Reader How Tos: Build a PC for TV

All Software Included

With the operating system loaded, various drivers had to be installed. All the SS51G drivers installed without any problems. The Radeon drivers, however, were a real challenge. Included in the Hercules package were the old pre-Catalyst drivers, and they did not work very well with XP. They installed, but I could not view any TV pictures in the TV applet. All I could see was an error message indicating that the WDM drivers were not correctly installed. The Hercules website had the new Catalyst 7.76 driver and an updated ATI Control Panel. I had to get the new WDM, Hydravision, Remote Wonder, DVD player and Multimedia Control Center from ATI.

After upgrading the new Catalyst and WDM drivers, I tried again, but no change. I had to uninstall the drivers completely and remove the oem?.inf files from the inf directory to get them working. Then I installed the MMC v 7.7, DVD player v 7.6, Hydravision, Control Panel and Remote wonder v1.2. (Be sure not to throw away the included application CD, as the DVD v7.6 installer requires it.)

When everything was installed, I was unable to launch the MMC Media Manager. This is the application that allows you to put all your media files into a unified database for easier access. Only the message "Failed to initialize the program" is displayed when it is started. This is obviously an 'installer error,' since it worked fine when I installed the v7.5 first, and then the v7.7 on top of it.

That settled, I went through the features. The Hercules Prophet AIW 7500 has included all you really need: TV-tuner; S-Video in/ out; Composite in/ out; SP/ DIF out; and CD Audio out. The ATI Multimedia Center plays TV, DVD, VCD, MP3, DivX, MPG, AVI, CDs and more. Ulead Video Studio 5.0 is bundled with the retail package, and has all the features most users need to edit video captured from the S-Video, Composite, TV-Tuner or 1394 ports. Several large download patches are available from Ulead, though, and include optimized support for the Pentium 4, an XP patch, and several feature additions. (Please note that I was unable to get video from the TV-tuner input while testing, even after applying all possible patches. All other inputs worked well.)

The Ulead Video Studio 5.0 has all the features you need for video editing.

The multimedia center is built around a core of functionality. Every player uses this core and adds its own special features according to what it plays. All players have schedule functionality, while the TV player, for example, is the only player with TV tuner functionality. All players can be started from an easily accessible toolbar.

All players are built around this default skin, though several other skins are included.

CD player settings. The CD player has these setting flips. Disc names can be downloaded or typed manually. Notice the scheduler - maybe you want to wake up at 0700 to Pink Floyd?