New ATI TV Wonder tuner cards announced

— 11:35 AM on August 21, 2006

The TV tuner market got a little bigger today with the introduction of ATI's new TV Wonder 650 and TV Wonder 200 TV tuner cards. Starting at $129, the TV Wonder 650 includes a 125-channel TV tuner, FM radio tuner, and support for "free-to-air" HDTV programming. The included personal video recording software can record high-definition content to DivX, H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and Windows Media Video 9 formats. The TV Wonder 650's built-in Theater 650 chip also offers noise reduction, color control, edge enhancement, and 3D comb filtering to remove false colors and artifacts.

If $129 is a little too much for your taste, the cheaper TV Wonder 200 is priced at a more reasonable $59. Like its big brother, the TV Wonder 200 includes a 125-channel TV tuner and PVR software with support for DivX, H.264, MPEG-2/4, and WMV9 video formats. However, it doesn't appear to share the TV Wonder 650's "free-to-air" HDTV support, built-in FM tuner, and image processing capabilities.

Curiously, ATI makes only passing mention of hardware acceleration for its new tuners. It says the TV Wonder 650 is capable of hardware MPEG2 compression, but doesn't clarify whether that applies to both standard and high definition content. Hardware acceleration isn't listed for the TV Wonder 200, which presumably handles compression on the CPU.

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