The All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro is the first ATI card to feature the Theater 200 chip. We discussed this chip on page three of our All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro preview and now it's time to see how the chip performs.
From our testing, we noticed very little difference in TV video quality going from the Rage Theater chip on the All-in-Wonder 8500DV to the Theater 200 on the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro. The fact of the matter is that cable TV transmission is far to noisey to benefit from the Theater 200's advanced features such as the 12-bit analog to digital converters. It did seem that the composite input side of the Theater 200 was better, likely thanks to the new comb filter. Other than that, however, the Theater 200 seemed on par with the previous All-in-Wonder solution of the Rage Theater 1 and the Micronas stereo decoder.
Another TV component on the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro that has changed a bit from the previous All-in-Wonder incarnation is the TV tuner itself. We mentioned in our preview that the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro returns to using an analog Philips TV tuner because of power and cost concerns. It seems that the transition back to the analog tuner has done nothing in terms of quality or usability of the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro: the image quality of the two tuners looked identical and station changes occurred just as fast on both.
Home theater enthusiasts probably remember that the All-in-Wonder 9700 makes use of the R300 core to provide component output with a simple cable dongle. We actually saw the component output driving an HDTV monitor when we were visiting ATI for our preview coverage and there the company promised us that the overscan issues we described in our initial coverage of the All-in-Wonder 8500DV were all but gone.
Judging from what we saw in the preview system, the component output feature does work properly; however, it seems that it does not work properly on every television. We tested the component output of the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro on our test HDTV (a Toshiba TheaterWide HD 65H80) and found that the system still had overscan issues. It could be limited to our individual HDTV model, and we do know that the YPrPb output does work in some systems, but at least on our set there still seems to be a minor issue to be worked out.