Compro Australia VideoMate E650
- Good quality recordings, plenty of analogue inputs, FM reception, PCIe interface means you can finally put those tiny slots on your motherboard to good use
- The DTV 3 software interface is still buggy when it's in full screen mode, digital TV picture quality lacked vibrancy
Users who want to watch digital TV on their PC, as well as record from analogue devices, will be well served by this card. However, its software isn't perfect and picture quality was a little flat.
Price$ 95.70 (AUD)
Ever stayed up at night wondering how you can fill those tiny 1-lane PCI Express (PCIe) slots on your motherboard? Well, if you're after a digital TV tuner, you'll be in for a good night's rest tonight as Compro's E650 fits the bill. It's one of the few cards currently on the market to feature a PCIe interface and it has plenty of other desirable features, too.
It can display either analogue or digital (standard- and high-definition) TV signals, but not both at the same time, and it ships with an antenna that can pick up FM radio, too (and let you record it as an MP3 file). Pass-through pins on the E650's circuit board allow you to re-route the power button from your case to the card, and then use the card to power-up the motherboard, which comes in handy when you want the tuner card to wake up your PC to initiate a recording. Other hardware features include the ability to record from component-, S-Video- and composite-enabled devices, plus the card ships with full- and half-height-sized mounting brackets, so that it can be installed in a slimline, media centre-style PC case.
Compro supplies the DTV 3 software interface with this card, which like we've seen in previous models is still buggy. When the program is in full-screen mode, the mouse pointer will 'submarine' (disappear under menus), sometimes making it impossible to use the mouse to change settings; likewise, the control panel disappears too quickly from the screen, often before you've had a chance to perform your intended function. In order to make changes to the settings, it's best to have the main program in a windowed mode, rather than in full-screen mode.
The Compro remote control, which ships with the card, can be used to change channels, record and time-shift, play and navigate through files, as well as change the video source. Time-shifting is enabled by default (for 10min) and you can skip through a time-shifted program in 30-second jumps using the remote's rewind and forward buttons. The skip time can be customised in DTV 3's configuration page.
DTV 3 can record programs in MPEG II format (with customisable quality), and it does a great job. Shows recorded in DTV 3's default quality setting, from standard- and high-definition channels, played back smoothly in Windows Media Player and showcased very good quality. Additionally, DTV 3 can record an entire transport stream (that is, it will record all the standard-definition channels, as well as the high-definition channel of a particular station, and allow you to then flick through them at your leisure), which will come in handy once more stations start broadcasting different content on their standard- and high-definition channels.
As for its digital reception, the card found all Sydney stations very quickly and displayed them crisply, but colours were a little flat. Its analogue reception didn't improve on the poor reception we already get in our test location, but it worked. Its performance was swift on our dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo E6700-based machine with 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 7950 GT-based graphics card. High-definition channels consumed up to 19 per cent of the CPU, while standard-definition channels lurked at around 8 per cent (analogue stations did the same).
For anyone who wants the ability to watch TV, listen to the radio and use their PC to plug in analogue devices , the E650 is a great option. It produced good image quality and reception during our tests, and our recordings were clear and viewable in Windows Media Player. We wish its software interface was a little better, as it's still plagued by 'submarine' issues and some strange labelling. That's the only thing keeping us from giving it a higher rating.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Some Radeon RX Vega graphics cards will be faster than the Frontier Edition
- Nvidia quietly launches the GeForce GT 1030, a Radeon RX 550 rival with a modest price
- AMD's first Radeon Vega graphics card isn't for you, and gamers may be waiting a while
- AMD's Ryzen Mobile chips are ready for liftoff, with the new Ryzen Pro not far behind
- It's official: AMD's Threadripper will bring a 16-core, 32-thread monster to the desktop
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTBusiness Intelligence DeveloperSA
- CCScrum MasterNSW
- TPMS Access/SQL DBAQLD
- FTAccounts and Office AdministratorNSW
- TPSenior Developer Azure Power BINSW
- FTDatacentre Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Data EngineerVIC
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCPeopleSoft Functional AnalystVIC
- TPProject ManagerVIC
- FTLevel 3 Service Desk Support Engineer / Project ManagerQLD
- FTSecurity Dev Ops and Java DeveloperVIC
- FTUX ResearcherVIC
- FTTest Engineer | $92 p/hrVIC
- CCSAP ISU Functional ConsultantVIC
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- CCDevOps Engineer with strong Docker skills - Contract - North Shore SydneyNSW
- FTImplementation ConsultantNSW
- FTSolution Architect - SecurityVIC
- TPSenior Java Developer - Contract till June 2018QLD
- CCSenior Teradata Developer/Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTPerformance Management SMENSW