Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Dvico FusionHDTV DVB-T
- Dual Tuners, Easy set up, Excellent picture quality
- Can't toggle between tuners, Navigation a little cumbersome.
DViCO has provided an efficient internal dual-tuner solution, which will only take up one PCI slot, one USB port and which only requires one antenna input. We loved the fact that we could record or watch two programs simultaneously, but we do wish there was an easier way to toggle between tuners, and we also wish we could un-mute the second tuner while watching the main tuner. Nevertheless, we recommend this product highly if you’re after a neat dual-tuner solution.
Price$ 325.00 (AUD)
DViCO's FusionHDTV DVB-T Dual Digital is the first PCI adapter we have seen to have two digital TV tuners on it. These allow you to record one program while you watch another or to even record two programs simultaneously.
Dual-tuner display is initiated by the picture-in-picture (PIP) feature, which display's the second channel in a muted screen in the corner of the main screen. Toggling between the tuners is cumbersome, however, as it requires venturing into the right-click menu, and toggling while one tuner is recording is not possible. This makes it important to decide which channel you want to record and which one you want to watch, before you start recording. While recording a second channel, the PIP window has to be enabled (visible), otherwise the recording ends. This can be frustrating if you don't want the background recording to distract you from the main program you are watching.
To use this card your PC must have one free PCI slot and one free USB 2.0 port. The USB port is needed for the second tuner, which does not run off the PCI bus. Only one antenna connection is needed though, which makes for a fairly neat installation.
As for image quality, it was excellent. Standard-definition (SD) and High-definition (HD) pictures were clear and not overly saturated and CPU usage was not excessive with DirectX Video Acceleration (DxVA) enabled.
We ran the card on an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ system with 1GB of RAM and a Leadtek GeForce 5900 Ultra graphics adapter. Without PIP enabled, a single SD channel consumed around 10 per cent of the CPU, and an HD channel between 10-20 per cent. With PIP enabled, CPU usage with two SD channels was 15-30 per cent, and with two HD channels it was 40-50 per cent, while one SD and one HD channel consumed 35-45 per cent.
Both tuners found all the available terrestrial channels in the Sydney area and reception was very good while using an antenna and cabling that is well over 20 years old.
The card ships with FusionHDTV software, which features a neat episode guide. It allows you to simply click on a program name to either watch it or record it. Unfortunately, the EPG will only display now and next data by default, which is the most information Australian broadcasters currently provide. FusionHDTV's main panel allows quick access to PIP, timeshifting, input source (the card also has an S-Video port for analog capture) and the EPG, however, the recording scheduler needs to be enabled from the right-click menu.
Physically, the DVB-T Dual Digital is a half-height PCI card with a full-size mounting bracket. Conveniently, it does ship with a half-size mounting bracket, which can be attached if you need the card can fit into slim-line case.
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