ATI All-In-Wonder X800 XL (256MB review:

ATI All-In-Wonder X800 XL (256MB

Once installed, we fired up ATI's Multimedia Center application to see how the card rendered our cable TV signal. Although picture quality was decent, we experienced noise, faint shadowing, and graininess on many channels. Scrolling text was fuzzy on most news channels. Channel changes, whether by remote or mouse, were quite fast for a TV tuner card, but there was an annoying staticlike sound with each change. On the plus side, recorded programs were virtually identical to the original signal in terms of image quality. Performance on our direct signal tests was much better. DVD play was smooth and stutter-free using the S-Video connection, and audio and video were synchronized.

If you want the cleanest picture, get the ATI TV Wonder Elite. It uses ATI's Theater 550 Pro video chip and, because it doesn't do 3D graphics, costs a lot less than an All-In-Wonder card. Unlike All-In-Wonder cards, it requires only a regular PCI slot; it works in tandem with your PC's existing graphics card.

Scanning for available FM radio stations is an agonizingly slow process with the ATI control center, and each time we tried to tune in to a known frequency, the scan restarted. The tuner could not lock on to a single station when hooked up to an internal antenna, but once we extended the antenna outdoors, it managed to find a few local stations. Unless your PC has access to an external antenna hookup, or you're lucky enough to have a window office, FM reception will be disappointing.

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