I have a question about TV cards.
I live in Canada, arrived a couple of years ago from the UK. Brought with me various things like UK VCR and many tapes which are PAL and don't work on NTSC TV's. In the UK, to avoid conflict over TV's I got my kids a Promise EZ-TV TVP3XP TV card so they could use it for doing playstation through their computer. This has been really useful in Canada as it lets me watch PAL-based videos on my TV via my computer which it does well. It has also been used for recording TV and it is the poor side of OK at this, sound is pretty dreadful with uneven speed at maximum record quality - gives a Wow-Wow-Wow as you watch the recording which is just about acceptable for speech but awful for music! The computer is an old Abit NF7-S motherboard (USB-2, SATA 1, no PCI Express) with a 3200 MHz AthlonXP CPU and 1GB of 400MHz memory, only 120GB Maxtor EIDE hard drive running WinXP Pro. To complete the story, I run the sound through my vintage stereo and it is great for internet surfing and listening to music off YouTube or watching DVD's etc... I copy recorded TV over the network to another PC with more hard-drive to stop the Maxtor getting full up.
So, I'm thinking of getting a new TV card for TV recording and also a larger hard-drive. I'm looking at the Diamond ATI TV Wonder HD 650 either in its PCI or USB presentations. The Diamond website doesn't specify a minimum CPU for the PCI version although it does state requirement for a minimum 3800 for the USB version. A review by Computer Shopper indicated that the USB version has a very low CPU overhead - seems like most processing handled in the TV card itself. I found a reference on Amazon to someone successfully using the PCI version with a Pentium 3400 - not far from my Athlon 3200.
I think it pretty likely the PCI version would be OK in my old PC, but I'd prefer the USB version. Does anyone have a view on whether the PCI version would be OK, and also why the USB version might require a more powerful CPU? Also, does anyone have a view on whether the old Promise EZ-TV TVP3XP card would get on with the ATI TV Wonder HD 650 in the same computer as I'm not sure the TV Wonder supports PAL (looks like it probably doesn't).
Sorry about the rather complex question!