Please excuse my ignorance!! I was just reading an article in CPU magazine about this “ADS Tech Instant HDTV” add-on card and I got all pumped about it!!
What I would like to know is can I truly watch HDTV on my PC? I went to ADS Tech’s website and both my PC’s exceeds the min. stds. for usage!
I have two possible PC’s to use one has a Std. ATI 9600 Video card and the other has a ATI 9600XT AIW. My monitors are both CTR’s, a 17" currently 1024 x 768 @ 75 refresh and a 19" currently 1600 x 1200 @ 75 refresh, are they OK??
I understand that I won’t get full screen, but what I get will it be true HD quality??
Is this the best card of it’s type or is there a better one?
I went to the DivX website and downloaded some HD trailers which looked pretty good?? I’m just trying to justify spending $110 now or waiting until I can afford a real HDTV??
Thanks for your help!!
To help make the decision, this would be my answers, opinions and suggestions:
It is possible to watch HDTV on a suitable PC, however the picture quality and size will be mainly dependant on your monitor and potentially your graphics card also. For example, a 17" CRT which can display a resolution of 1280 x 1024 @ 60Hz will be sufficient for displaying 720p at its full native resolution, however for the viewer, they would have to be happy watching HD content on a 17" CRT display, since HD really benefits with the use of larger displays.
A display of 1024 x 768 will show roughly 60% the quality of a 720p HDTV picture or roughly 29% the quality of a 1080i HD broadcast. However, your 19" display will show the full quality of a 720p HDTV picture or up to 69% the quality of a 1080i HD broadcast, so obviously I would recommend going for the 19" display when it comes to terrestrial HD broadcasts as these generally use 1080i. I based my figures on some quick calculations and taking the 16:9 aspect ratio into account, so these figures may be inaccurate.
Even though you will not get a full screen image on a 4:3 display with a HD broadcast shown in full at its native aspect ratio, you can still get full quality if the display resolution is high enough to display the image as its native resolution and aspect ratio, however you will not be getting the full image size your monitor is capable of displaying. For example, your 19" display is fully capable of displaying a 720p HD image at its native resolution and aspect ratio, however assuming your 19" display has a 17" viewable area, you’ll only get roughly a 15.6" picture due to the black area shown above and below the image to keep the 16:9 aspect.
As there are no terrestrial HD broadcasts here in Ireland, I’m unable to provide any help with this as I have never seen a terrestrial HD card in operation, never mind use one.
You would be the best to decide on whether to go ahead with this (or any other) HDTV card, however you will need to first make sure that you can pick up HDTV broadcasts in your area.
If you are happy watching TV on a 19" CRT or plan on getting a larger PC monitor later on to use your PC as your main means of watching TV, then a HDTV card will likely be well worth the price. However, if you find it a hassle to keep booting your PC just to watch some TV or don’t find it comfortable watching TV on your PC due to location, seating, etc., then adding a HDTV card is unlikely going to change this.