Lifeview FlyVideo 3000 TV Tuner Review

With all of the new chipsets for motherboards and brand new video cards coming out, it's kind of nice to get off the beaten path for a moment. Come join Cameron "Sov" Johnson as he takes a look at the Lifeview FlyVideo 3000 TV Tuner and see what can happen when you add a TV tuner to your favorite toy.
Published Sat, Mar 2 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Producer / Publisher: Lifeview

FlyVideo 3000 -

IntroductionFounded in 1990, Animation Technologies, Inc. is the industry leader in the development and manufacturing of multimedia video technology. The company develops, manufactures and markets five major product lines: Fly Video TV/Captures Series, PC Camera Series, USB video capture series, PC to TV Scan Converter, and Video Modem Series products for use in portable or desktop video, multimedia, imaging and other applications. Lifeview, while producing some very low end graphics cards tend to stick more with the digital video end of the consumer market with digital video capture cards, USB video capture and above all their award winning PCI TV Tuner cards, for which they are well known for.Thanks to Rectron Communications, today we have our hands on Lifeview's latest offering on the TV Tuner range, the FlyVideo 3000. The FlyVideo 3000 PC-TV board is designed to satisfy different user needs while offering basic functions such as TV reception, FM radio, stereo sound, video recording, and video capturing. FlyVideo 3000 is a single slot PCI card with a built-in 125-channel capable TV-tuner that automatically scans antenna or cable TV sources for channels. With the external audio/video inputs, you can also connect it to a DVD player, VCR, camcorder or video camera. Along with these already impressive features the 3000 comes with one extra feature, FM Radio receiver for you to play and record your favorite songs from FM radio.Now that we have a brief overview lets take a look at the specs of the card and package itself.

FlyVideo 3000 -

Specifications- ChipsetPhillips SAA7134HL- AudioNTCS MonoPAL Stereo 2 (amplified)- VideoS-Video InputComposite Input- PC Interface SettingsSupports up to 24-bit color at 1280 x 1024 dpi for desktop viewingDirectX supportPCI Motherboard Interface- Full Motion CaptureSizable capture up to 720x576 resolutionSupports 16, 24, or 32-bit colorCapture up to 30 fpsCaptures to AVI or MPEG1 file formats- Still Frame CaptureSizable capture up to 720 x 576 resolutionSupports 16, 24, or 32-bit colorSave to BMP file or Clipboard- External Interface75 ohm IEC coaxial input (cable TV)FM radio input (with included FM antenna)Composite (RCA) inputS-Video (SVHS) inputAudio input and line audio output2.5mm IR Receiver Jack- Package ContentsFly Video 3000 cardInstallation CD-ROMInstallation guideStereo audio mini-jackLoop-back FM cableRemote control and infra-red receiver2 AAA batteries for remote control

FlyVideo 3000 -

FeaturesThe Card
First off, we see the entire card is all its beauty. TV Tuner cards aren't really all that much to look at. Simple decoding chip for the TV, a few connectors for your externals and that's it, but for performance that isn't it. Lets have a look at the card in a bit more detail.Phillips onboard
Lifeview have elected to use the Phillips PCI TV decoder chip. This chip is used in quite a few high end hardware DVR cards and costs a little bit more than the BT or Conexant chips, but the trade-off is well worth it. The Phillips chip has a better reputation for excellent picture quality; we will soon see if that is the case.Remote possibilities
Included in the package are a remote control unit and IR Receiver. No special software is needed for the remote as it plugs directly into the TV Tuner via a special 2.5mm jack. The size of the jack has been reduced so you don't plug the IR Receiver into the sound port and the sound cable into the IR port; that could come up a bit of a bummer.FM Radio
The FlyVideo 3000 is most famous for adding its new High Definition satellite shielded FM radio. The connections and cables have been totally shielded for up to 1 meter so that the interference from the PC will not affect radio quality. This did help as I was able to receive every radio station in my area as clear as listening to it on a normal stereo.Audio
The one thing I found disappointing about the FlyVideo 3000 was that there was no internal audio outputs for direct internal connection to my SB Audigy. Normally, TV Tuners or DVD Decoders have direct access to the AUX or VIDEO audio connectors on the sound card; however, this baby uses a loop-back audio cable to connect the Stereo sound to the line in port on your soundcard (a bit of a problem if u have a 4-6 channel sound chip onboard and you have to use the line in as your rear speakers).The Backplane
Here you can see the entire backplane with all its connectors, rather well laid out. From Left to right we first have the RCA FM Antenna connector; next is the 70 ohm Coaxial TV antenna; after that we have the RCA video in; next S-Video in, Audio source in (for use with Video cameras or DVD/VHS recorders that use the AUX outputs). Then we have line out for connecting to the soundcard and finally the IR connector.BenchmarkingBenchmarking a TV Tuner card is almost if not impossible to show due to the fact that its 99% a visual thing rather than a numbers thing.
From the picture I have taken you can see the image displayed on my Windows XP desktop without any distortion or skipping frames. This was done while the system was doing network data traffic and ISP routing, all of which strain the PCI bus quite a bit. I was pleased to say that I experienced no problems whatsoever.

FlyVideo 3000 -

ConclusionFlyvideo have once again given us a great little add-on for the PC users/Home entertainment freaks. With super low CPU utilization and hardware encoding and decoding, this card is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of using. While a few niggles were present such as not including any onboard RAM for caching (comes in handy incase you have high speed RAID arrays) or the internal soundcard audio connectors, I can still say this card works better than my old one.- ProsHigh Quality ChipsetSupports over 1200 resolutionsLow Resources neededMPEG1 Video capture- ConsNo Internal Sound connectorNo RAM for cachingRating - 8.5/10

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