Compro VideoMate TV Gold Plus
Hardware and Software Features
The “heart” of any TV tuner card is naturally the TV tuner itself. Its “brain” is the processor that decodes the video and audio signal received through the antenna cable into images that can be displayed on the PC monitor. The quality of the decoder chip is therefore an important factor for the visual quality of a TV tuner card. In case of Compro’s VideoMate, an additional FM Tuner is added. In this case, both components are from Phillips: the Philips SAA7133 chipset is the core processor handling the audio and video signals for TV reception, while the Philips FM1236 chipset is providing FM reception. The VideoMate PCB is slightly bigger than the Asus 880 TV Tuner card because it has to accommodate the additional FM Tuner and the connectors for the internal audio and power-up cables.
Watching, recording, and editing with a TV tuner card requires software. The bundled software is therefore an essential part of any TV tuner package and not just a give-away like bundled games for video cards. The VideoMate Gold Plus package includes in addition to the required drivers 4 CDs with the following applications:
“ComproPVR” is the software for TV watching and recording.
- Compro’s proprietary “PVR” and “FM” applications for TV and FM reception
- “Compo DVD” for DVD playback
- “Ulead VideoStudio 7” for video capturing and editing
- “Ulead DVD MovieFactory” for CD/DVD burning
“ComproFM” and Compro DVD are rather frugal applications. The first one provides FM program listening and recording capability. It allows to capture audio and encode it onto WAV, WMA or MP3 formats. ComproDVD provides DVD playback, still image capture and book-marking. With “Ulead DVD MovieFactory” the user can capture video directly from camcorder to DVD or CD, edit +RW and -RW DVDs, burn videos onto CDs or DVDs and play on TV or computers, and create CD labels and case covers. “Ulead VideoStudio 7” is a well-known video capturing and editing software. Both Ulead applications are stripped down “special editions” with less content than the full retail versions.
- Watching antenna and CATV programs on up to 125 channels
- Changing aspect ratio: from 4:3 (default) to 16:9 wide-screen or custom ratios
- Multi-channel preview mode with up to 16 channels in one window
- Still frame capture (snapshot)
- Channel surfing
- Auto scanning for available TV channels
- “Closed Caption” for display of overlaid text information
- Sleep mode for setting the time delay until ComproPVR automatically shuts itself off
- Parental control
- Video smoothing to reduce the “jaggies” on screen
- Picture purifier: remove video noise and ghost from both original signals and MPEG encoding processing.
- Scheduled recording even when the PC is shut down
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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