When the most expensive TV tuner cards can be found online for a reasonable $99 to $120, the need for a budget card may not be obvious. The $59 ATI TV Wonder 200 attempts to find a niche at the low end of the market, but with stripped-down specs and inferior hardware, all but the most casual users looking to add TV viewing and recording capabilities to their PC won't mind spending a little more to trade up.
The ATI TV Wonder 200 is a half-height PCI card that should fit into even small PC cases with ease. Connectivity is limited to a single coaxial input, plus an external connection block with composite, RCA audio, and S-Video connections. The card doesn't feature any sound-processing ability, forcing you to run a 1/8-inch audio cable (supplied) from an audio-out port on the ATI TV Wonder 200 to the line-in port on your PC or sound card.
The latest version of ATI's software, Catalyst Media Center, is cleanly designed and easy to navigate. While you can watch and record TV and access music and videos through it, there is no tab for photos, which keeps it from being a full substitute for Microsoft's Media Center Edition (MCE) OS. It does include a nice transcoding app that converts video files for use on, for example, a video iPod or the Sony PSP.