Software and Remote Wonder
To complement its video capture hardware, the All-in-Wonder comes with a video-centric software bundle.
Rather than including games you might never play or demos you can already download for free, the AIW's software bundle includes copies of Serious Magic Visual Communicator, Matchware Mediator 7, and Pinnacle Studio 9. That should be everything you need for basic video editing and DVD authoring. ATI also includes the latest version of its Multimedia Center software, which we'll get to in a moment. First, let's tackle the Remote Wonder II.
The All-in-Wonder X800 XT comes with the same Remote Wonder II that ATI included with the AIW 9600 XT, so it's hardly a new accessorynot that the Remote Wonder II needs updating. This RF remote doesn't require line of sight, so it's much more convenient than standard IR remotes. However, the RF antenna, which plugs directly into a USB port, is much bulkier than that of the original Remote Wonder. The larger antenna does improve range, but it's a little unsightly.
Mouse control is perhaps the Remote Wonder II's biggest improvement over the original. While the first Remote Wonder's mouse controls worked, they weren't particularly sensitive or accurate. The Remote Wonder II's mouse mushroom is much improved, allowing users to easily click and drag from the couch.
Cursor control is nice, but the Remote Wonder's real power is its programmability. Like the original, the Remote Wonder II features six programmable buttons in addition to its array of numeric and playback controls.
ATI's Remote Wonder software allows users to associate those programmable buttons with application launches, Windows functions, or even arbitrary key combos. While only six buttons are programmable in the driver, the function of the remote's other buttons can be modified by using different plugins.
The drivers ship with plugins for several popular applications, and others are available for download. ATI has also released a plugin SDK for those who want to roll their own.
By default, the Remote Wonder operates in "PC" mode, but users can assign different plugins to each of the remote's four AUX buttons. This allows users to quickly switch between plugins, which is great for home theater PC users who want to use one program for video playback, another for DVDs, a third for picture slide shows, and a fourth for MP3 playback.
ATI actually sells the Remote Wonder separately for $50, which makes it a pretty valuable addition to the All-in-Wonder X800 XT's bundle. PC remotes have become quite common recently, but we've yet to see one that even comes close to matching the Remote Wonder's programmable flexibility.
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