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ATI announces PVR-friendly TV chip

Theater 650 Pro unveiled

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Computex 2006 ATI quietly announced the latest member of its Theater Pro TV chip family at Computex this week, pitching the part's PVR functionality and ability to tune into both digital and analogue TV signals anywhere in the world.

The Theater 650 Pro incorporates a 125-channel TV tuner connected to a 12-bit worldwide multi-format video decoder and a similarly global audio decoder. It supports the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) digital TV system used in the US, Canada, Mexico and South Korea plus DVB-T for Europe. It'll pick up FM radio too. Video signals are processed by the chip to enhance edges, reduce noise and compensate for motion.

To accelerate PC-based PVR apps, there's an on-board MPEG 2 encoder. The 650 will also record or convert files to MPEG 4, DivX, WMV9 and H.264, ATI said. With its twin tuners, the 650 will allow host machines to record and display two programmes simultaneously, with picture-in-picture support too.

The 650 has its own DRM engine in hardware and can operate as a PCI and PCI Express x1 bridge.

Products featuring Theater 650 Pro will be available by early summer from by leading PC manufacturers including Asus, MSI, Sapphire, VisionTek and Tul/PowerColor, the company that first hinted at the existence of the 650 Pro, back in February this year. ®

Complete Computex 2006 coverage at Reg Hardware

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