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February 23, 2008

Watching TV in Windows Vista with the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB

Windows Media Center makes it really easy to watch TV on Windows Vista (Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate) with a built in Guide that lets you browse TV shows and movies and schedule recordings of your favorite ones. Many PCs today come with TV functionality built in via TV cards. But not all Windows Vista PCs come equipped with TV capability. Unlike a few years ago – adding TV functionality to your PC is very easy. Let me share my experience in adding TV functionality to one of my PCs.

The ATI TV Wonder 600 USB

AMD brings TV capability to your PC through their ATI TV Wonder products. Some of their products are PC cards that must be installed inside the actual PC – and others are USB devices that can simply be plugged in to a USB port. I picked up AMD’s ATI TV Wonder 600 USB TV tuner – which is Certified for Windows Vista. This small USB device lets you plug in a coaxial cable for TV capability or use an antenna for free over-the-air television – including over-the-air HDTV.

The ATI TV Wonder 600 USB has the following features:

  • USB 2.0
  • Hybrid TV Tuner Stick for:
    • Over-the-air Digital TV / HDTV1 (ATSC)
    • Over-the-air / Cable Analog TV (NTSC)
  • Remote control
  • Telescopic antenna to receive free-to-air TV channels
  • Capture from VCRs, camcorders with the included audio/video input cable

I took some unboxing shots to share with you:

The ATI TV Wonder 600 USB Box

Opening the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB Box The ATI TV Wonder 600 USB USB connection for ATI TV Wonder 600
Remote for the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB

Setting up TV functionality in Windows Media Center is really easy. If you have not used Windows Media Center before, when you launch Windows Media Center for the first time it will take you through a series of steps to set everything up.


If you have used Windows Media Center before and already did Windows Media Center’s initial setup – to set up TV all you need to do is go to Settings and TV and click on “Set Up TV Signal”. Windows Media Center will take you through a series of screens with options to set up everything you need for watching TV.

Picking up the ATI TV Wonder 600 USB TV tuner allowed me to easily add TV functionality to my main desktop PC. I had TV functionality in a matter of just a few minutes. Since the ATI TV Wonder 600 is a USB device, I can pack the device up and take it with me and use it on my laptop as well.

Hauppauge also offers products for bringing TV onto your PC and Windows Media Center.

I plan to dive deeper in several upcoming posts in using Windows Media Center and TV functionality.