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Dvico Fusion Dual HDTV DVB-T Tuner Review
This is a PCI card that I bought from The Glow Lounge to complete my Windows Media Center PC (which I’ll write a ‘how to’ about at a later date) to put in my living room to get over from my DVD player, VCR, cheap standard definition tuner and hi-fi. It costs around £105 which you might think is a bit expensive, but I’ll explain the reasons for my choice later.
What’s in the box?
PCI card x1
CD drive x1
MCE remote control x1
Infrared cable x1
Small form factor bracket x1
Analog input cable x1
Video Studio 8 x1
USB cable x1
Audio cable x1
Installation, as with most PCI cards, is a relatively painless process as long as you follow the instructions provided. One thing to consider when placing the card in your computer is that it can get quite hot, with that in mind I placed the card at the bottom of my system so it was away from the graphics card because I didn’t want the card graphics card and tuner to mutually exchange heat and potentially damage each other.
One thing I do, and it’s just my preference, is to ignore the driver CD that comes with any card like this and download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website for 2 reasons; 1) sometimes the card or whatever has been on the shelf for months and by that time the manufacturer has already released some updates. 2) when you download software from the manufacturer’s website you choose only the software you need as opposed to all the junk that usually comes installed with the driver CD, I’m talking about things like angry toolbars or adware that come with software that helps to slow down your computer. Like I said, this is just my preference.
This is by no means the cheapest DVBT (Digital Video Broadcast Terrestrial) tuner card out there, but I chose it because it had several features that I felt were essential to merit the transition from a standalone digital terrestrial tuner to a Windows Media-based TV. Center. The first requirement is that it had to be a dual tuner so that I could watch one program while recording another. The second requirement is that it must be an HD (High Definition) card, so that it will still work when HD TV starts broadcasting in the UK, and of course when I upgrade to a large HD TV or projector!
One thing that surprised me about this card is the quality of the remote that comes with it. Usually with things like this the remote control design seems to be an afterthought and is adequate at best, this is definitely not the case with the Dvico card. The remote is thick, well built and actually feels like a proper remote! I have to admit that I don’t use the remote that comes with the card, I use the remote that comes with the Logitech S510 Cordless Desktop simply because the scroll wheel on the remote makes it faster to navigate the menus. If I hadn’t already purchased this wireless desktop, then I would definitely be happy with what Dvico has to offer.
I briefly used the TV software that came with the card, but I didn’t find it as good or intuitive to use as Windows Media Center 2005, while I think in the absence of Windows Media Center, the supplied software would do the job. One thing I have yet to test is the analog capture functions of the card, but if the performance of the other features of the card is anything to go by, then I’m sure it will do exactly as it says on the tin!
I have been using this card with Windows Media Center 2005 for about 3 months now and I can say that this card has been working flawlessly.
Watch one channel while recording another
Watch DVB-T digital TV programs on your computer
Picture in Picture (PIP) & Multi-View Feature
Record TV programs to hard disk as DVD/MPEG2 format
Scheduled recording from Hibernation/Stand-by/PC-off mode
Pause and replay live TV shows (time shift function)
Analog to digital video recording and recording
High resolution still image recording
Compatible with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
Low CPU consumption with DxVA SW decoder
EPG (Electronic Program Guide)
Supports teletext and digital subtitles (except UK)
Low profile form factor for thin PC
Supports HD-to-DVD or Divx format conversion
Supports booting as PME
Supports logical channel number
Full function infrared remote control
I/O connections 1 x Antenna input
1 x USB port
1 x SVHS/ 1 x composite video input
1 x Internal Stereo Audio Port
1 x IR remote control port
Minimum system requirements Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows 2000
1 x USB2.0 port and 1 x PCI slot
DxVA based VGA cards
Pentium3 800 MHz (Radeon ATI Series)
Non-DxVA based VGA cards
Pentium4 1.6GHz with 128M memory
Cypress FX2 driver
Conexant CX2388x Driver
DViCO’s own tuner/BDA driver
DViCO Dual HDTV Decoder (full s/w mode and DxVA mode)
It’s not the cheapest digital TV tuner card on the market, but if you’re serious about building a decent home theater computer (HTPC) with lots of features, then this card is worth considering. The only thing that lets this card down is the bundled TV software, but if you’re planning on using Windows Media Center 2005 then you won’t have a problem.
I had a small problem with installing the infrared cable that came with this card, this is due to the fact that the rear slot openings on the case (thermaltake armor) are slightly smaller than usual, which would says that the installation of the infrared socket was rather complicated. Once installed, the infrared function worked perfectly.
johnsreviews rating: 9/10
For more reviews or technical help go to www.johnsreviews.com
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