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Friday 25 October 2002

MPEG4 decoder card [lurks]

I found something cool today. DVD decoder cards are ace in PCs right? You get superb TV output and arse all CPU, no skipping nothing. I used one for awhile in my lounge server. The problem is, they don't play DivX. Until now. Sigma Designs has a dinky little PCI card out called the XCard. It plays MPEG4 which means DivX 4.02 and above.

Tom's Hardware has a review in which they state that it has no problems playing DivX5 content at around 10% CPU usage on a Duron 650. Neat eh? It also comes with a remote. A dongle plugs into your serial port and then you can treat your PC as a proper video playing appliance.

The XCard doesn't appear to be available from any UK shop but you can order it from their own online shop. With International shipping, the cost is $129 which comes out under £85. I think I might give one of these a twirl in my lounge server at some point. Unless one of you wants to buy it first to see if it sucks or not ;)


  1. I forgot to mention, it comes with a SCART cable so you get RGB out to your tele.

  2. £70 too, which is nice. Doesn't say if its's pci or not, presumably it will be. The hollywood magic was a bit dd wwith passthrough gaynesss, so I hope they've improved that.

  3. Sounds like a good thing, though I found that using the TV out from my geforce and using tvtool to expand the picture to overscan worked real great, and all in one as then the desktop is also output. RGB out for SCART is nice, but then do you need a separate output for the desktop or use a monitor in the lounge or will it passthrough the desktop. The old Hollywood magic card didn't passthrough.

  4. Looking at the card here (CLICK FOR PIC) I have a feeling those pins are an AGP lineup - so no good if it's going in a gaming box. We have a gateway/TV film playing box though, so maybe we'll get one for the house.

  5. I said the price. I also said it was PCI. It has a pass-through.

  6. Komplett has it for £72.28. Remote Selector supports the Xcard aswell.

  7. It uses a passthrough connector.. I refuse to belive that they've got rid of the inherent problem of 'ghosting'. If I had a dedictated box connected to my TV, it probably wouldn't bother me.. but for a box I use as a desktop computer as well, its not really acceptable. Happy to be proved wrong tho in this circumstance.

  8. It would degrade the passthrough signal, yes. The question is why would you use this. Just plug your monitor into your vid card and the MPEG decoder card into the tele. Fuck the pass through.