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MSI Digi VOX USB 2.0 - HDTV Broadcasting on your PC - Installation

MSI recently launched their Digi VOX USB 2.0 adapter which allows you to watch and listen to digital TV and radio broadcasting on your PC or notebook. Read on as we take a close look at the Digi VOX and just what it can add to your HTPC with its many fancy features which won't make a big dent on your bank account.

By: | Players & Accessories in HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 21, 2005 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.5%Manufacturer: MSI




Installation is simple and straight-forward - insert the included CD, plug the Digi VOX into a spare USB 2.0 port, plug in your antenna and then run the setup from the CD. The good thing about the Digi VOX is that no external power is needed - the USB port supplies all the power which is needed and it's a welcome relief not to have yet another power adapter lying around the place.


After a quick reboot, the device was working as it should with adequate signal strength (which can be monitored with the software) and after choosing a few options we were running a channel scan and then watching HDTV. Due to the bandwidth demanded by HDTV, you'll need to have a spare USB 2.0 port...USB 1.1 won't cut the cheese, so to speak. The included software is designed for Windows 2000 and XP (with support for Windows Media Center Edition) but we're not sure if the software will work on older versions of Windows - you should check into this with MSI before buying for an older or different OS.


In the past it's been a nightmare to setup other TV tuners from other companies - constant blue screens, system resource hogs and random crashes. Thankfully none of these were experienced with the MSI Digi VOX. In fact, as far as system resources go, we were very surprised since the Digi VOX is powered by the CPU (USB). On what we'd consider a mid-range computer these days (AMD Athlon XP 2100+ and 1GB of DDR-400 memory - nothing special), the software was only using around 20% of the CPU and around 40MB of memory after we setup the software to use real-time processing, which seemed to make things a little more responsive. We suspected when watching HDTV, it would make multi-tasking impossible but we were still able to surf websites and copy files while HDTV was playing in the background, without much interference.


As far as we can gather, even HDTV on set-top-boxes will lag sometimes during an intense scene. Only rarely did the MSI Digi VOX lag on our Shuttle XPC setup, which impressed us, as we thought it might struggle. The only real hassle we encounter was when you change channels, information is pulled from the TV station regarding screen resolution and audio quality etc, and this lags the picture for about a second each time you change the channel - which is kinda annoying but bearable. We tried disabling this information from showing but couldn't find any options to do so.



One issue worth mentioning - due to the height and width of the Digi VOX, if you want to plug the device directly into a USB port on your computer, you won't be able to use the port next to it or above (or below) it - as you can see in the image above.


This is a pain but there is a reason why MSI include the USB extension cable and that is to avoid this problem. When using the extension cable, you can place the Digi VOX wherever you please but we'd suggest on top of your PC with the device facing your way for much better range with the remote control. Again, this will only be worth considering if you're using the Digi VOX in your living room where you are sitting a decent distance away from the device.


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