ATI's HDTV Wonder - Bringing DTV to your PCby Andrew Ku on June 22, 2004 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
With HDTV slowing becoming the standard in broadcast television, every company making TV tuners have started to make the shift. Just drop by any Best Buy, Fry's, or Circuit City, and you can already see HDTVs becoming the predominant television stock. The US government is vying for a complete overhaul of broadcast television to DTV (not the same as HDTV) by May 2006, which means that there is some time before your regular boob tube becomes an extinct species.
The home theater PC (aka HTPC) has always been a niche market, and just recently in the past couple of years, it has started to make strides into the mainstream, mainly with Microsoft pioneering their Media Center Edition OS. Currently, the PC market is the fastest growing field for TV companies, but this has several implications. Since the traditional TV market for the entertainment room has been basically fully developed, it means that TV products made for the PC market are always going to be a bit behind the first.
This is the reason why HDTVs have come out in such force, while HDTV tuners for the PC have rarely been heard of. In fact, the only major company that we are aware of making an HDTV tuner for PCs is Hauppauge, but the WinTV-HD hasn't sold in the same volumes for Hauppauge as their analog WinTV tuners. Add in the vacuum of HDTV supported multimedia software (MCE, Beyond TV, SageTV, Multimedia Center, Forceware Multimedia, etc...), and you get a recipe for a PC market not ready to embrace HDTV technology.
This vacuum of HDTV for PCs is precisely the reason why we have been waiting for ATI's HDTV Wonder. Announced a while back (February 17, 2004), today ATI unleashes their doors and finally brings their HDTV tuner to market, bringing both hardware and software support for HDTV technology to the PC multimedia world.