I prefered the GeForce on that particular case.

    Lets hope this brand new Radeon had some of it issues solved, Ill get a list of them when I get home and post it here so we can all discuss it.
  • Compaq presario 8000 now come with Radeon 8500 All-in-wonder 128MB as an option. I have been contemplating getting one for some time. Can anyone tell me if it worth going for it. I mean what does the 8500 add which the 7500 doesn't have.

    When I looked at the ATI website. They seem a new card called 8500DV with 64 MB DDR. What is the extra DV? Is different from plain 8500.
    I will probably not be getting a new machine for the next several years so I want to get the latest and the greatest now.
    Also I read somewhere that ATI would release the next generation of Radeon chip called R300 which is supposed to be GeForce4 beater. It would to be released it in August. Should I wait for it to be released ?
    • The Radeon 8500 is leaps and bounds better than the 7500, even in AiW form. THe 7500 is actually based on the Old radeon chip, but with a 0.15 micron build process that allows higher clock speeds. As for the DV, i assumed that the DV was the way that they distinguished the standard 8500 from the AiW. I.E, I thought that the all-in-wonder WAS the DV. If you are looking for performance Difference between the 8500 AiW and the 7500 AiW, I have to say that the difference is quite large. The 8500 AiW is better than the geforce 3 series in my opinion, and with all the features, a perfect all round card :). If anyone can indeed clarify the DV thingy, I also would like to be put right...
    • I don't want to upgrade my OS from Win98SE so I am 'stuck' with going to a 7500. The 8500 looks nice but I have so much legacy hardware that I would lose all of it just to gain better video.
  • by bmooney28 (537716) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @10:54AM (#3284039) Homepage
    1. Not all channels seem to be supported by the Guide+ guide... (Oxygen, WB, and a few others in my area) (Note that you can still record shows on these channels, but you have to program it as you would a traditional VCR) 2. Recording quality is great, but when watching TV in "TV On Demand Mode" (where you can pause, fast forward, rewind, etc..) the quality card is less than perfect at lip-synch'ing... and this can be quite annoying. 3. You don't want to have your computer be doing much else while recording shows... (The card has often decided it was in my best interest to *not* record certain shows that I had earmarked...) 4. This card is designed to not record anything that has been protected with macrovision... (Some forum users elsewhere have reported success in bypassing this, though) All in all, I am very happy with this card, as I use it primarily to record shows when I'm not around for archival purposes. If you want perfection and true TV on Demand, I'd suggest TIVO instead...
    • Ever since the last software upgrade, my Tivo records for about 10 "basic" hours, then freezes up. The workaround is to disable "record recomendations" and soft-reboot the sucker every day.

      Oh yeah, and if it does freeze up you have to follow the necessary hard reboot (unplug/plugin) with an immediate soft reboot. Otherwise it freezes up again in about 20 minutes.

      There's every indication that this is due to an incomplete software download. It's a well-known bug, but Tivo is in denial. They prefer to blame defective hard disks, customers who use splitters, and cable companies that fiddle with the vido signals. I've heard reports that the fix is the same as the cause: a software upgrade. Alas, Tivo no longer does these every few months. Can't imagine why!

      Wish I'd gotten a ReplayTV.

  • This story sounds like one of those Slashvertisements (tm) that was foretold on April Fools Day! Oh, no! Now Linus is going to drop the kernel development and AOL is going to buy up people's blogs!

    Remember, Drink Coca-Cola!
  • When I critized Slashdot's move, some of you told me that it was an April fools joke. Well looks like the joke is on you.

    And so, here's my opinion once again.

    "I always thought that those ZDNet editors were pretty funny. The same guy who told us all to convert to MAC OS X last week will come back with a new article and tell us all how great Windows is then he comes back with another article and tell us how Solaris is amazing.

    I don't know about you guys, but I don't want Slashdot to become that dumb. Unfortunately, everyone has a price, ironically we've even seen MS ads on Slashdot."
  • Where are the Mac OS X drivers? I have an Radeon AIW that works great with Mac OS 9 but is just a graphics cards w/ extra chips when booted Mac OS X. ATI is supposed to be one of Apple's good buddies but refuses to support Mac OS X 100%. That's why my money is starting to go to NVIDIA.

    Wake up ATI and smell the Aqua!

  • problem with AIW's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pfhreakaz0id (82141) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @11:10AM (#3284136)
    I used to have an all-in-wonder ATI card. Now I have a geforce and a separate winTV card. Here's my problem with it: When it's time to upgrade your 3d, you have to upgrade the whole thing. I do a fair amount of gaming, mostly sports and action, and while my old Geforce 2mx is great, I'm sure in a year or two I'll want to upgrade. By having the card separate, I don't have to worry. There is software (shapeshifter, below) that works as a "tivo like" thing.

    That said, I'm thinking of building a dedicated "media server" box for my stereo. I have the old AIW pro laying around to use as a card, get a wireless keyboard and mouse and network it. Anyone else done this and have any advice (note: Don't bother with Linux advice. I'll run Win2k.)
  • "Look, if I ask this they'll know I'm just a wannabe!"
    "Aw, quitcherbitchin' and just ask."

    So, I haven't been able to find out anywhere, does this card handle PAL to NTSC transfers (like a region 2 PAL disk to an NTSC TV), or would a body need more hardware than this?

    • I've not used this card, but I used to play NTSC DVDs on a PAL TV using an ATI All-in-Wonder Pro. It *could* have been outputting PAL60, as the TV I was using did support this, but afaik, the TV out is just outputting a signal to the TV as it would a monitor - the DVD being NTSC or PAL shouldn't make any difference, it's outputting at 60hz anyway.
  • This is News??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kenrod (188428) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @11:35AM (#3284263)
    This is news? This product was released in July 2001! I bought one of these pieces of shit a few months ago for $200 and have had nothing but problems since on my Windows 2000 box. The software is total crap, and almost impossible to uninstall/re-install correctly. I had to do a complete OS re-install to get rid of this garbage, which had sent my pc into a permanant reboot loop, not to mention the software took over every other function on my PC (like playing CD's) without giving me the option of bypassing.

    I can't believe /. decided to post this story - do I smell payola???

  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeadBugs (546475) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @11:41AM (#3284311) Homepage
    very affordable All In Wonder product .... For a mere $200 smackers
    Am I the only one that thinks $200 is a lot of money still?
  • I have this card. I bought it so that I could use one card to play 3D games and do video capture. Well I can play games just fine, except for commercial version of tuxracer that just doesn't want to start, however I have not been able to do video capture. Others on the Gatos mailing list have also been having similar problems. The good old Hauppage WinTV cards work really well for TV capture and even have Video4Linux2 drivers.
  • I've gone through three sets of drivers from the ATI website since I bought my (non-AIW) Radeon 7500. The drivers that came on the CD were so flaky, I had to uninstall them before upgrading to the website's drivers, lest my computer crash during the upgrade. Each revision since has become more stable, but I still can't do anything heavy (VirtualDub reencoding, in particular) in Windows without the computer crashing to a black screen within a few minutes.

    If you're just using Linux, you'll need to upgrade to XFree86 4.2 just to get the card working. The Linux drivers are more stable, at least. I've had two crashes and occasional texture corruption (with a few pixels of rainbow colors!?) while playing Wolfenstein, but no problems in 2D or with OpenGL screensavers.

    Oh, and of course dual-head doesn't seem to want to work in either OS (Windows makes a valiant effort).

    Maybe I just got a bad card out of the box, but the relative stability in Linux makes that seem doubtful. A friend of mine had similar problems with a Radeon 8500 and the CD drivers, but in his case the first update to drivers off ati.com fixed things.

  • If you get your ATi card working OK, for Jebus' sake, DON'T UPDATE YOUR DRIVERS!!! No matter what they say, no matter if the new drivers will supposedly give you 1000% performance increase, will wash your car, and automatically download free pr0n, if you get it working, leave it the Fizuck alone.

    Can you tell that I recently upgraded the drivers for my AIW 128 Pro card? After about 2 minutes in Ghost Recon, it would lock up. I tried a couple of times to unsuccessfully revert back to the old drivers. An email to ATI support went into a black hole. I finally got the new drivers to uninstall properly (I think), and the old ones installed, but the game still locks up occasionally. Damn ATI and their shitty drivers. I didn't have ANY problems for a whole year with the original drivers. I got the card for the ability to watch TV on the PC, and get some old video tapes to digital format. It was OK for that, but I would be very leery of buying another ATI card.

  • Not only is it cheaper, but both multimedia and 3d functionality of the card works under linux. With the 8500DV, there is no accelerated 3D support. I don't think the released version of GATOS has the right PCI IDs, but I get the impression that in CVS it is supported great.
  • by psxndc (105904) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @12:33PM (#3284707) Journal
    Everyone is complaining that the AIW sucks for TiVo like functionality. fine. Someone please tell me a card that works great. I don't have an AIW, but I have a Lifeview card and a STB OEM card (both bt878) and I _still_ cannot get either one to record shows under Linux. I am not a configuration guru, but after three days of changing modprobe settings, the best I could get is video with no audio while recording (the STB card, audio is present when just watching tv). I have tried changing the recording input to line1 (the tv card patches into the soundcard) to no avail. Also, this is only works on my Windows machine when dual booted into Linux. My main linux machine, with the Lifview, tries to use the Intel i810 audio with no results, and gets video only after manually modprobing it.

    What is the best "plug it in and it just works" card?

    psxndc

  • So, I don't know anything about TV cards. At all. But I bought a super-cheap version a while ago at a surplus store for $25. I don't really watch cable television, but I wanted an easy way to plug my video game consoles into my computer, instead of leaving a television on my desk just for video games.

    The issue is, the screen shakes a tiny bit all the time. You get dizzy if you play mario for more than an hour at a time (which has become a sort of built-in self-restraint.) Now, the reason I'm getting shitty performance is that I bought a shitty card. I understand that. But is there some hardware specs that would have clued me into that fact? Besides the price tag?

    I'm happy to shell out more for a better card, but I'd like to be able to point to SOMETHING in the specs and say "That's what I'm paying for."

    Besides the extra 0 in the price tag.
  • Actually, folks, you have me to thank for the release of this product.

    This lower cost unit most certainly wouldn't have been releas6ed if I hadn't just purchased the top of the line Radeon for more than twice that :-)

    Regardless, I like the unit, and the Tivo-like functions (and great remote) are well worth it.

    You're all quite welcome. Go enjoy the price break.

    -me
  • by da3dAlus (20553) <dustin.grau@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday April 04, 2002 @02:29PM (#3285620) Homepage Journal
    Leave it to Slashdot to review a product I just bought two days ago. Anyway, I want to do my own review on the card, just to let others know of the problems I encountered.

    First off, I used to have an original All-In-Wonder card about 5 years ago, and it's still alive and well in my linux server. I loved that card, but 3D sucked until I added a 3dfx card. I ran those for a while, then the GeForce series came out, and I jumped on the ASUS 6600 Deluxe with the TV features. (ATI had me hooked on TV on my computer, so I couldn't live without it.) Well, 2 years later, my ASUS card begins to fail and I started looking at a new card--it came down to the Radeon 8500 or the 7500 AIW cards. Since I don't have a DV camera or any other type device, I figured I'd save the $200 and get the 7500 (after consulting a friend who also recently purchased the card).

    I had some problems with the install, mainly with getting the remote and the TV display to work properly. The driver and software installs were actually quite painless (AMD 1.2 GHz, Win2k, just for reference). It turns out that the program for the remote is buried in the application directory, and the shortcut in all the software is wrong. After fixing that, the control worked fine. As for TV, I had no picture, but had sound. It turns out that when you have the TV composite out connected to a VCR, it makes the TV out the primary display, and your monitor is a cloned desktop. Make sure you switch that before you get upset like me that you have no TV display.

    Let me say that if you have a TiVo, don't bother getting this card. If you also have a higher end graphics card and do a lot of gaming, don't get this card. However, if you have a GeForce 256 or older card, want decent TV record/playback, and do moderate gaming (with nice effects) then this card is for you. I have had no problems running my 3D games like I did on my GeForce 256 (the 7500 AIW runs like a GeForce 2 MX, so it's adequate for most games). The Guide Plus software (only for windows) allows you to download local channel guides, and set the TV to either watch or record automatically. But as someone else said already, it's dumb and doesn't gather watching habits or anything--not bad though if you just want to record something without being there. I'm still having some problems with recording video (audio and video get out of sync) but I think that's because of the settings I'm using for compression (you can use MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI, ATI VCR, or WMF). ATI is aware of the "10 second sync" issue with AVI recording, and are "working to resolve the problem".

    In all, I really do like the card, especially the time-shift feature and the remote. I've bordered on saying that I love the card, but the recording issues are the only thing that holds me back.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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