Compro

Compro Technology has been in business since 1988 and has been providing interesting PC based graphics and multimedia products based on the latest technologies in both the OEM and Retail markets. Their retail products are marketed under the VideoMate name and can be found at leading e-tailors.


The VideoMate S350 is a digital satellite TV tuner card based upon DVB-S standards. The card utilizes the Phillips 9-bit ADC chip that provides full SDTV and up to 1080i HDTV digital TV watching, DiSEqC 1.2, Transport Stream, and MPEG-2 digital TV recording when utilizing free-to-air DVB-S TV signals. Compro has included their Picture Purifying Technology that improves both SDTV and HDTV reception on your PC. The S350 features Compro's Power Up Technology that can automatically boot up your system from the Windows Shut Down (ACPI S5), Stand by (ACPI S3), or Hibernation (ACPI S4) modes, record your favorite shows, and will then automatically shutdown your system when recording is completed.

The S350 comes with a 37-key remote control unit and is bundled with ComproDTV 2, ComproDVD 2, and Ulead PhotoExplorer 8.5 SE software. The S350 will support 3rd party satellite TV PVR software as well. The ComproDTV 2 software supports timeshifting, channel surfing, still frame capture, digital EPG, subtitle and Teletext, advanced picture in/out picture to watch live TV or playback video files at the same time, and support for up to four digital channel windows in PIP mode. The VideoMate S350 is also a video capture card that can capture analog video (NTSC/PAL) from S-Video or Composite sources and can record in MPEG-1/2/4 formats.

The latest release of the ComproDTV 2 software along with the updated driver means this card is now Vista 32-bit certified. The clarity of both SDTV and HDTV signals has been very good to excellent in our limited testing under Vista Ultimate 32-bit. However, while the technology works very well, you must have the required digital dish and LNB for capturing DVB-S signals. This limits the potential market for the card, but for those who have the right equipment and can receive DVB-S signals we can recommend the card for purchase.



The VideoMate H900 TV Tuner and capture card features a hardware MPEG-1/2 encoder, universal silicon TV tuner, NTSC 3D Y/C separation, TV Stereo/SAP selection, FM radio listening, and MP3/WMA/WAV recording all in a low-profile card design.

This unit also features Compro's Power Up Technology that can automatically boot up your system from the Windows Shut Down (ACPI S5), Stand by (ACPI S3), or Hibernation (ACPI S4) modes, record your favorite shows, and will then automatically shutdown your system when recording is completed. The included software package contains the ComproPVR 2 program, ComproDVD 2 playback utility, ComproFM 2, Ulead PhotoExplorer 8.5 SE, Ulead VideoStudio 9 SE, and Ulead DVD MovieFactory 4 SE. The unit also features a IR remote with TV, recording, playback, and FM tuner functions.

The VideoMate H900 utilizes the Conexant CX23418 video processing chipset that features a 10-bit analog Hardware MPEG-2 decoder with 3D adaptive comb filter. Audio is provided by a 16-bit ADC that allows sample rates of 32KHz / 44.1KHz / 48KHz. The board also contains 32MB of DDR memory for on-board buffering and caching of video material. The card allows for hardware compression of full D-1 TV shows or in VCD/SVCD/DVD formats. The card is also capable of hardware based time shifting that allows instant pause and replay of live TV. The card is also capable of MPEG-4 encoding via the included software package. Further technical details can be found on the Compro website.

We found the H900 offered very good performance during testing, although the picture quality was not as crisp as our AMD/ATI TV Wonder 550 or Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 cards. However, the differences in picture quality were not recognizable at all on screens less than 37". The included ComproPVR 2 software offered numerous options such as PIP/POP features that allowed us to watch live TV and recorded video files at the same time. We have not experienced any issues in Vista Ultimate 32-bit at this time and the card is now Vista Certified. Although the demand for analog TV tuners will be dwindling over the next couple of years, if you are in the market for a TV tuner card then we highly suggest you consider the Compro H900.

Final Remarks

We are still completing testing of these two cards along with the V600 unit under Vista, and we will provide a final image analysis update in the near future. In the meantime, we will provide performance updates shortly on our abit AB9 QuadGT and DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R motherboards armed with the latest BIOS releases that solve compatibility issues and improve performance.

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  • CorrND - Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - link

    Are you guys getting paid by Compro to review their products? I swear you provide more coverage for them than you do for much more popular products from Hauppauge. I'm not ragging on Compro -- I've used tuner products by Compro and think they're fine. I just wish you'd provide more belanced coverage. Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - link

    I prefer reviews on products and could care less about what it looks like to the neurotic among us. Keep up the good work guys and don't pay any attention to these clowns.

    On topic. It seems that the Compro DVB-S card would be an ass kicker if it could decrypt DirecTV signals or allow the use of the DirecTV cards. It would be nice to have an all-in-one HTPC with an internal DirecTV tuner card.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - link

    This is again a case of "we review what we're sent". Hauppauge unfortunately has not been very interested in sending us product to review, while Compro is more than happy to ship out review units. If Hauppauge shipped Gary some of their cards, I'm sure he'd be happy to look at them as well - and that goes for other TV tuner manufacturers.

    Part of the problem is that not a lot is happening with analog tuners, so most of the companies are content to rest on their laurels, at least in terms of hardware. I'm not sure when the last real update to any of Hauppauge's cards occurred, and ATI's Theater 650 is more than a year old (and really only an incremental improvement over the 550). There are still analog tuners that are pretty poor, but the top tuners can only do so much with a low quality analog signal.
    Reply
  • pirspilane - Friday, February 16, 2007 - link

    I found the review and comments educational. Please keep covering products that enable viewing and recording HDTV. Reply
  • CorrND - Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - link

    I agree -- it seems that analog tuning and A/D conversion has reached a plateau with quality that they're not likely to improve upon. Most people receive digital TV these days (of any flavor) and with the coming EOL for OTA analog TV, the last bastion of analog only has about 2 years left. Investing R&D in analog TV products is probably not the best business decision right now.

    However, there are lots of interesting things happening on the digital side. Perhaps a review of a dual digital tuner like Vbox Cat's Eye eDTA-164. Or how about a comparison of PCI-e digital tuners between that Vbox card and the DVICO Fusion HDTV5 Express? These products are only a couple of months old and these companies might be more willing to send review samples than Hauppauge.

    Of course, this is all just time filler waiting for CableCARD on PCs....
    Reply

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