ATi All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro

Review

posted 11/6/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Another first for the All-in-Wonder line is an FM tuner. For listening tunes, the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro allows you tune into you favorite local stations. But ATi didn’t just throw on a tuner and let you just listen to music. You can experience radio stations like TiVO owners experience TV. The latest Multimedia Center lets you timeshift live radio and record them in MP3 format. Yes, you can pause, rewind and fast forward live radio letting you listen to the radio on your own terms. Say you’re working and you’re listening to your favorite sports program. A meeting comes up that would normally cut into the program. Well now you can just pause it, attend the meeting, come back and continue right where you left off. Fast forward through any commercials and you’ll eventually catch up to live radio. Just like a TiVO, the MMC functionality puts radio listening in your hands and on your time frame. You can even schedule recordings for radio stations, just like setting a VCR to record a TV show at a certain time. Radio lovers rejoice! Some shortcomings of the feature are that you have to manually program the stations in. There’s not a way to retrieve a list of stations in your area and have the program automatically set them up yet. Also, MP3 format is the only format you can record for now, but if the other updates to MMC are any indication, there’ll probably be more formats later on down the road. You’ll also need to purchase an antenna as ATi does not include one in the box.



The software bundle comes with Pinnacle Studio again but game readers will be very happy to hear that a full version of Half-Life 2 is also included. Well, since the game isn’t released yet, you’ll see a flyer with a scratch off that reveals a key code. You can either get the game through Steam or send in some proof of purchase to ATi for a CD version of the game. Finally, Morrowind is laid to rest and the inclusion of one of the most anticipated games of the year makes this a very nice software bundle.

Multimedia Center 8.6 is included with some updates and support for the FM tuner. You can now record media to a burner. This update should please a lot of people who want to archive their recorded shows onto a DVD or CD media. I’d like to see some replacement or update to the Gemstar Guide+ program as it’s not very TV friendly. When I was using the card in my PVR setup, I found it hard to read the guide on a TV and there were no adjustments I could make to the display. It’s still free though, but I’ve used a few other PVR programs that offer a substantially nicer looking guide with more recording options. The file manager now gives you some greater control by protecting certain files from deletion. There are a lot of multimedia functions that the software is capable of and what’s nice about MMC is that it’s constantly being updated.

I was disappointed to find the new Remote Wonder II missing from the package. You do get the original Remote Wonder and there is a pamphlet in there for a free upgrade to Remote Wonder II. It’s still a good remote though and from the looks of it, there’s more labeling of the buttons. The original RF remote’s still a cool unit though and it was nice of ATi to give purchasers of the video card to get a free upgrade.
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