Print 15 comment(s) - last by Sahrin.. on May 4 at 10:54 AM

The CableCard-ready TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner
ATI's newest TV tuner bug forces system manufacturers to delay Media Center PCs

AMD's newest CableCard endeavor may have hit a snag.  Systems manufactured with the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner have a bug that has halted shipments of the new PCs.

ATI engineers claim the bug is very minor. "The bug occurs when the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner attempts to sync signal on an all-digital tuner," said one AMD Taiwan engineer. 

The bug seems to affect those who have TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuners with specific all-digital providers.  With the current firmware, users will get a "no signal error" after inserting the CableCard.

"[We] will send out firmwares to fix the sync problem in the next week," added the engineer.  Firmware upgrades will be made available to any customers who already have tuners.  In the interim, ATI has stopped shipment on new batches of the tuners until it can ship cards with the newest updates.

"The firmware updates have essentially delayed our [system] shipments by two weeks," stated a North American system manufacturer.

Other system builders state that the bug can easily be fixed by rebooting the tuner. Velocity Micro, who unveiled the first CableCard-ready PCs in North America, declined to comment about the bug.

This is not the first time ATI has run into bug problems at launch.  A crippling error forced all TV Wonder 650 Tuners off store shelves until proper firmwares could fix QAM sync errors.  Today, however, the TV Wonder 650 is one of the most reliable and robust tuners on the market.

Update 04/05/07: AMD Multimedia product manager Shane Parfitt adds the following:
With one specific CableCard from Scientific Atlanta Networks, the digital cable signal is lost if the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner switches to analog reception and then back again.  It’s important to note that it's just this one card – the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner is compatible with all the other currently available cards, such as those from Motorola (which has over half the market) and even others from Scientific Atlanta Networks.  However, we’ve been able to find a work around for it in our hardware, through a firmware update, and we anticipate that this will be with our customers by the end of April.  The delay is mostly due to the certification process CableLabs requires for this change.

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RE: Imagine that!
By Cobra Commander on 4/5/2007 3:42:15 PM , Rating: -1
I get the impression from the various prior releases of horribly -supported tuner hardware. You don't smell that? 'It smell like a shit' because this mirrors the HDTV Tuner's launch where it had immediate problems (and still is not well-supported to date). In my book something will have had to change for ATI to be supporting this product properly, and I don't get the impression any changes have been made in that arena.

RE: Imagine that!
By mezrah on 4/5/2007 4:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
Still, that doesn't mean that this particular product, which hasn't even launched to the public yet, is poorly supported. That may be the case in the future, but as it stands right now, they are trying to fix the problems before it goes out to public. That = good support now. That may change.

RE: Imagine that!
By Cobra Commander on 4/5/2007 6:05:09 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed. They've simply lost my trust.

RE: Imagine that!
By alifbaa on 4/5/2007 6:52:52 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see why this would damage your trust in ATI. I'm not a fanboy or anything. I own both ATI and NVidia, Intel and AMD.

This is an entirely new product in an entirely new category of products, and it hasn't even been released yet. In fact, unlike many companies (Linksys, Netgear, and M$ come to my mind right away) they are refusing to release this product until it is more stable. Believe me, this is costing them some serious money. There are likely penalty clauses and lost advertising fees they are paying for not pushing this product out the door and relying on consumers to update the firmware -- an undoubtedly very simple process.
All but a very few companies would have shoved this out and claimed everything was working great then just put out a new file on the website. I think you should chill out, take a deep breathe, and understand that this is not as simple as getting your clock radio to work properly. This product will get a lot better in the next several months, and more competitors will enter the market and come up with even better stuff for us, undoubtedly screwing it up and allowing us to gripe about it.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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