Inventa PCI HDTV

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Inventa PCI HDTV

Pros

  • Excellent picture, good timeshifting

Cons

  • Difficult installation, scheduler hard to find, tuning requires effort

Bottom Line

It's cheap, yet it performs well.

Would you buy this?

This digital tuner from Inventa is very cheap, and should be considered a bargain. Our first impressions were mixed, as it took a fair bit of effort to install this card. In the box with the card you will find a program called MyTheatre, which needs to be registered with the distributor (Inventa) before it can be used in an unlimited capacity (it is time-limited to one hour without registration). During tuning, it took us a few tries before we could locate Nine Network broadcasts, and even when we did, we could not view them all the time. We could view all other channels properly and the picture quality of SD and HD channels was excellent.

MyTheatre has a well-sectioned interface with control functions and current channel information located at the bottom of the TV display and channels listed to the right. With MyTheatre, you can record programs either by manually hitting the record button, using the scheduler (which can also launch the program, if it's closed, at the nominated recording time) or you can timeshift a live program by pressing the pause button.

Timeshifting is enabled by default in MyTheatre, and is set to record data to a 10MB file in your system's RAM. While handy to have it always on, this file size is conservative. From the settings menu you can change this value and you can elect to have timeshifting use a file on your hard drive to store its data instead. You can make this file as big as you desire. If you want to continue using the RAM setting for timeshifting, be careful not to make the size too big as you may find yourself running out of RAM quickly and crashing your system.

All up, we like this card's price and we think its software is OK, even though its interface does have a few quirks, such as the scheduler being hidden away in the right-click menu instead of in the main settings area, which itself contains a mixed salad of functions. We also liked the documentation that ships with this card--it explains how to use all of the major functions of MyTheatre.

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