Leadtek WinFast TV2000 XP Expert
Our usual hardware guru, John Yan, has been overburdened as of late so I volunteered to handle this review for him. This means that you won’t get as quite an in-depth review but let’s be honest here, who cares about non-sensical figures such as noise to decibel ratios and other such nonsense? In fact, one might say that I’m keepin’ it real for all of us “normies” out there.
Leadtek has been producing some rather stellar cards as of late but sadly I’m not talking about those beauties today. Instead I’ll be guiding you through the ups and downs of the WinFast TV 2000/XP Expert which has an excellent set of features that should be more than enough for both the hardcore and average consumer.
In my setup I have an Ati All-in-Wonder Radeon 9700 Pro so I know a thing or two when it comes to picture quality. I’m a huge audio/visual guy so I tend to notice minor nuances and problems with images that others might not see. Seeing as how the AIW retails for about $300 (in the $200s now if you’re smart) I couldn’t imagine a sub-$100 card being able to replicate the same image, and I was right. Leadtek’s card doesn’t provide as sharp or as smooth of an image as Ati’s card but it does offer up a rather stellar image.
John went over the majority of the software and the bundle in his review of the USB version of the card so I’ll refrain from treading over the same territory. Instead I’ll make a few comments that I noticed during my time with the products. The remote is pretty standard fare and doesn’t really do too much for me. Ati’s remote has a sleek look to it that doesn’t look too out of place in a modern day home theatre. Leadtek’s remote looks generic, kind of like something that you would expect to receive with a late 90s boom box. What is nice about it though is the ‘boss’ button which allows you to hide the viewing window when a superior is nearby.
Like the USB variant the card comes bundled with Ulead VideoStudio and Ulead DVD Movie Factory. These are for more of the niche owner who wants to burn and edit movies onto DVDs. I appreciated their inclusion as it provided me with a relatively intuitive means for removing commercials out of my Simpsons recordings.
For this review I tested out the unit with the TV antenna, a PS2 with the standard composite hookups and an Xbox with the standard composite and S-Video hookups. Since this is a TV card I’m assuming that most of the potential buyers will be looking into it as an alternative means for finding their TV fix. With that in mind we begin with the antenna first.
As you may have guessed hooking up the antenna to the card is rather simple. If you can hook it into the back of your TV then you can hook it into your card. Simply screw it into the back of the capture card and you’re in business. Leadtek bundles the card with its own software suite and it’s pretty competent at what it does. I had a few compatibility problems with between it and my ATI software. I had to completely uninstall Ati’s software suite before I could get Leadtek’s software to recognize the signal. It’s not too big of a deal though because the majority of people purchasing this card probably don’t have 9700s sitting in their systems.
Picture quality is decent but I had a few squiggly lines that could have been a result of my weak cable signal. I noticed that the pans and transitions on the video weren’t quite as smooth as I would have liked them to be. It wasn’t too annoying but it became problematic when I was trying to watch the NBA Playoffs. John mentioned that he didn’t have too many problems when viewing the Cavs game but then again this is the Cavs that we’re talking about here. Watching the Lakers became a difficult task, especially since I was watching during the span in which Kobe took over 100 shots in three games. Dramas and sitcoms such as Law & Order weren’t too much of a problem though due to their slow-paced nature.
Hooking up consoles or external DVD players is simple thanks to the adaptors that are included with the card. If you can hook up the systems to the back of your TV set you won’t have any problems hooking them up here. You have the choice of hooking them up via composite or S-Video connection for better clarity. Playing games with the PlayStation 2 could have been better but it definitely suffices for anyone who doesn’t have room to accommodate a larger-sized TV. Some of the images were blurry and I found the text on MLB 2005 a bit hard to read.
Things fared better when I plugged in the Xbox mainly because it runs at a higher resolution. Even on composite video I found the images to be cleaner and crisper than those of the PS2’s. S-Video input didn’t provide me with an amazing image but one that was definitely a viable substitute for a TV. I’d put the image quality below the AIW 9700 but it’s definitely good for the price.
The last feature on the card is the ability to listen to FM radio. It’s a pretty nifty feature but when you’re in a backwood’s area such as Southern Oregon it’s not a huge necessity. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ati’s decision to include it in its 9600 series of cards and I’m not a huge fan of it here either, mainly because it’s unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that Leadtek included it but I just don’t see the benefits of it.
As John also mentioned in his review I had a few stability issues. On a clean XP install I encountered more than my fair share of crashes. Most of the time the program would just crash while I was in the midst of viewing. I remember one time the program crashed and shut down my entire system without prompting me to do so. I also noticed some image corruption when I’d drag the viewing window around. I would have to maximize the window and then minimize it again in order to rid my screen of the corruption.
If you’re an average consumer then you might want to consider picking up Leadtek’s Winfast TV 2000/XP Expert. It provides you with a more than competent means for viewing video on your computer at a reasonable price. There are some design issues in here but nothing that can’t be remedied through further hardware updates.
It's an average TV card that has a few problems. Leadtek's WinFast TV2000 XP Expert offers FM and video that should be suitable to the average consumer.
Rating: 7 Average
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.
It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.
It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.
When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."
As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.
When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.
Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile