A Closer Look
The actual name of the card is “Asus My Cinema EHD3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/MCE RC”. From this point forward, for brevity’s sake, I will use a shortened version of this title. I will only be talking about this card, so do not confuse any abbreviations I may use with any of Asus’ other TV tuner cards.
The card itself has a small footprint, about the size of the smallest graphics card. Between the standard-sized and included half-sized PCI brackets, it should fit in pretty much any case, including microATX and the smallest HTPC.
Interface is via PCI-E x1. Most current motherboards have this capability, though using SLI or CrossFire with some motherboards will use or cover available PCI-E x1 slots, so just be aware.
The EHD3-100 has dual cable inputs, each with its own circuitry. There is also an S-Video and an audio port. The two cable inputs work independently of each other.
I normally don’t list hardware’s minimum requirements, since generally if you are at ThinkComputers.org, you probably have enough rig for the job, but maybe not if you have surfed across this review.
Minumum hardware requirements:
– Microsoft Windows Vista (Home Premium, Home Basic, Business, Ultimate, 32-bit/64-bit), Windows XP (Home, Professional)
– Available PCI Express slot
– Minimum CPU: 1.6GHz Atom or 2.2GHz Intel P4 or 1.8GHz Centrino or equivalent
– Minimum System Memory: Windows XP: 256MB, Windows Vista: 512MB
– Minimum Hard Drive Space: Windows XP: 1GB, Windows Vista: 15GB*
– Windows Media Player 9 or above
– DirectX-Compatible Audio Solution
– Internet Connection**
*The reason so much more hard drive space is required for installation with Vista is that the EHD3-100 will do tons more in Vista than in XP, such as working with Windows Media Center and the ability to watch TV in the Windows Sidebar.
**Internet connection is required for cable TV information such as channel names, programming information, etc.
Included with the My Cinema EHD3 is a USB IR unit for the card’s remote. There are two connectors in the unit for IR sensors which are also included. The sensors’ wires are quite long so you can spread them apart to keep from having to aim the remote at a particular spot. I found that the second sensor was not needed, the reception angle is very wide and the remote activated the PC from anywhere in the room.
As most, the remote has a lot of buttons which don’t make a lot of sense until you start using it.
The card comes with a low profile bracket for use in small footprint cases like mATX. The A/V connectors do not have a half-bracket. Since it is an input and not output, use of the A/V connectors really isn’t necessary unless you want to connect something externally like an XBox 360 and use your monitor for gameplay.
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 45nm
ASRock P45X3 Deluxe motherboard
Sparkle Calibre geForce 9800GTX+ video card
Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3-2000 Dual Channel 4GB kit
Thermaltake Toughpower Cable Management 850 watt power supply
CoolJag Falcon II CPU Cooler
Ikonik Zaria A10 midtower
Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
As far as the My Cinema card itself, power down your system, connect the A/V connector bracket’s cable to the card, insert the card into a PCI-E x 1 slot or the rearward end of a PCI-E x 16 slot, place the A/V connector in an open expansion slot, and that’s about it.