Since ATI uses the Microtune MT2050 for both All-In-Wonder X800 XT and TV-Wonder Elite cards, we compared them. The TV Wonder Elite is well known for reasonable tuner strength and excellent video quality, using the powerful Theater 550 chip. For realistic results, no special amplifiers, RF modulators, or external tuning devices were used to test tuner capability; standard analog cable service was connected directly to devices. All captured pictures are shown at full resolution, cropped where appropriate to reduce page size.
The AIW X800 XT (left) fails miserably in receiving weak channels. The TVWE (right) excels here.
We may have been right to view the I/O micro connector with suspicion when it comes to signal strength. Even with the same tuner model used in both cards, the All-In-Wonder X800 XT simply can't pick up marginal cable signals. Signals on a nearby television were similar to that of the TV Wonder Elite, but with slightly less color loss. Clearly, the All-In-Wonder X800 XT will require a cable booster to deal with minor reception problems, typically affecting only a few cable channels.
The problem extends equally to the FM feature. You'll likely need an amplified antenna far away from all sources of interference in order to pick up any radio stations - the included wire FM antenna was completely useless in our configuration.
Stronger channels show the TVWE (left) better filtered, and the AIW X800 XT (right) sharper.
Receiving stronger signals isn't a problem for either card. The TV Wonder Elite's cleaner image sacrifices just a bit of sharpness, likely a function of its built-in filters. It should be noted that a high quality cable booster may also help reduce noise.
Text is easily read from either card, again cleaner with the TVWE (top).
The All-In-Wonder X800 XT provides bright, legible scrolling text, with insignificant interlacing (scan lines) and minor speckling from signal noise. The cleaner image of the TV Wonder Elite is accompanied by a bit of color intensity loss. Again, a high quality cable booster may prove beneficial here.
Things get better with video inputs. We compared the original image from the source DVD to input images from a set top DVD player, Panasonic model DVD-RV31.
S-Video improves clarity for both the AIW X800 XT (left) and TVWE (right).
S-Video provides quality near that of the source DVD on both cards. Improvements using the TV Wonder Elite might be attributed to its stronger filters. Given the weaknesses of composite video, it's nice to see the All-In-Wonder card receiving a passable, though somewhat blurry, signal.