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Internal TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner

External TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner
CableCard ready for OEMs only

AMD today announced the worlds first CableCard compatible TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner. The AMD TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner is fully certified by CableLabs and compliant with the OCUR, or Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver standard. This product will only be available to OEMs, as Microsoft’s Windows Vista will only support CableCard tuners in pre-built systems.

While Microsoft has placed strict regulations on CableCard equipped systems, it will not hinder Media Center Extender capabilities. AMD claims:
With the new ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner, consumers can watch live or record high-definition broadcasts to preserve in a video library or stream to their Xbox 360™, if permitted by the content provider. Powered by AMD Avivo™ image technology, consumers get outstanding picture quality and smooth playback of their premium HD digital cable TV content on their media center PC, beyond basic cable channels, traditional analog TV and free over-the-air HD channels.
The TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner will tune into most broadcast sources including NTSC, ATSC over-the-air and QAM encrypted ATSC. AMD’s Theater 550 Pro decoder that is also found on AMD’s TV Wonder Elite delivers analog tuning capabilities. An AMD NXT2003 decoder takes care of ATSC tuning. While the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner will tune into regular cable broadcast and over-the-air antenna signals users are required to contact their cable company to obtain a CableCard for premium channels such as HBO.

AMD will provide three versions of the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner -- external, PCI and PCIe. All three models interface with the system via USB 2.0 though. External models connect using standard USB 2.0 interface and require power from its own power supply. PCI and PCIe models only use the physical slot for retention purposes and require power through a floppy-drive power connector. The internal interface is still USB 2.0 on PCI and PCIe models.

Expect the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner to be available in OEM systems when Windows Vista ships on January 30th, 2007.

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Crippled all around...
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/8/2007 12:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
I realize much of what I have to say has already been said above. But its only cablecard 1.0, and OEM ONLY. I'm pissed that the tuners of now cannot be used in vista computers, and I plan on not upgrading to vista until they allow tuners like my pci-e 550's to be put in. As impressed with the 550 as I am, it lacks realworld features. First of all, no one has been able to solve the delay in channel changing, and as fas as I know (I use MCE instead of bundled software), there is no way to view many channels at once to see if its an episode you've viewed already. Also- you'd think after years of the 550 being out, they'd have come up with something else. I think it is quite apparent that they just threw technologies they had, and others in half-development, into one card to get their name on one of those shiny stickers next to vista's on computers sold in CC, BB, and CUSA. They mention how analog is covered with the 550, i believe they were actively trying to add QAM to the 550, and there may have been work with cable card. But slapping it all together is not the best way to go.
Also- this thing is usb2.0 interfaced. I'm pretty sure the quality of external tuners has always been below that of internal- is it because of the interface? Also, with vista having this readyboost with usb flash drives and (correct me if i'm wrong) a usb bus sharing bandwidth- will this card get the whole 480mbps to itself?
And- if they must make it usb2.0, why not change the power connect. Floppy? I don't know too many PSU's rushing to place multiple floppy power connectors. If its sitting on the pci or pci-e, the least it can to is take the power that way, rather than simply use the slot for "retention perposes" aka- dead weight space.

RE: Crippled all around...
By sotti on 1/8/2007 12:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
ATI 550 works just fine in vista, every card that worked in MCE2005, provides exactly the same functionality in Vista.

As far as bandwidth is concerned DVD quality SD is 9mbps and HDTV is 19mbps, so USB 2.0 is complete overkill as far as bandwidth is concerned.

RE: Crippled all around...
By Motley on 1/8/2007 1:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously this thing was rushed to market. They should have made the PCI/PCIe versions just incorporate their own USB 2.0 hub on the card (requiring no USB connections from the card to a USB port), and grabbed the power from the slot. Early (cheap) external tuners did not have a built-in MPEG/MPEG2/MPEG4 encoder, and needed an insane amount of bandwidth to transfer the data (or much reduced quality). Bandwidth won't be an issue from cable companies because all the channels are pre-MPEG2'ed which drastically lowers the amount of bandwidth needed. The bandwidth needed varies from channel to channel from 9Mbps to I believe near 30Mbs, which is still well under the 480Mbs USB 2.0 can deliver.

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