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AMD TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe in its purple glory

AMD TV Wonder 600 USB in a portable package
New PCIe x1 and USB 2 tuners for desktop and mobile users

AMD today announced two new multimedia TV Wonder products – the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe and TV Wonder 600 USB. The new TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe features the Theater 650 Pro video processor, which made its debut over a year ago.

AMD equips the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe with dual tuners, one to receive analog and one to receive digital broadcasts. Both tuners can operate simultaneously, allowing users to watch and record from two sources at the same time. The digital tuner on the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe features ClearQAM technology, which allows users to receive unscrambled digital broadcasts over cable TV lines.

The digital tuner on the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe can also tune into high-definition broadcasts from over-the-air and ClearQAM digital signals. An FM tuner is also integrated. The TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe slips into a single PCIe x1 slot. Other notable features include Avivo video processing for hardware MPEG-2 encoding, motion adaptive 3D comb filter, automatic color control, automatic gain control, noise reduction and edge enhancement technologies.

The new TV Wonder 600 USB tuner features a hybrid TV tuner design that can tune into analog and digital broadcasts. Unlike the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe, the TV Wonder 600 USB does not have dual tuner functionality. Nevertheless, users can tune into free over-the-air digital and high-definition broadcasts or analog broadcasts. The TV Wonder 600 USB does not support ClearQAM. AMD doesn’t divulge details of the new TV Wonder 600 USB’s innards.

“More and more, customers are using the PC as a digital hub for TV and video capture and these solutions put The Ultimate Visual Experience™ in reach of almost any PC user,” said Matt Skynner, vice president of marketing, Graphics Product Group, AMD. “These new HDTV tuner products provide a perfect complement to AMD’s graphics solutions, AMD LIVE!™ platforms, and AMD Turion™ 64 mobile technology-based notebooks – delivering simplified home theater PC options that come together for uncompromising visual quality and ease of use.”

Both new tuner products come bundled with Catalyst Media Center software and fully compatible with Windows Vista Media Center and Windows XP Media Center Edition. Expect the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe and TV Wonder 600 USB to show up in September for $149 and $119, respectively.

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Clear QAM
By Frazzle on 7/9/2007 10:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
Since, afaik, neither XP or Vista MCE support Clear QAM, does it only work in the ATi tuner application?

RE: Clear QAM
By Anh Huynh on 7/9/2007 10:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't yet. But who knows how it'll be when September rolls around and the cards come out.

RE: Clear QAM
By Frazzle on 7/9/2007 11:35:56 PM , Rating: 2
Are you implying that MS may enable Clear QAM in MCE (or at least Vista MCE) with SP1?

RE: Clear QAM
By Anh Huynh on 7/10/2007 12:44:15 AM , Rating: 2
No I'm not. However, Microsoft will have to add it eventually due to the FCC mandate that forces providers to kill all analog broadcasts.

RE: Clear QAM
By abhaxus on 7/10/2007 9:03:51 AM , Rating: 2
I'm fairly certain that cable providers are NEVER required to kill analog cable. ClearQAM has nothing to do with the 2009 changeover. The only reason cable providers will go all digital is because they want to get more bandwidth by compressing the basic analog channels to make room for more HD.

RE: Clear QAM
By rdeegvainl on 7/10/2007 9:25:32 AM , Rating: 1
IIRC that is to over the air broadcasts. which i think is why it is called a broadcast, being that it goes places regardless of the casters control,(encryption being another matter) whereas cable is a line to a house, i wouldn't think it would be considered a "broadcast". If i am wrong let me know.

RE: Clear QAM
By omnicronx on 7/10/2007 9:27:49 AM , Rating: 2
The only reason cable providers will go all digital is because they want to get more bandwidth by compressing the basic analog channels to make room for more HD.

no the only reason they are switching to digital is because if all stations have to broadcast in digital over the air anyways.. why would they still carry analogue on cable when there is an available digital equivalent. Only small cable channels that will not be transmitting OTA would even consider staying analogue.

compressing the basic analog channels to make room for more HD.

the whole sentence makes me want to shoot you.. last time i checked analogue is not digital.. wow nothing to compress

RE: Clear QAM
By phattyboombatty on 7/10/2007 10:01:36 AM , Rating: 2
no the only reason they are switching to digital is because if all stations have to broadcast in digital over the air anyways.. why would they still carry analogue on cable when there is an available digital equivalent. Only small cable channels that will not be transmitting OTA would even consider staying analogue.

First, only a very small percentage of cable tv channels are broadcast OTA (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, etc.). The vast majority are made specifically for cable or satellite and the FCC mandate requiring digital OTA broadcasts does not apply to them, so there is no reason to assume that all of these stations will discontinue producing analog content.

Second, virtually every tv channel that does currently broadcast OTA is also currently broadcasting a digital version of the channel. In St. Louis, where I live, every tv channel available in analog OTA is also available in digital OTA. So following your logic, the cable companies in this area should be using digital only for these channels because a digital version is available. This isn't the case. The fact remains that a large percentage of cable customers have analog-only cable and do not want to switch, and the cable companies are not going to alienate these customers by forcing digital on them.

RE: Clear QAM
By Lightning III on 7/10/2007 10:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think your missing the point there is a bandwith limitation to cable

haven't you seen direct TV commercial's about HD capacity between satilite and cable

so eventualy cable will have to do whatever it can to compete with the ever growing amount of HD content

a requiremnt that everybody have a set top box is not out of the question

do you make the 30 dollar month happy or the 120 a month person happy

or perhaps some technological advancement will make it all moot

RE: Clear QAM
By omnicronx on 7/10/2007 11:13:22 AM , Rating: 3
oh i understand the point perfectly, and this has nothing to do with bandwidth of cable, but he is mentioning the bandwidth of OTA HD signals. OTA HD signal is on a totally different level than cable or satellite HD signals. at its best, OTA can transmit up to 19mpbs which is a hell of a lot higher than Cable tv and probably higher than direct tv, as both compress their signals. So please dont tell me the shutdown is to save precious 'bandwidth' as there are OTA HD stations with up to 3 subchannels. When i compare my OTA HD signal to my rogers (canada) HD signal from my digital cable, i can totally notice the difference, with the cable being blocky at times on the exact same shows.

p.s PBS looks amazing on OTA

RE: Clear QAM
By Spivonious on 7/10/2007 10:33:13 AM , Rating: 2
The actual reason for it is that most people don't have an OTA digital tuner, therefore if the stations stopped broadcasting their analog signal, no one would be able to watch their station. Similarly with cable, most people's TVs do not have a digital tuner built-in, so if cable switched to all digital, customers would be forced to get an external tuner (i.e. cable box) to watch cable.

RE: Clear QAM
By Anh Huynh on 7/10/2007 12:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
The government is providing vouchers for people to buy digital tuning boxes. The vouchers are good for $40 and users can request up to two vouchers.

I'm not sure how other cable companies handle things, but Comcast in Bellingham, WA has switched to an all digital network for its cable box users and the basic cable plan comes with a basic Motorola box. Analog is still broadcasted for people without cable boxes, but ClearQAM is also broadcasted.

RE: Clear QAM
By omnicronx on 7/10/2007 10:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
100% true, i guess i was more annoyed for the answer to the reason they were being shut off and didnt think about what i was writing.

all cable channels will remain in analogue, but although you are right a large portion of people still have analogue, i can almost guarantee that within a few years cable companies will make analogue cable the same price as basic digital cable, which is what they have done here in canada (toronto). I would not put it past many companies to discontinue their analogue cable service and replace it with cheaper and easier to maintain setup boxes that still receive the exact same channels, just analogue signals converted to digital like most digital cable companies are doing right now usually with any channel lower than 60.
keep i mind none of what i just said is part of the fcc mandate.

By Rickler on 7/9/2007 11:41:55 PM , Rating: 1
Why do you keep saying AMD instead of ATI?

I'm going to go buy a Ford Ranger Rover, or maybe a Ford Miata tomorrow. Honestly...

By chekk on 7/9/2007 11:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Um... maybe because AMD bought ATI, so now it's all AMD.

By AvidDailyTechie on 7/10/2007 12:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
"Ford owns a controlling (33%) stake in Mazda and also controls the Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo nameplates through Premier Automotive Group."

not a scholastic source but you get the point

I hope ;-)

By ultimaone on 7/10/2007 8:13:58 AM , Rating: 3
yes, but really they are one company

because this isn't 33% or 40% or 60%
this is 100% owned

however reality is they are still a separate division of AMD
and should still be called ATI

By TomZ on 7/10/2007 8:36:25 AM , Rating: 3
however reality is they are still a separate division of AMD
and should still be called ATI

If you look the AMD web site, it looks like they are calling the entire company - including the graphics division - "AMD" and they are using the "ATI" name as the brand name. I don't see any indiciation on the AMD web site that ATI is a separate division.

By Anh Huynh on 7/10/2007 12:23:33 AM , Rating: 2
Because ATI is only used on the graphics products. So graphics products are branded AMD, but the product name is ATI Radeon whatever.

By Kamasutra on 7/10/2007 5:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
The link provided for the official product page brands it as ATI, as well as the USB stick pictured.

By Anh Huynh on 7/10/2007 12:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
AMD is the parent company, ATI TV Wonder would be the product name. Its a whole mess of things, but AMD said the ATI name would still be used. However, the ATI sign in front of ATI HQ in Canada was taken down a day after the merger ;) So until ATI is recognized as a separate company, I will continue to use AMD as the company name.

By joey2264 on 7/9/2007 7:27:01 PM , Rating: 1
I was so hoping with this announcement that AMD had managed to squeeze a Mpeg2 hardware encoder into the usb tuner stick form factor. I'm sure they would have mentioned it if they had. Why can't somebody do this??!!

By paulpod on 7/9/2007 8:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
Standard def TV is about 120 Mb/s, uncompressed. USB is plenty capable of this. I can capture video from a USB Wonder 2.0 in VirtualDub using the Lagarinth codec without dropping a frame.

This produces a completely lossless capture and there are times when it is very logical to do this. Like aquisition of Hi8 family camcorder footage. That capture can then be encoded by an ultra-high quality SW encoder in 4:2:2 format.

By jay401 on 7/9/2007 10:17:51 PM , Rating: 4
dang paul, I think you just blinded him with science.

By CCRATA on 7/10/2007 12:34:45 AM , Rating: 1
only 120 Mb/s? 640x240x60x32 ~ 210 MB/s. Even if you send the bitmaps at a lower rate you also have to account for the fact that encoding is 2 way, to the chip and back to the computer. on top of that there is power concerns unless you want a power brick with that usb adapter. Also the USB bus is shared between all your usb components. Add on a USB nic/wireless adapter or an external HD and your bandwidth is gone.

By glynor on 7/10/2007 9:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
I have no idea where you came up with those numbers, but they aren't based on any real video standard... NTSC-M Video frame size is 720x525. Of this, the viewable frame size is 720x486 (the other lines are used for sync and other data). The standard NTSC frame rate is 60i, which is approximately 59.94 fps interlaced (or 29.97 progressive). This gives you these data rates for different color models:

8-bit, YUV 4:2:0 (DVD color model) - 125.85 Mbps (or 15.73 MB/s)
10-bit YUV 4:2:0 - 157.31 Mbps (19.66 MB/s)

8-bit, YUV 4:2:2 (Broadcast) - 167.79 Mbps (20.97 MB/s)
10-bit, YUV 4:2:2 - 209.74 Mbps (26.22 MB/s)

8 bit, YUV 4:4:4 - 251.69 Mbps (31.46 MB/s)
10-bit, YUV 4:4:4 - 314.61 Mbps (39.33 MB/s)
8-bit, RGB 4:4:4 (Computer) - 251.69 Mbps (31.46 MB/s)
10-bit, RGB 4:4:4 - 314.61 Mbps (39.33 MB/s)

However, since broadcast format is 4:2:2 at best (and most cable, satellite, and all DVDs use the lower-quality 4:2:0 standard), there is absolutely no reason to capture at 4:4:4, and no consumer level capture device would support it anyway. In fact, the VAST majority of these devices are limited to 4:2:0 (or lower, quite often they are 4:1:1 or 3:1:1) and can't even handle 4:2:2 natively.

You're somewhat right that at 4:4:4 USB certainly can't handle the data rate, but neither can SDI (you have to use dual-link SDI to handle 4:4:4 video). Again though, capturing anything you'd be able to put into your system using a consumer-level device at 4:4:4 is a huge waste of space and effort. You can't magically make 4:2:0 footage look better by upsampling the Chroma channels, not to mention the fact that human eyes are much better at perceiving differences in Luma than they are at Chroma (which is why 4:2:2 is used in the first place).

By paulpod on 7/9/2007 7:54:51 PM , Rating: 1
It would need to be far better hardware encoding than on the 550 chip. That encoding quality is horrible compared to SW encoding using the old MMC software. CPUs today are capable of MPEG2 encoding at very low utilization and the result is virtually lossless at the peak bitrate allowed by MMC.

Hardware encoders are dumbed down to a few generic quality settings, all very lossy.

But the worst thing about this new tuner generation is the switchover to a "10 ft" user interface. That makes no sense for a computer product. The waste of screen space and reduction in information that can be presented is tragic. (I'm sticking with MMC and Fusion HDTV for as long as I can keep my PCs running.)

By lumbergeek on 7/9/2007 10:30:18 PM , Rating: 3
Huh?? You must have a bad 550 card. The Saphire 550 I have has phenomenal encoding quality at MPEG-2 levels. beats the crap out of anything I've ever used before, including AIWs and TV Wonders with MMC.

Or maybe you need to spend some time tweaking it....

oooo!!! dream come true! finally
By xxsk8er101xx on 7/9/2007 11:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm definitely going to buy this card assuming performance is good and the card works with the software i use (beyond tv). I wonder if the card can do HD signals?

RE: oooo!!! dream come true! finally
By xxsk8er101xx on 7/9/2007 11:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
"The digital tuner on the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe can also tune into high-definition broadcasts from over-the-air and ClearQAM digital signals."

sweet - i suppose that answers my question

RE: oooo!!! dream come true! finally
By heffeque on 7/10/2007 7:45:58 AM , Rating: 2
The question for me now is... does it work with European's MPEG-4/h.264 over the air (DTT) HDTV broadcasts too?

RE: oooo!!! dream come true! finally
By heffeque on 7/11/2007 7:46:01 AM , Rating: 2
No one knows?

By Anh Huynh on 7/11/2007 4:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
Europe will most likely get a different model.

By Makaveli on 7/10/2007 8:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
I have the PCI version of this card, and using Beyond TV 4.4 works fine. Beyond tv is listed as supported software for this tuner.

Am I reading this right?
By iFX on 7/10/2007 8:37:32 AM , Rating: 3
We will not be able to watch digital cable on a PC with this card? Forgive me for not knowing much about TV tuners. I was under the impression you needed a "cable card" and some sort of external device to make this work.

RE: Am I reading this right?
By GreenEnvt on 7/10/2007 9:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
You will be able to get any unencrypted digital cable channels, but those are few and far between.
You might be able to get your local channels that are broadcast free over the air anyways, but any cable only channels are going to be encrypted.
For those, you need a cablecard system, which you can only buy as a whole PC, not just the tuner to add to your PC.

Vista/XP MCE also does not support QAM, so you'd have to use ATI's own software, or other compatible software to get those digital channels anyway.
MCE does support ATSC digital, which is commonly the over the air free HD stuff. I get a few channels on my Hauppauge 1600. Those are viewable in MCE but the guide is a little tricky (and buggy) to get working for those.

RE: Am I reading this right?
By Spivonious on 7/10/2007 10:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, in my area (Comcast, Lancaster PA) I recieve over 100 unencrypted digital channels. All the local networks' HD versions, all of the Music Choice channels, and a scattering of regular cable channels in a digital version. Imagine my surprise when my TV's QAM ATSC tuner picked these up!

It really depends on your cable provider, and what they're sending down the line unencrypted.

RE: Am I reading this right?
By omnicronx on 7/10/2007 9:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
It all depends, if you get digital cable through an external setup box than almost any tuner will work. If you bought a special cable card for your TV, then you will either have to buy a setup box or wait for Microsoft to add cable card support (yawn.. if they ever do).

When you buy MCE or remote, you usually get a usb receiver
(pic: )
this receiver comes with infrared ports, and you attach one from the usb receiver and stick it to your cable box right where the infrared receiver for the remote control is on the cable box (usually a red circle).

this way media center can change all your channels, and the mce remote can even copy any button on your cable box remote. the only downfall of this, is that you need 2 cable boxes to record 2 things at once.

All well and good
By mmp121 on 7/9/2007 7:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
But for how much?

RE: All well and good
By Haltech on 7/9/2007 8:32:00 PM , Rating: 2
lookin at the gold picture aint helpin :)

RE: All well and good
By Anh Huynh on 7/10/2007 11:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
$149 for the PCIe, $119 for the USB

RE: All well and good
By killerroach on 7/10/2007 12:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's actually pretty darn good... kinda makes me feel bad about buying a TV Wonder 650 off eBay two days ago, but I still saved money...

By Gul Westfale on 7/9/2007 10:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
finally there's something worthwhile to put into a 1x PCI-e slot! i hope the interface/performance is better than the old 7000-series based cars though.

By Frazzle on 7/9/2007 11:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Hauppauge already has a dual PCIe tuner out, the HVR-1800, that also supports Clear QAM (but only in their WinTV2K tuner app).

Out of curiosity
By skyyspam on 7/10/2007 5:22:48 AM , Rating: 2
Just out of curiosity, why does AT/DT refer to ATI as "AMD", even though all of ATI's products are still marketed and badged with the letters "ATI"?

Even though AMD did buy ATI, ATI still exists as "ATI", and the video cards still say "ATI".

Sorry, but it's been a long day, and these 2 cents have been burning a hole in my pocket.

RE: Out of curiosity
By TomZ on 7/10/2007 8:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
AMD is the company name (including the graphics division). ATI is the brand name.

DVB-S support ?
By Xajel on 7/10/2007 1:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
does it support DTV-S or not ??

and if not, wonder when will AMD makes one with 650 chip...

Welcome addition
By Ferdinator on 7/11/2007 12:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
I was disappointed with ATI's TV Wonder 650 because they used their Theater 311 demodulation chip instead of the QAM-capable 312 or 314 chips, so this is an exciting new development.

They're not alone, however, as there are at least two (that I know of) other HDTV PC tuners that combine NTSC analog, ATSC 8VSB over-the-air digital, and clear QAM cable digital. Macro Image makes the MDP-130 MyHD PCI HDTV Tuner/Decoder Card, which sells in the same price range as projected for the new ATI card. And then there's the nearly-clone tuner card from AverMedia, their AVerTV Combo PCIe, which is a PCI-Express x1 card with essentially the same features as ATI's new tuner, and sells for about $100 on AverMedia's online store, or $80 at Amazon.

So now there are three HDTV tuner cards with clear QAM capability (at least three) in the $100-150 price range, so the real test will be in how well each work and are supported by software. Let the reviews begin!

ATI & AMD - One big garbage heap
By clinnenb on 7/12/2007 3:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
Another announcement that ATI, now AMD, can't produce anything new. A dual digital-capable tuner card with software encoding. Wow, Hauppauge pulled that off years ago, and with working drivers and hardware encoding I might add. Someone at ATI please realize you need hardware encoding to be worth your price tag. As far as I'm concered, ATI tuner cards can join the rest of AMD's products as second rate and three years late.

By jconan on 7/10/2007 2:21:57 AM , Rating: 1
If HDradio and AM was supported this would definitely be one of the must have products but short sighted.

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