Hauppauge Hybrid Video Recorders

New Hauppauge WinTV Products for Windows Vista – PVR Wire

I was looking at TV tuners for my husband’s computer the other day and thought “who needs TV on a computer?”

Shortly after that he sent me an email entitled “birthday” with a link to the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 TV Tuner USB Stick Hybrid Video Recorder. Must have been reading my mind. It was on sale and had a rebate. At $59.99 I couldn’t turn it down.

He doesn’t read this blog. I hope.

The WinTV-HVR-950 plugs into a USB2 port on your computer and receives over-the-air High Definition TV broadcasts. You can view in realtime with a fast enough computer, or record them in MPEG2 format so that you can burn them to DVD later. The 950 receives the American standards, that is, standard NTSC broadcasts or ASCT over-the-air high definition digital. There is also a version for the European market.

The WinTV-HVR-950 doesn’t require any batteries or recharging since it gets its power from the USB port. It comes boxed with WinTV-Scheduler software, a USB 2.0 extender cable and a small antenna that is good for nearby over-the air HDTV stations. If you live out in the hinterlands, Hauppauge suggests that you get a rooftop HDTV antenna.

WinTV-Scheduler is perfect software for people who don’t bother to read instructions and don’t want to do anything fancy. It installed in a couple of minutes, detected the WinTV-HVR-950 with no problem. With a single button-press the software scanned the airwaves and came up with a couple of local High Definition public television stations. Another button controlled tuning. And still another recorded the show for later. The scheduler function allows you to record your favorite shows when you aren’t at home. It can also receive analog cable, according to the literature. I didn’t try that.

And then I thought, “I wonder what that weird-@55 card slot in my laptop is?” There’s a slot on one side of the laptop where the PCMCIA port should be, and in the beginning there was nothing online about any weird-@55 card slots. Maybe if I’d read the Dell manual. Eh, who reads manuals?

It turns out that our laptops both have slots for something called ExpressCard/54. Nobody sold anything for the ExpressCard/54 until recently, unless you count a remote control for Windows Media Center that gets stored in the unused slot. (I have XP Professional, thanks.) If you pull the card slot’s dust cover halfway out, it makes a nice holder for your Red Bull. That’s about it.

Well, the wait will soon over. Hauppauge is coming out with the equivalent of their WinTV-HVR-950 for the ExpressCard/54. It called the “WinTV-HVR-1500.” It was supposed to be out in May.


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