Pros Picture and reception are good
Cons Software is terrible - maybe worse than that
Summary Did I mention that the software REALLY stinks?
The only way anybody could rate this product above a 5 is if they've just not used a decent PC TV Tuner product before. I "graduated" from an ATI TV Wonder Rage 128, which had marvelous software - very user friendly and plenty of controls, and it worked.
The Catalyst Media Center that comes with this product is "user mean", and lacks any reasonable features - not even a previous channel button!
The control panel is accessed by moving your mouse over the image which gives you the control panel and a HUGE status bar that together cover the top and bottom of the image. Volume control is with plus/minus buttons (no slider) with adjustment so coarse that you go from can't hear to shouting. Channels are selected with up/down buttons or a channel selector list box that contains only 6 channels and has no scroll bar. To select a channel in the list box, you move your mouse past the top or bottom and immediately overshoot the channel you wanted, forcing you to repeat the process in the other direction. If you use the up/down buttons, an additional status bar covers up the botttom 1/3 of the screen.
Configuration is almost non-existent. You can't even assign names to the channels - all you have to go by is the numbers.
The software does include an Electronic Program guide - never has worked, and I've given up.
After the great software that came with the earlier TV Wonder, I assumed that the new product would be a great picture to go with great software. The picture is very good, but the software is great disappointment. ATI should be embarrassed.
I'd return the product, but that's such a pain, I'm living with it until other options are available (software or hardware).
Pros Works great with Media Center and Xbox 360, FM tuner
Cons Included software not very useful
Summary I had great expectations for this card, and those expectations were met once I started using Media Center. After I used Media Center's signal strength utility to find the best spot for my antenna, HD stations came in clearly and are easily watched on my HDTV via Xbox 360. I have not used the card's analog capabilities as of yet, but I'm looking forward to the results once I do.
ATI's software is not ready for prime-time. Auto-programming channels does not produce a usable list of available stations, and the program guide does not work. I'm hoping that these issues will be resolved in the future, but for now Media Center suits my needs just fine.
Pros Simple to setup
Cons Nothing so far
Summary I wasn't too sure given the mixed reviews on this card, but I bought one anyway. Man, it was simple to setup. It scanned in my local HD stations in just a few minutes and seems to be working great. Maybe I was lucky?
"favorable review"on by s5rf5ng
Pros Great for price
Cons 17" monitor is still not a 40" screen
Summary I live in S.F. about a mile from Twin Peaks broadcasting aerials. I inherited(literally) a one year old Dell work station ($3,000) from a music buff (he had a web page on music that got many replies from around the world). I am not very knowledgeable myself about this sort of stuff but this computer probably made things easy for me. With a little bit of anxiety I installed an ATI Wonder card 650 ($100 on sale at Best Buy). Works GREAT. Records (scheduled or push button) HDTV (no quality loss) or FM radio. They say you need an amplified aerial. I put on a connecting coax (have not gotten such aerial yet) put much of the coax in the window. During weather good for reception, I perfectly receive NBC, ABC, KQED(regular broadcast, ENCORE, and WORLD), KIDS and three in Chinese broadcasts. All HDTV. Can always receive ABC. I have a 17" monitor--not bad viewing for one person, but LCD is too directional for more viewers(of course a computer monitor is only designed for one person at a time). Hope eventually to get a bigger screen, but it looks like the screen may be the most expensive aspect of a regular HDTV, so running off a computer may not save much. Looks like 90% of the cost of an HDTV is a result of the screen.Updated
Re: kheim review
If you review latest comments, it looks like “all the talk about recalls” was a malicious hoax.Updated
The 650 works very badly on cable or OTA analog. I got it only for OTA digital, so no problem for me. It is very sensitive to different antenna options. I use a splitter and two antennas. A 30 ft. coax coiled up with a super simple loop off an old $20 TV actually works best on some channels--and I have a Radio Shack $70 amplified antenna. I now get about 17 digital OTA channels.
The 650 crashes about once a month and I have to delete and reinstal.
I have learned the difference between digital multi-casting and digital hi-def--even though the multicasts are often almost as good as the hi-def.
Also noticed good quality production, standard def broadcast received on a LCD can be very close in quality to hi-def.
Also if the original program is not made with very good quality cameras--high def is just a waste.
"ATI TV Wonder 650"on by ciblack
Pros Great HD picture using Microft Media Center
Cons Doesn't work real well with Catalyst Media Center
Summary The installation went smoothly but had problems getting the Catalyst Media Center to work properly. Tried Windows Media Center and it set up and worked beautifully including the program guide. The HD pictures and sound were awsome, about as good as my Den LCD HDTV. I only use the over the air channels using an outside antenna and display the HD video on my 19 inch pc monitor.