Quantcast Anyone using a TV Wonder USB 2.0 Theater 200 ? - digitalFAQ Forum
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09-05-2017, 10:27 AM
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I found an old thread here:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/8054-ati-tv-wonder.html

That refers to a late 2004 device made by ATI using the Theater 200 video decoder chip.

It was called the [ ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0 ]

There are two reviews for the US and UK versions here:

US version
https://hothardware.com/reviews/ati-tv-wonder-usb-20

UK version
http://hexus.net/ce/reviews/audio-visual/891-atis-tv-wonder-usb-20

I have a good Windows XP based AIW VE based on the Theater 200 chip, so this isn't a critical issue for me, but its an interesting thing to explore.

But I am interested in this USB device because the use of USB has long term compatibility potential with the future.

The Windows USB driver design partitions kernel and user space parts enough, that even the old XP driver might work on Windows 7 or beyond. The new twists relate to driver signing, which can be self-signed without recompiling.

Also

Its interesting since USB communication is fairly easy to capture and playback.. so somebody might be able to document the Theater 200 in a way to make even more modern capture drivers available.

The year 2004 seems to have been the most constructive and advanced period of ATI's development work on the Theater 200 chip. It covers most of the time period spent on the 9000-9800 AIW products.

That a USB 2.0 variant appeared at the very end of 2004 using the same chip is frankly amazing.

The following year 2005 would see the introduction of the PCI express 1.0 products X600 and X800 and later the PCI express 2.0 product. In 2005 ATI seems to have taken a lot of time off, although they introduced new products (all based on the Theater 200 chip) they did not advanced the video decoder design. The 310 and 400 (if there were any ) designs never reached a consumer product.

Then in 2006 AMD would acquire them and they would go both with iVTV Connexant chips and MPEG2/4 full hardware PVR chips like the Theater 550 and Theater 650 before AMD effectively ended things for capture.

(p.s.) I would also mention that why I like the Theater 200 is its Digital to Analog converters are 12 bit not 10 bit or 8 bit. And the chip layout on the PC boards is easier to cool, especially this USB version, which removes the capture process from a potentially hot and electrically noisy environment. And it shortens cable lengths to the minimum from connector to Theater 200 chip inputs and the upload to the PC is across a separate digitial bit path. Plus the USB version has its own 6 volt power supply, so its not relying on the PC to provide power across the USB bus. The tuner is of no use these days, but the USB device also has S-Video as an input. Finally the 550 and 650 extra comb filters are all related to cleaning up the Tuner or Composite inputs, not the S-Video which does not use a comb filter anyway. -- The 550 or 650 might be interesting if you trust MPEG2/4 hardware encoding, but I've seem demonstrations where the hardware encoding can be flawed or sub optimal.. so the Huffyuv or simple capture of the Theater 200 are more than adequate.

I might mention that MPEG encoding in software (while) capturing would use more cpu cycles than simply capturing and then encoding. So less potential for frame drops to occur (which cause audio sync issues). Hardware encoding to MPEG2/4 makes sense if faced with a large number of tapes and the workflow time committment has to be low (audio sync issues should also not be possible). -- I don't know where I am on this decision. The kind people on this forum have said MPEG2 is adequate for editing out smalls clips like commercials and not planning on major post processing of the capture signal. -- I have also learned that indecision is often cleared up by "doing" and finding out what is acceptable to yourself, tempered by forum member comments about uploaded video capture samples.

Any corrections, discussion or opinions would be welcome.

Life is an education, in the art of Listening.

Last edited by jwillis84; 09-05-2017 at 11:14 AM.
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  #2  
09-05-2017, 01:00 PM
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Sorry, the referenced forum link was mangled by me.

The correct one is this:

ATI TV Wonder USB vs Radeon AIW?

Life is an education, in the art of Listening.
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09-05-2017, 06:21 PM
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I've not yet had any success in making this card work with multiple systems.
It's very, very buggy, to say the least!

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09-05-2017, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I've not yet had any success in making this card work with multiple systems.
It's very, very buggy, to say the least!
Thank you for the heads up.

I know your a very capable troubleshooter, and a professional a/v guy.

So it will be quite a nice puzzle

I found a used one fairly cheap and have it on the way.

That's my way of saying.. ooh.. looks even more interesting now, I love a puzzle.

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09-08-2017, 07:46 PM
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I received this today and have looked over the driver.

Both the driver on the CDROM and the driver available to download from AMD for legacy support.

They are one and the same.

There are three drivers; atitune, aticap, atiaudio

The inf file for installing them is in an old format that isn't recognized by Windows 7x64

The drivers are WDM and are referring to ks.sys kind of a good thing.

The drivers are 32 bit, so they should be installed to SysWow64

I really don't know if this is going to work, but I would guess at a minimum the INF file needs to be rewritten to install the 32 bit drivers and reg settings in a format for Win7x32 or Win7x64

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09-08-2017, 11:31 PM
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Gosh

Win7 no go, VMware of XP no go

XPSP3 kinda go.. on real hardware

I may have a bad box.

Drivers install, but blue screen on reboot if the box is plugged in, have to unplug from USB boot the system then plugin. The drivers as installed then appear in device manager shortly after plugging in.

Couldn't get MMC installed so used Windows Media Encoder 9, that does capture a signal, but the image is doubled and side by side.. so it looks like the video decoder is not working right. It does the same thing with S-Video or Composite.

It could be a firmware problem on the device itself.. Windows 7 kept interogating it and reported the device reported a failure.

Anyway, its a fun problem to think about

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09-08-2017, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
I may have a bad box.
Drivers install, but blue screen on reboot
Couldn't get MMC installed
looks like the video decoder is not working right.
It's not you, or your box.

I've tried this card on several XP systems known to work with other cards (ATI AIW, ATI 600, etc), and I ran into those issues, and some others.

- ATI Theatre chips are amazing quality
- ATI cards can go either way (really good, or really bad)

There's probably a reason that ATI never again tried Theatre chips in USB. It just does not work on that bus. The only cards worth having is still the ATI 600 USB, if not the PCI/AGP/PCIe AIW Radeons.

- If you like to fiddle, keep trying.
- If you're wanting to get a card, and get down to business (capturing video), then forget this one.

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09-10-2017, 03:43 PM
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I have a radeon based AIW VE (7500 based) with the Theater 200 chip. So I should be set when I get my ag-5710 back from re-cap/eval/maintenance it is on the way outbound now. I think it will probably take a month.

So I have time to read, and try things and fiddle.

I've hacked at a lot of USB device drivers since the mid 1990's its basically a hobby, sometimes leads to things.. but even if it doesn't I learn things.

DirectX Video Capture got my attention last year and I spent time buried in that.

This is a nice intersection of interests for me.

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09-10-2017, 09:50 PM
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Well, drivers install under Windows 7 x86 and reliably come up and present a solid green raster.

But I keep getting a sense the hardware in this particular box is damaged, it seems to rattle a bit and any shift of the cables sends one of the drivers into an error state.

VLC seems to have no problems seeing and access it but generates the same solid green raster as everything else I throw at it. Its like either its in test mode, or the crossbar just isn't working.

VirtualDub Capture 1.9 is lethargic and slow about accessing it, but same solid green raster.

This is lots better than on XP SP2 at least it isn't crashing the whole operating system.

The VideoProc settings are also all railed to zero and greyed out.. that's suspicous.. like maybe DirectX isn't properly installed. I installed DirectX 9.0c but I thought Windows 7 came with DirectX 10 or something.. I may have sabatoged myself.

Its late and I'll try fresh again another day.

The take away though was the drivers for Windows XP seem to install without a problem on Win7 x86 (32 bit edition) they load and indicate the hardware is detected. If I unplug and move it around, they are found again and load per normal.

I couldn't load MMC because there is some sort of Install Shield error 0x800 something that keeps coming up and it terminates before it finishes.

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