Compro videomate e700



Keywords: compro videomate e700
Description: Compro - VideoMate E700...The Compro VideoMate E700 TV tuner is the sort of hardware that ought to catch the eye of any...

The Compro VideoMate E700 TV tuner is the sort of hardware that ought to catch the eye of any discerning technophile. For starters it has dual DVB-T digital tuners, which put it ahead of lesser cards that typically have one analogue tuner and one digital tuner.

Then there’s the PCI Express x1 interface which means you can finally use one of those tiny expansion slots on your new motherboard. The PCI Express slot is a good deal shorter than the older PCI slot but it has far higher bandwidth and can accommodate two simultaneous HDTV signals.

Compro supplies a decent array of goodies in the box. There’s the TV card, which is a low profile design that comes with a regular bracket installed, as well as an optional low profile bracket that should interest anyone who is building a small form-factor Media Centre PC.

Compro also delivers an infra-red receiver for the remote control as well as the remote itself. Truth be told we prefer the Microsoft MCE remote as it is better than anything else we’ve seen on the market. There’s a significant gap in the box as you don’t get a mini indoor antenna. While this may look like an oversight, it causes us no concern as we can never get a TV tuner to work without a proper rooftop antenna.

In terms of software you get ComproDTV 3 on the CD but you can download ComproDTV 4 from the company’s Web site. This is the software you use to view, record and time-shift TV shows. Then there’s a driver that has also been updated, ComproDVD 2 for DVD playback, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 4SE for DVD creation and Ulead PhotoExplorer 8.5SE picture viewer.

This brings us to a central question with any TV tuner. Will you use the bundled software or will you use Windows Media Centre? This was a point of hot debate among Windows XP users as you had to make the switch to Media Centre Edition. It’s a completely different story with Windows Vista as MCE is built in so you’d have to go out of your way to use the Compro software instead of MCE. Truth be told Compro makes a decent stab at the software and it is quite useable but it isn’t as slick as Microsoft’s MCE.

Despite that, you would be well advised to use the Compro software because the E700 has an ace up its sleeve. The picture doesn’t show it too clearly but the tuner card carries a pair of small header connections. Connect the Power switch from the front of your PC case to the Compro E700 and then use the supplied patch cable on the second header to connect the Compro card to the power header on your motherboard, and you gain a neat feature.

Your TV tuner now has the ability to switch your PC on when it’s time for a particular TV show, and that’s from Off and not just from stand-by. The only fly in the ointment is that the software cannot handle the business of logging on if you use a password.




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