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ASUS My Cinema-U3100Mini HDTV Tuner E-mail
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Written by Mathew Thompson - Edited by Olin Coles   
Friday, 16 January 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS My Cinema-U3100Mini HDTV Tuner
Closer Look: ASUS My Cinema
My Cinema U3100Mini Details
Testing and Results
Testing and Results Part 2
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing & Results Part 2

The ArcSoft TotalMedia 3.5 software was used in testing the TV tuner. Setup with the U3100Mini and TotalMedia was fairly straight forward. The drivers came on a CD and were installed through a regular setup executable. The drivers are available on ASUS's website for XP, Vista 32-bit and 64-bit as well as Linux. TotalMedia was installed using a setup executable as well. Within TotalMedia, I'm presented with a full screen interface that is somewhat similar to Windows Media Center for Windows XP as well as the other media center applications. TV setup was also quite easy as it would scan for TV stations on its own, allowing you to choose which stations are selectable as well as previewing them.

Video quality was very nice in the software. TotalMedia allows for the user to record video at any time or they can create a recording schedule to record once, daily or weekly. Channel changing is available on the fly with previews shown in the bottom left hand corner. Television information is available either through the ATSC signal itself or through online sources. Switching audio or closed captioning sources was not particularly intuitive in the software.


The computer using the U3100mini needs to be powerful enough to play HD video. The U3100mini with the TotalMedia software performed just fine on the Core 2 Duo E8400 as well as the Athlon 64 X2 4200+ and Pentium Dual Core E2140 at HD resolutions. However, the Pentium M 1.5Ghz struggled with HD video. It would stutter and on 1080i sources, but seemed to play 720p sources somewhat competently. It played 480i and 480p sources just fine.


Video is recorded in an mpg container, typically containing mpeg-2 video and AC3 audio. The video appears to be intact with no transcoding (HD mpeg-2 video and AC3 audio would be very hardware intensive). Afterward, the video and audio can be converted to whichever format you want or watched as-is both through the TotalMedia software as well as through whichever media player you want.


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