ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro Previewby Matthew Witheiler on September 30, 2002 6:30 AM EST
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The AIW Concept
The utopian idea behind the All-in-Wonder video cards is to make the computer an integral piece of the home entertainment center. Obviously, the personal computer is playing a larger and larger role in entertainment. Computers which were at one time used almost exclusively in business environments are quickly taking on more and more tasks. The personal computer of today can play MP3s, display DVDs, play 3D games, and browse the internet while still having plenty of power to spare. The All-in-Wonder series cards seek to make the personal computer the ultimate entertainment machine by adding television functionality to a box once reserved for bits and bytes.
Initially, television was brought to the personal computer thanks to an add-on TV-tuner card. As TV-tuner and video card technology advanced, the idea of mating these two products into one became a distinct possibility. ATI started this trend with their All-in-Wonder cards which originally included a Rage II+ graphics chip and a TV-tuner on one card. Since then the concept has taken off and the notion of what an All-in-Wonder card should do has evolved.
Springing from the simple idea that watching television on your personal computer could be fun, All-in-Wonder cards now offer functionality far superior to that of a television alone. Today's All-in-Wonder products act as a digital VCR, TIVO, home video editing system, television, and high performance graphics card all in one. We have reported on TV-tuner video cards time and time again and each article we come to the same conclusion: that TV on a PC entertainment is exciting.
Apparently video card manufactures and ourselves are not the only ones who think that turning your PC into a personal video recorder is a good idea. Microsoft recently jumped on the TV-tuner bandwagon with their Windows XP Media Center Edition release announced at the Fall 2002 Intel Developer Forum. As we reported, Widows XP Media Center Edition makes watching television on a PC all the more enticing by including a very user friendly front end while still maintaining Windows XP Professional functionality.