ATI's Multimedia Center 8.8 - The Home Multimedia Serverby Andrew Ku on December 16, 2003 10:49 AM EST
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There has been a growing market into the home server field, which is the driving force behind Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and software titles such as SnapStream. The home server is unique in the sense that it is intended as a multimedia base for the entire home, where TV and media, in general, can be streamed from and hence the name. There are third party software titles on the market that can accomplish this, but at an additional cost, and they can raise compatibility concerns. The ideal platform would be from a one-stop solution provider for PC PVR functionality (hardware and software), which would bring along side the home server solution to share multimedia.
ATI has a unique position in the field because of the success of their All-in-Wonder line, a solution which has yet to be matched. Microsoft recognized this product line when they certified All-in-Wonder Encode, which ended up being the first software MPEG-2 encoder for the Windows Media Center Edition. ATI's ability to provide software support, namely in their Multimedia Center (MMC) suite, is more important than their hardware designs. As far as third party software solutions (i.e. InterVideo's WinDVR and Cyberlink's PowerVCR) go, nothing is more convenient and cost-effective than an all-in-one solution provider because it additionally guarantees support and compatibility.
ATI's Multimedia Center has come a very long way since the original All-in-Wonder cards and has gained more steam with features like MulTView, ThruView, EazyLook, etc. Multimedia Center 8.8 features EazyShare, a new feature that provides users the ability to share live or recorded TV from a single PC equipped with an All-in-Wonder card. Any PC on the network then can tap into the shared TV signal, but it must have a Radeon graphics card to do so. This transitions the All-in-Wonder from a personal video recorder into a public video recorder.