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October 9, 2015


ATI adds first HD card to the All-in-Wonder lineup

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 26th 2008 12:31PM
ATI All-in-Wonder-HDOnce upon a time, ATI's All-in-Wonder cards were the cream of the crop. The lineup combines a TV tuner with a graphics card. That means you don't need to buy two separate pieces of hardware to capture TV signals and to display those signals on a monitor. But while other hardware makers have been busy putting out HD tuner cards, ATI has been stuck in the dark ages of standard definition.

Now it looks like ATI is back in the game with the ATI All-in-Wonder HD. This PCI Express card has enough oomph to capture HD video and to play back HD video on your PC. It features DirectX 10.1 support, an MPEG2/VC-1/H2.64 decoder, and Vista and AMD Live! certification. It also packs a DVI port and HDMI jack.

On the TV tuner side of things, the AiW HD can handle SD, HD, and ClearQAM signals.The card should be available in July for $199.

[via Engadget]

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AVerMedia to make TV tuners for Mac

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 10th 2008 2:52PM
AVerMedia TV tuner for Mac
AVerMedia has been making TV tuner cards for Windows computers for ages, but the company has yet to release a product that's compatible with Mac software and hardware. Now TG Daily reports that the company is preparing to enter the Apple peripheral market.

The upcoming USB TV tuner will be compatible with the Apple iRemote and comes bundled with software for playing and recording programs. It will support analog and DVB-T standards.

There's no word on how much the AVerMedia tuner wll cost, but it should be available during Q3 of 2008. It's likely that the company will try to keep the price low, since AVerMedia is known for making low-cost TV tuners for computers running Windows.

[via Electronista]

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First look at the Hauppauge HD-PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 3rd 2008 10:55AM

A few days ago the Hauppauge HD-PVR started shipping, and now early adopters are starting to try plugging the HDTV digital video recorders into their computers and television sets. The HD-PVR captures high definition video from analog sources. That means you can plug in a component or composite cable from your cable, satellite, or other set top box and save videos to your PC in H.264 format.

Blogger Brent Evans got his HD-PVR yesterday and posted the unboxing video you can see above. He says setup was easy and that the latest beta version of SageTV recognizes the tuner. The software that comes with the HD-PVR lets you record programs, but it does not let you watch live television.

Evans says while his computer seems to have done a decent job of recording HD video, he can't get it to play the video smoothly. The HD-PVR also locked up twice during his initial test, and he had to reboot it by turning it off and on again.

You can find some more first person accounts at the GB-PVR forums. It looks like Brent Evans isn't the only one having some problems. Several GB-PVR user says they've been having problems with recordings failing or the device locking up altogether. In other words, if you've been waiting patiently to get an HD-PVR, it looks like you might want to wait a little longer.

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Hauppauge releases beta ClearQAM driver for TV tuners

by Brad Linder, posted May 16th 2008 5:25PM

Hauppauge ClearQAM drive

Hauppauge has released beta software that adds ClearQAM support to several of its HDTV television tuner cards. If you've got an HVR-1250, HVR-1600, HVR-1800, or HVR-2250, right now you can tune into analog NTSC broadcasts or over the air ATSC signals. But no matter how many times you plug in the cable that runs to your digital cable box, you're not going to pick anything up without the new beta driver.

Once the new drivers are installed on a Windows Vista computer (sorry, Windows XP and Mac OS X are not supported), you should be able to access Hauppauge's ClearQAM scanner in the programs section of Vista Media Center. Using this tool, you can find any unencrypted digital cable channels available in your area. Typically broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the CW don't encrypt their signals while premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime do.

[via Chris Lanier]

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Deal of the day: Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick for $40

by Brad Linder, posted May 16th 2008 10:24AM

Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro StickIf you're in the market for a cheap HDTV tuner, you might want to check out Woot today. The web retailer is offering the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick for $40, which is less than half its regular price.

This USB tuner plugs into your PC via a USB 2.0 port and lets you watch or record NTSC or ATSC broadcasts. That means you can plug in an analog or digital antenna, or connect an analog cable, vcr, dvd player, or other device. The tuner comes with a remote control, a portable antenna, and a USB extender cable.

It also comes with the Pinnacle MediaCenter software for PC. But by all reports this software stinks and you should probably find your own PVR software like Windows Media Center, BeyondTV, SageTV, Media Portal, or GB-PVR.

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EVGA launches inDtube USB HDTV tuner

by Brad Linder, posted May 1st 2008 1:56PM


EVGA, a company best known for its PC graphics cards, is joining the crowded field of companies producing USB TV tuners. The company's inDtube HDTV tuner (Get it? inDtube sounds like "in the tube." So clever. Wait, no.) looks like your basic TV tuner with support for ATSC and NTSC signals, and S-Video, RCA, and composite video.

The tuner also comes with a portable antenna, a remote control, and a USB extension cable, as well as an F-Connector to MCX adapter. There's also some basic PVR software if you don't already have an application for watching and recording TV programs. Without even knowing what software the inDTube ships with, I'm going to go ahead and recommend you find smething better like Media Portal, GBPVR, BeyondTV or SageTV.

The inDTube works with Windows XP, Windows XP MCE, and Windows Vista. No word on pricing or availability yet.

[via EngadgetHD]

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Sony PlayTV for the PS3 to launch in the UK this summer?

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 21st 2008 9:58AM
PlayTVEngadget is reporting that Sony plans to launch the PlayTV television tuner add-on for its Playstation3 gaming console on July 31st. But if you follow the link to the Amazon product page for the PlayTV, you'll find that the release date is listed as October 31st.

Either way, it seems pretty clear that UK PS3 users are going to be able to get their hands on the PlayTV before US customers. The devices is designed to work with the UK's digital television system and will not work with US cable, satellite, or over the air television yet. I'm pretty sure we'll see a US launch eventually, but not until afte the UK version is released.

Engadget says the PlayTV will set you back £59.99 or about $120 US whenever it becomes available in the UK.

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AVerTV Hybrid Volar Max: ClearQAM TV tuner in a USB stick

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 13th 2008 10:56AM
AverTV Hybrid Volar MaxAVerMedia is adding ClearQAM support to more of its HDTV TV tuners. In February, the company launched the Bravo Hybrid TV tuner, which is a PCIe card that can pick up ATSC, NTSC, and ClearQAM signals. Now AVerMedia is giving the same treatment to its USB stick style TV tuners with the AverTV Hybrid Volar Max.

The Volar Max, which was first announced at CES in January is now available for $80. The tuner supports unencrypted HDTV signals in both Windows Vista Media Center and Windows XP Media Center edition.

Users can download a utility from AVermedia that will let them scan for unencrypted ClearQAM channels. There's a chance you'll find a couple of encrypted channels during the scan, which you can manually remove from your program guide. For the most part, premium channels are encrypted while broadcast network channels are not.

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Hauppauge releases more specs for HD-PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 5th 2008 11:56AM
Hauppauge has added a page to their web site with detailed specifications for the upcoming HD-PVR, a new box that will be able to capture 1080i video from a component source. Hauppauge says the unit will be available May 1st, but despite earlier rumors that a pre-order page would go live soon, there's none to be seen yet.

Here are some other interesting tidbits:
  • Compresses video in real-time using the H.264 codec, with constant and variable bit-rates ranging from 1Mbps to 13.5Mbps
  • Format recordings so they can be burned to Blu-ray discs
  • Record at 1080i, 720p, or VGA resolutions
  • Comes with IR remote control and IR Blaster for changing the TV channels on your set top box
  • NTSC, PAL, and SECAM support
  • Requires a PC with a dual core CPU and at least 256MB of graphics memory for playback of high definition H.264 videos
Oh, and the HD-PVR has a model number now. It's officially the HD-PVR 1212.

[via Brent Evans Geek Tonic]

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Pinnacle updates its PCTV HD USB TV tuner line

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 5th 2008 10:01AM
Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro
Pinnacle is updating its line of PCTV HD sticks, with a new PCTV HD Stick and PCTV HD Pro. Both tuners can handle over the air HDTV or unencrypted ClearQAM cable signals. And they each support resolutions up to 1080i.

What sets the PCTV HD Pro apart from the stick is an FM tuner and a dongle that lets you capture video from other sources with the nifty, but awkward looking dongle you can see in the image above. Oh yeah, and the Pro version costs $100, while you can pick up a stick for $70. Both versions should be available early next week.

[via EngadgetHD}

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AVerTV Bravo Hybrid TV tuner does H.264

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 25th 2008 3:53PM
AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCI-E
AVerMedia has launched a new PCI-Express HDTV tuner that can handle your usual ATSC, ClearQAM and NTSC television signals. In other words, you use the AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCI-E to watch standard definition television or unencrypted HDTV signals from an antenna or cable box.

Like most other TV tuners in its class, the Bravo Hybrid can encode your high definition and standard def TV streams as MPEG-2 video files. But the card can also encode videos using the H.264 codec, allowing you to compress your videos to save space in real-time without the need for a blazing fast computer processor. Not only will your H.264 videos take up less space on your PC, but they'll also be iPod-compatible.

The AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCI-E is available now for about $80.

[via Electronista]

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TV tuners keep getting cheaper - Hauppauge intros PCIe card for $49

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 8th 2008 5:03PM
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250There's never been a better time to be in the market for a TV tuner card for your home theater PC. You know, unless you're looking for a high end tuner that will let you do something like record Digital Cable or Satellite TV signals directly on your PC. CableCard and satellite tuners are either expensive or not-yet existent.

But if you're looking for a PCI Express card that can handle standard NTSC and ATSC signals, Hauppauge has announced a new $49 TV tuner that should fit the bill. The WinTV-HVR-1250 can record standard analog TV or over the air HDTV. It can also handle ClearQAM, which is just a fancy word for unencrypted digital cable HDTV signals.

The TV tuner is certified for use with Windows Vista Media Center, but should also work with other PC-based PVR software. The WinTV-HVR-1250 should be available laster this month.

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Hauppauge announces USB TV tuner with ClearQAM support

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 8th 2008 9:27AM
WinTV-HVR-950QIt looks like Hauppauge is updating its WinTV-HVR-950 line of USB TV tuners by adding a Q to the end of the name. That's right, the all new WinTV-HVR-950Q does everything the older TV tuner does. Oh yeah, and it can also handle ClearQAM signals.

What that means, in a nutshell, is that you can use this little USB jobby to record over the air NTSC or HDTV signals, or you can plug your digital cable line into the tuner and record any unencrypted HDTV channels directly to your computer. Keep in mind, most cable providers scramble premium content, but you'll probably be able to pick up all of your local network affiliates in crystal clear high def with this TV tuner.

Oh yeah, you can also record standard definition programming by plugging in an analog cable (or bunny ears, if that's your kind of thing). The WinTV-HVR-950Q should be available later this month for $99.

[via Engadget]

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How to choose a TV tuner for your home theater PC

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 2nd 2008 9:59AM
HVR-1600Once upon a time turning your old PC into a homemade personal video recorder was a snap. All you had to do was buy a TV tuner card for about $100, plug in an analog TV cable, and use some free or commercial software to start recording shows. But the TV landscape is a bit more complicated these days, and if you have digital cable, HDTV, satellite TV, or other newfangled doohickeys hooked up to your TV, you might not even know where to begin.

Missing Remote has put together an excellent primer on choosing the right video source for your PVR. For example, if you want to record over-the-air HDTV using a digital antenna, you can use pretty much any modern TV tuner. But if you want to record the unencrypted HDTV signals your cable company sends out as well as standard definition digital cable channels, you're probably going to want something a bit more specialized, like Silcon Dust's HDHomeRun for the HDTV, and a second tuner with an S-Video port and an IR blaster to record and change the channels on your digital cable box.

Of course, there's a lot more to building a PVR than choosing the right TV tuner. You also need to choose the right software package, make sure you have enough hard drive space, and make sure your video card can support your display. But in end, your video quality is only going to be as good as your TV tuner.

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SageTV 6.3.1 beta adds some much-needed hardware support

by Brad Linder, posted Nov 9th 2007 2:57PM
SageTV 6
SageTV has released a new beta of its PVR/place-shifting software for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Windows Home Server. I'm pretty sure that list of supported systems makes SageTV the most cross-platform software based personal video recorder on the market today.

There are a bunch of tweaks and bug fixes in SageTV 6.3.1. But probably the most exciting bits include hardware support. While SageTV has been supporting Mac OS X since this summer, the Mac client only supported two Hauppauge TV tuner cards. The update adds support for the popular ElGato EyeTV Hybrid and Hauppauge HVR-950 tuners. There's also Mac support for the HDHomeRun networked HDTV tuner.

It looks like SageTV has also built in support for the company's upcoming STX-HD100 Media Extender, which will do for SageTV what other media center extenders do for Windows Media Center. In other words, you'll be able to put the box next to television sets throughout your house, connect them to the home network and access live and recorded TV and all the other content stored on your main media center PC.

[via Brent Evans]

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