We have been waiting to take a look at NVIDIA's ForceWare Multimedia application since December of 2003, when we had our GeForce FX Personal Cinema Roundup. The biggest issue that we had back then was the lack of an in-house software solution from NVIDIA, since they turned to Intervideo's WinDVR, which, as a software solution, wasn't even designed to accompany the Personal Cinema cards in the first place.

WinDVR was a general PVR solution that could be used with almost any TV tuner card (yes, even ATI's stuff), and what NVIDIA needed was a software solution that was designed specifically to accompany Personal Cinema cards with the same amount of time invested developing the software as the hardware. The multimedia field takes both into account unlike the gamer/pure video card market. With video cards, ATI and NVIDIA both duke it out over pure performance; granted, there is still debate over the fairness of the performance, but that is the general gist of it. Multimedia cards still compete over the hardware in the sense of supported features and performance, but just importantly, the software must be able to back up the ability to interact with these features. One without the other makes for a basically worthless multimedia card.

This was our main frustration behind not having a NVIDIA software solution accompanying Personal Cinema cards. In our view, NVIDIA made a bad strategic choice by trying to compete with ATI in the "All-in-Wonder market" by rushing their product to market without having the software to back it up first. Granted, the software was suppose to come out much sooner (October of '03), but the fact that it didn't meant Personal Cinema users were left with a card that had (in our opinion) poor software support.

And what do you do when you have a bad experience with a product? You go for the competing product (ATI's All-in-Wonders), especially if the competing product has a relatively long history of happy customers. NVIDIA is vying that this is no longer going to be the case, since their Personal Cinema cards are going to come hand-in-hand with ForceWare Multimedia from now on.

ForceWare Multimedia - Hardware Requirements
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  • dan2304k - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    The aspect ratio problem is probably a problem with the player (WMP), not a problem with nvidia's software or recording. It appears to be recording in half-pel mode (352x480) resolution, which IS part of the DVD standard. If you were to create a DVD and put it in a properly made standalone DVD player, it would play back in the correct aspect ratio. A properly written software mpeg2 player should handle it properly too. Reply
  • glennpratt - Monday, July 12, 2004 - link

    Have you compared them to a decent standalone card? It's silly to buy a subpar vid card with a subpar tuner attached to it that isn't compatible with much software. It may cost a little upfront, but when you go to upgrade, having them seperate will save money. Reply
  • JTDC - Sunday, July 11, 2004 - link

    I am sorry that some users have had problems with the All in Wonder product line. My experience with the extended use of three of the ATI cards over the years has been largely positive. I look forward to continuing to use All in Wonder in the future. At the same time, I am open to seeing what Nvidia can offer. Reply
  • mcveigh - Sunday, July 11, 2004 - link

    screw the bells and whistles...all I want is the NVDVD3 decoder to use with zoom player and FFDSHOW! Reply
  • glennpratt - Sunday, July 11, 2004 - link

    All in wonder has a long history of happy customers? What world is this? AIW are an waste of money, there included software is crap and the drivers are unstable at best. Compare Media Center or Beyond TV + good standalone TV tuner with hardware MPEG encoding with AIW and you see what crap AIW's are.

    Not saying the nv cards are any better though.
    Reply

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