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PVR On A Budget

Test Setup

I used a home-made PC for testing. The PC mimicked SnapStream's recommended spec. Instead of using a TV tuner card, I used the ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon card. As you shall see, SnapStream's recommended system is barely enough for full usage of its product.

MotherboardMSI K7T266 Pro2-RU
CPUAMD Athlon XP 1500+
Memory256 MB KingMax PC2700 DDR SDRAM
GraphicsATI All-in-Wonder Radeon AGP
SoundCreative SoundBlaster Audigy MP3+
Display20" viewable CRT; 32 bit color; 1152x864; .21 mm dot pitch; 100 Hz refresh rate
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional

Note: SnapStream recommends using a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP 1.4 GHz and above.

In addition, I used a test machine I received from SnapStream. This PC was configured way above SnapStream's recommended spec. I tested this machine with two cards from Hauppauge!, a TV tuner card and a MPEG-2 encoder card. SnapStream does not support hardware MPEG-2 encoding in version 3.0, but I tested a beta version that was compatible with the PVR 250 card. The WinTV card has a retail price of $49 for the mono PCI version. The PVR 250 card has a MPEG-2 encoder chip, and comes with its own IR remote. Note that many cards are bundled with "digital VCR" software which you might want to compare with SnapStream's. This review does not cover other software.

MotherboardIntel D845PESV
CPUIntel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
Memory512 MB DDR 266 SDRAM
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce2 MX400
SoundSoundMAX Integrated Audio (AC '97)
Display20" viewable CRT; 32 bit color; 1152x864; .21 mm dot pitch; 100 Hz refresh rate
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1
TV tuner card Hauppauge! WinTVMPEG-2 encoder card Hauppauge! WinTV-PVR-250