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Hauppauge HVR 1600 HDTV


Spyvie
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I was loitering away my lunch hour at a Circuit City the other day when I happened upon a Hauppauge board I’d never seen before, the WinTV-HVR 1600. The box said dual ATSC digital/NTSC tuners and the price tag said ninety nine bucks. Knowing that I could easily return it if it sucked I bought one without reading any reviews or doing any homework at all.

 

I took it home and slapped it in my trusty nF3 rig, then loaded the drivers and software in XP Pro and plugged in a set of regular old Radio Shack rabbit ears I had laying around. I fired up the TV viewing app and after a couple of minutes watching it scan for signals it came to life…

 

Free HDTV on my PC!

 

Using just the un-amped rabbit ears sitting on top of my case I get 3 channels clearly, PBS, a local independent and Denver’s Fox affiliate. The picture, especially on the Fox channel, is crystal clear. I was surprised how good it looks and how watchable it is on my cheap Acer 19” widescreen.

 

The box says the board is made for Vista but the CD that came with it doesn’t say anything about the OS. I loaded the drivers in RC2 and went through the Vista Media Center set up but the wizard kept saying “no remote found” with the only option being “Cancel”. (The card came with a remote and an IR dongle/IR blaster but the docs say it’s not Media Center compliant) I went to the Hauppauge website but there was absolutely no mention of the HVR 1600 anywhere other than a page with a pic of the card and a list of the features. Then last night I checked the site again and the card was now listed on the support page with links to newer Vista drivers. I ran a utility to remove the old drivers first as I was told and loaded up the new ones then gave the wizard another try. Now the wizard completes without any remote step but when I try to watch live TV it says “no decoder found”. From what I understand from reading up on this brand new card you need a 3rd party MPEG decoder, which doesn’t make any sense because Vista will play DVDs by itself. I’m still looking into this and trying to figure out if I should buy the latest version of WinDVD or something, but the card has only been out for a week or so and no one knows much about it yet.

 

The Hauppauge TV viewing/recording app is pretty crappy so I downloaded a trail version of Beyond TV and installed it in XP. The functionality is pretty similar but the Beyond TV interface is much nicer, the only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s full screen only.

 

All in all I’m happy as heck with this thing, the NFC championship game looked fantastic despite the outcome, 24 was as good as I had hoped and I even watched a little of American Idol in widescreen digital splendidness. I’m in the market for a better antenna and hoping I can eventually receive more channels. I haven’t even tried the cable tuner yet.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm planning on buying the bundle from snapstream that comes with beyond TV and that same TV Tuner you're mentioning...but I'm scared as hell when I looked in the IR blaster's database and saw that my sattelite receiver is not listed as being compatible...I heard that you can create custom profiles and the software guides you on setting up one if your receiver is not listed in the database of the IR blaster...since you have the exact same config...can you tell me how this "custom" works or how do you get a box that is not listed in the database to work...if you can of course...

I'd appreciate any input you can give me on this

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I can vouch for the Snapstream BeyondTV/Hauppauge combo.

 

I've built several mediapc rigs using the Hauppauge hardware while running Snapstream BeyondTV.

 

I run BeyondTV on my own mediapc at home.

 

I know! I've read an awesome review on MaximumPC October's edition plus a friend of mine actually has it installed and showed me how it works...I since fell in love with the idea and want to build one of my own...but this incompatibility things scares me...if I invest all the money needed and the IR blaster doesn't work with my satellite setup I don't know what I will do...

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if I invest all the money needed and the IR blaster doesn't work with my satellite setup I don't know what I will do...

 

Use the support forum over at Snapstream to get your questions answered.

 

If users don't have the answer at least their tech support will be able to give you guidance.

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Use the support forum over at Snapstream to get your questions answered.

 

If users don't have the answer at least their tech support will be able to give you guidance.

 

So what you're saying is that the IR blaster component that comes with the libraries for the top boxes belongs to snapstream and not haupauge ?

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