ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card Review


[ad#review1008-top]Though I am one of your resident geeks, I must admit that beyond using my rig for my primary music listening source, I am a PC Multimedia moron, so bear with me. Using a PC for watching TV is totally new to me, and I will be learning as I am experimenting. Be forewarned that I probably will not explore all of the possibilities of this card, partially because I do not have a digital television antenna, and partially because I don’t want to spend a month figuring all of this out before publishing this review.

Though Asus includes installation information with the card, since you will be using either Cyberlink’s software, Windows Media Center, or other multimedia software, there is no other information. You are on your own from this point on, which is kind of a bummer.

The My Cinema EHD3-100 is bundled with Cyberlink’s TV Enhance, which is a complete multimedia software setup. It installed along with the EHD3-100’s drivers. It seemed to work ok, but I was unable to get programming information with it. I really wanted to use it rather than Windows Media Center, because so many readers are resistant to using Vista. I set up Windows Media Center, setup went smooth and all programming information showed up, so WMC it is!

Just to note, TV Enhance and Windows Media Center are set up very similarly.

I am not going to bore or confuse you with step by step setup. Connect a coaxial cable to one (or both) of the card’s connectors. Connect to the internet either by Ethernet cable or WiFi. You will be asked a series of questions such as your Zip Code, and confirmation of your Cable provider, and your channels will be scanned. This process is pretty slow, I guess it took five minutes or so to scan the channels alone, but keep in mind that this is a $110 buck tuner card and not a $1500 buck TV.

Next, launch Windows Media Center. (or Cyberlink TV Enhance) It will ask you if you have cable TV, then it will examine it. It will ask you for your provider, and your zip code. It will ask if you have a box for your TV or not. It will scan for channels, download programming information, and set your TV programming up.

ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card

If you have a digital antenna, it will also scan for channels there. Connect your digital antenna to the second coaxial connector on the EHD3-100.

ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card

Once your programming is set up, you are pretty much ready to go. Windows Media Center isn’t a complicated program, but it is very large with a huge amount of places to go, so navigation takes a while to get accustomed to.

There are two main buttons you will use on the remote, the “Windows” button, and the 4-way cursor button. Press the Windows button, and you will be taken to the main screen of WMC. (or Cyberlink TV Enhance) Since watching TV is the main reason for a TV tuner card, let’s do that. Cursor to the “TV + Movies” section, and click on “Live TV”. You will probably end up going to the lowest channel on your cable. Channel changing is accomplished by the up and down arrows found on the right side of the remote.

Channel and programming information are shown just as if you had a box.I don’t, so it is very nice.

ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card

Channel changing can also be accomplished by keying in the channel with the number pad. When you punch the numbers in, the new channel’s programming information is shown. Press enter to go there.

You can also select your channel from the guide. Press the Windows key to get back to the main screen, in the TV + Movies menu click on “Guide”. There is a separate guide just for movies. Cursor to the program you want and click Enter. My particular guide was programmed for the next 12 days.

To navigate the guide, using the cursor moves from one program to the other. Using the “fast forward” key moves you ahead two hours of programming at a time. Using the “skip” key moves ahead 12 hours.

ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card ASUS My Cinema EHD3-100 Dual Hybrid TV Card