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Prolink Pixelview PlayTV Pro

Have you ever imagined the idea of being able to watch TV or listen to radio on your PC? Follow thy link as Jon Albiez takes a look at the Prolink Pixelview PlayTV Pro TV tuner card.

| Players & Accessories in HT & Movies | Posted: Nov 2, 2011 5:48 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Prolink Microsystems Corporation

Introduction

 

In all my years of reading hardware articles, I have only stumbled upon a handful of TV Tuner Card reviews. Quite literally, I could count them on one hand! So when my local supplier Compuworld placed these cards on their price list, I jumped at the opportunity to own one. I had considered purchasing a TV set for my bedroom, but decided not to when I discovered how expensive they were. Could this card be just what the doctor ordered? let's find out!

 

Stuff of Importance

 

- First Impressions

 

The PlayTV Pro comes in a similar box to the GeForce2 MX by Prolink. In the "Deluxe" version, you not only receive a TV Tuner, but an FM Tuner, audio patch lead, FM antenna, video capture capability, composite input cable and an infrared remote control. Here is a picture of the board:

 

 

The major feature of the board is the Philips TV/FM Tuner module. A Conexant Fusion (formerly Brooktree BT878) encoder chip is present that facilitates video capture. Both composite and S-Video inputs are provided. This card has the potential to turn the back of your PC into a rat's nest of cables, having no fewer than 6 external connectors. They are: FM Antenna, TV Antenna, infrared sensor, audio out, S-Video input and composite input. Other "All-in-one" cards such as the Voodoo3 3500 and ATi's All-in-Wonder series use a breakout box for all the cables - but this setup isn't too bad. An internal connector provides capability to connect a Philips web cam. The card can receive TV inputs both from a standard antenna or a cable TV subscription.

 

The infrared connector is something rather unusual. An infrared "eye" is connected via a 1-metre cable to a 3.5mm stereo connector at the other end. The eye has double-sided tape attached, so you can stick it anywhere. I chose to mount it on the front of my AOpen HX-45 case, and thread the cable through my machine and out the back. This setup worked rather well, as the infrared connector moves with the PC. The infrared connector is a nice talking point at LANs as well! Here is a picture of the remote control:

 

 

A driver CD containing drivers for several Prolink products was included, along with a copy of Cyberlink's web cam software. Although Prolink states that a web cam can be connected via the composite input, I still don't feel that this software has a purpose on a tuner card. Some basic video capture software would be nice, but with a price this low a small home level video-editing suite shouldn't cost too much.

 

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