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Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro TV Tuner Review

Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro TV Tuner Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Powercolor's Theatre 550 Pro TV tuner is based on ATI's Theatre 550 Pro digital audio/video processing chipset.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Powercolor Mar 14 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro

Out of the box

Powercolor ship the Theatre 550 Pro with a good selection of software and accessories.

Included in the box is a Cyberlink computer remote control (with AAA batteries) along with a USB infrared receiver for it, an S-video/composite/audio breakout box, a flexible wire antenna and batteries for the remote control.

Software includes ATI drivers and their multimedia studio, Cyberlink's PowerCinema multimedia software (which can also be used to take advantage of the Theatre 550 chip's features) and full versions of Cyberlink's PowerDirector SE+, MediaShow SE, PowerDVD, PowerProducer DVD and Power2Go applications. These last are all bundled on a single DVD, so a DVD drive will be necessary to fully use this product.

The card itself is compact and quite attractive, with a purple PCB and gold hardware. The ATI logo is liberally printed all over the Theatre 550 Pro, making its reference model origins obvious.

The metal shield covering the tuning hardware is extremely small for a PCI TV-tuner card, and contributes to making it much lighter than any TV-tuner we've seen in recent memory. The Theatre 550 Pro chip requires no cooling, nor does the Samsung memory chip installed next to it.

A pair of coaxial inputs jut out of the card, one for CATV, the other functioning as an antennae/FM receiver input. A third connector links to the breakout box, for importing S-video and composite signals, as well as stereo sound.

The Cyberlink branded remote control is furnished in basic black, but is quite attractive and easy to hold. Sadly it uses too-soft rubber buttons which give it an imprecise feel common to many low-end remotes. It's powered by a pair of AAA batteries, two of which are included with the Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro package.

It should be noted that this is specifically a computer remote, and it will not function with your other A/V equipment, as it contains no programming abilities. Its functions are enabled by the drivers included with the Cyberlink PowerCinema 3 software.

This remote features just about every button imaginable, and we will go more in-depth on some of its functions later in this review.

Installing the card itself was as easy as any other PCI device. The drivers were also painless, requiring but a single reboot. The card identified itself as an 'ATI unified AVstream driver' in device manager.

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Contents of Article: Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro
 Pg 1.  Powercolor Theatre 550 Pro TV Tuner Review
 Pg 2.  — Out of the box
 Pg 3.  Cyberlink PowerCinema 3 software
 Pg 4.  Cyberlink TV Scheduler and Remote
 Pg 5.  Picture quality, video/audio Synchronization
 Pg 6.  Conclusions

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