Leadtek WinTV USB II

Review

posted 4/17/2004 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Driver installation was relatively painless and musical. Leadtek’s driver install program must be one of the most musically diverse ones out there as many of the default sounds has been replaced. Getting to the point of plugging the unit in through the USB port, drivers were installed and lastly, I installed the PVR and FM programs. All in all, I didn’t have any problems installing the software needed to run.

Even though the unit plugged in through the USB interface, the audio still traverse through the 1/8” plug. I would’ve liked to have everything go through the USB cable and not have to use the audio cable. I had some problems trying to keep the microphone on with Windows XP and my Dell Inspiron 5150. So, using the unit on the laptop was pretty frustrating because no sound would come out. Plugging the WinFast TV USB II to external speakers does alleviate the problem. For future iterations, I hope Leadtek looks at using the USB cable for all audio and video.

Quality of viewing and recordings isn’t too bad. While it’s not nearly the level of the Hauppauge PVR-250 card, which does hardware encoding, the WinFast TV USB II during Live TV is actually very comparable to the ATI All-in-Wonder series. I watched high motion video in a Cavs basketball game and other slower programs like sitcoms. The unit kept up with the basketball game pretty well while showing a few anomalies. On slower paced programs, the unit did just fine. Watching TV caused my Pentium 3.2 system with 512MB of ram to run at an average of 35% CPU usage. Turning on timeshifting jumped it up to 50-55%, which is pretty acceptable. It definitely won’t match the hardware encoding performance of CPU in the teens. Status lights on the front signified if I was just watching or recording so I could easily tell what I was doing on the unit.

Turing on timeshifting causes the picture to degrade a bit as you are now playing back a recording. Your machine is doing double the work at this stage. You can adjust the quality of the playback in timeshifting it seems by adjusting how well you want to record the video. The better quality, of course, the more hard drive space you need. Just make sure you have a pretty good processor so the recording doesn’t skip.

When in full screen mode, it seems the mouse pointer doesn’t seem to go away, which can be rather annoying. You have to move the pointer off screen. While a minor annoyance, it still should’ve been fixed from full screen mode. I know that a lot of BeyondTV users complained of this during a beta period of one of their builds.

The electronic program guide is supported by the Titan TV website. Clicking on the EPG button in the control panel will take you to the site. It’s free for you to use, but I would’ve liked to see a better integration into WinFast PVR. There is no on screen display of what’s playing and you have to open up Titan TV every time you want to see what’s on currently or another channel. You can schedule recordings through Titan TV though and that does help alleviate some of the pain of scheduling recordings. A tighter integration into the WinFast PVR program with an EPG would help the program immensely.

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