RealMagic Dragon DVD - Part 2

2. Installation
After I unplugged my Encore card (I have the original Encore Dxr2, 2xDVD kit from Creative) from my system, I had the chance to compare the two cards side by side. You can easily tell that the Encore takes up a lot more real estate than the Dragon.

Installation was simple with Plug-and-Play ease. I think we have moved a long way from the initial Plug-n-Pray days of installation.

After removing the Encore, I plugged in the Dragon and connected up the cables (which as in the case of the Hollywood card) took up the most time in the installation.

These are the connectors on the Dragon (from top down):

  1. Analogue Output (to sound card line-in)
  2. SPDIF/AC3 Output (to AC3 decoder/amp)
  3. VGA Input (from VGA card)
  4. VGA Output (to monitor)
  5. S-VHS/composite video Output (to TV)

In addition to these I/O connectors, there are two MPC3 compliant connectors located on the card itself. One allows you to hook up the analogue CD-audio signal from the DVD-ROM drive and the second allows you to send an analogue signal (from either the DVD/VCD soundtrack or the CD audio) to your soundcard.

I used the cables supplied to hook up to the rest of the components. One thing to note: Some people have confused the VGA passthrough cable for a pass-back connection found on the Canopus Spectra 2500/WitchDoctor cards. It isn’t, even though it may look like the passthrough cable supplied with the Canopus cards. A pass-back connection implies that the monitor is connected directly to the VGA card (to minimise video degradation). In this case, the monitor still plugs into the Dragon card, and the VGA signal is still passed-through the DVD card.

On boot-up, Windows detected the new card and prompted me to supply the driver diskettes. I inserted the clearly labelled driver diskette and voila. Windows installed the drivers and booted up.

Next I installed the DVD playback program, which also allowed you to select the region code to be installed. As with all PC-DVD solutions, you can only change the region code 5 times before it becomes permanent.

This was one of my gripes when I reviewed the Hollywood decoder card: that you are stuck with the region code once you have used up your five chances. Since that review, I have noticed that there are now some third-party hacks which also allow you to bypass that limitation, as well as disabling Macrovision (which prevents you from recording the video image on a VCR). All you probably have to do is do a search for DVD-related sites on the Internet. Please don’t ask me for links.


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Special Thanks To Convergent Systems