The Leadtek TV2000XP Expert
is not your plain vanilla TV tuner. This is the good stuff. In addition
to bringing a TV signal into your computer monitor, it supports both recording of
live TV broadcasts onto hard disk, and timeshifting.
Timeshifting is that sought
after 'Tivo' application, the ability to simultaneously watch and record
live TV, so that you can pause the program you are watching, and resume
it from the recorded version seamlessly. Theoretically then, you could use
the TV2000XP Expert within a home-theatre style PC as a replacement for a TIVO
or other time-shifting electronic appliance. Very cool, but more on how the card
fares in this role later in the review.
recording options support a
variety of compression formats, MPEG-1, 2 and 4, uncompressed AVI and Windows
Media AVI. It also provides the ability to record video and audio directly onto
a DVD disk, providing an instantly viewable DVD recording!
features include Picture-in-Picture
(PIP) support, an electronic programming guide, adaptive scanning
to help pull in weaker broadcast signals, and Microsoft Netmeeting support.
The card is also an FM radio tuner, with a separate coaxial input and included wire antenna for just
this purpose. And also worth mentioning, is that the Leadtek TV2000XP
EXPERT carries a three-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Setup and TV on the Screen
the Leadtek TV2000XP Expert was rather easy. Like
any TV-tuner, the card requires a mass of separate drivers to function within
WindowsXP, as well as a couple of restarts, but all this was accomplished easily
and automatically by running the setup program on the driver CD Leadtek include with
the unit. Installing the Winfast PVR software was also very straightforward.
Configuring the Winfast PVR software is accomplished
from a couple of option windows. The first screen shown here, controls the
capture format used to record TV signals onto hard disk or DVD, and
From here, you
can choose which video compression method you wish to use, and change the location
where recorded video and snapshots are stored on the computer - given their large
size, I'd recommend designating one hard drive to this task exclusively. More complex
options for each capture format can be accessed by pressing the 'capture profile
From here you can set several
advanced options including the desired bit rate, and frames per second of the
recorded feed. The second Window, provides
picture adjustment options and a control for the quality of the timeshifting
The various viewing modes
(tuner, S-video in, etc.) are accessed using the button on the lower right of
the main console.
Winfast PVR software controls the Leadtek
TV2000XP Expert's operation in WindowsXP. Overall, I found the program fairly
easy to get to grips with, though the timeshifting function was initially a