Leadtek WinFast TV2000 XP Expert TV-tuner Review
Over the years, TV-tuners for
computers have gone from providing basic (and arguably lousy) TV signal input on
a monitor, to having a variety of features and capabilities beyond simple TV
watching. Newer devices provide a wealth of standard features, such as letting
you capture TV input to hard disk as one compelling example.
While the primary purpose of a
TV-tuner is still to put that cable TV signal on your computer monitor, these
products are definitely moving towards the role of video appliances. That is to
say, they bring the video into the computer to be manipulated, or recorded,
before being output to a monitor or TV.
In this review, we're
testing one of Leadtek's
latest TV-tuner cards, the Winfast TV2000 XP Expert. This PCI card
has ambitions to replace your VCR, with video recording straight to DVD, timeshifting
and an assortment of other goodies made for a computerized home theater
setup. Does this all sound too good to be true? Let's take a close look at
the Leadtek TV2000 XP Expert, and find out.
XP Expert card itself is rather small, with two coaxial inputs for TV and radio
respectively, and an additional port for the included S-video and RCA combination
cable. The small plug on the end is for the Infra-read sensor that goes
along with the included remote control. The 41-key remote is simple to operate
and runs on two included AAA batteries.
in the bundle are an analog audio cable
for outputting sound directly from the TV2000XP to a soundcard, an FM wire antenna,
the aforementioned infrared sensor (with a decently long cable) and a short
cable with both S-Video and RCA inputs for bringing non-coaxial TV signals and
audio into the TV2000XP.
In terms of software, Leadtek have bundled in Winfast PVR TV viewing
software and three Ulead products. Ulead Videostudio 7 covers movie editing,
Ulead DVD Movie Factory does authoring, and Ulead Cool 3D can be used to add 3D
effects to home movies.
manual manages to be both sparse and cluttered at
the same time, this is where
the TV2000XP looses a few points. While the manual does cover the basic functions of
the program and the remote, it offers no insight into several areas which will
be important to users of the TV2000XP Expert. For example, there is no information
provided on the advantages and disadvantages of the various video capture formats
the card offers. Unless the user is well versed in computer video formats,
he or she will have to use trial and error to find out which video format
offers the best performance and file size.
Doesn't sound too difficult you say? Well there are more than 10 video formats to choose
This is a
very unfortunate omission. Worse, the manual does not explain at all how the
included 'Directburn' to DVD and VCD works, except to state that a DVD
or CD burner is required to use the feature. No mention of which DVD media
can or cannot be used, or whether rewritable media can be used. Suffice to say, we
were not impressed by the manual with the Leadtek TV2000XP Expert, and hope the company
makes efforts to improve the documentation with what is otherwise shapping up to be a fine
The separate multi-language quick
setup guide is not a whole lot of help either. While it does provide a hardware
and software installation walkthrough, the booklet covers several different
Leadtek TV tuner models, so it's rather difficult to locate the correct
diagram. For the record, it's 'TV 2000 XP series model 3.' :-)
Anyhow, what the manual lacks
the TV2000XP Expert makes up for in cool features. All that, next!