Friday, August 19, 2011

Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner/Video Recorder Review

Reviewed by K.C. Kim

I was looking for a tuner that can view HD channels on my PC. Hauppauge is the leader in TV Tuners for the PC so that was the first place I looked. The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1950 was the model that I was looking at. I have tested 4 or 5 different TV tuners in the past but it's been a couple of years since I tested one. So here is my chance to check out Hauppauge’s offering and find out if much has change or not.

What I like about the Hauppauge WinTV is that I don't have to open up my computer. The Hauppauge tuner uses USB 2.0 to provide a connection to my PC. The tuner can view regular analog cable signals, as well as ATSC and Clear QAM. Clear QAM is a nice addition. Clear QAM channels are HD channels that your cable provider doesn't encrypt. With all this talk about over the ATSC HD channels, Clear QAM is sometimes overlooked.

Setup was rather easy by installing several programs as well at the driver off of the included CD-Rom drive. I was up and running in latterly minutes. The tuner comes with WinTV V7 to view channels on. There is a new version v7 1.2a on the website that should fix some problems with the older software. Here is a list of fixes

* This version now supports FM radio (on those products with built-in FM radio). Listen, pause and record FM radio. You can also use the WinTV v7 Scheduler to schedule a recording of your favorite FM radio program on a once only, daily or weekly basis.
* Analog recording options have been added, allowing Good/Better/Best/Fair video qualities.
* Scheduling options have been added to allow shutdown/standby/hibernate at recording completion.
* This version fixes some QAM channel detection problems found in earlier versions of WinTV v7.
* This version supports the TitanTV Electronic Program Guide in the U.S.
* Any existing version of WinTV v6 will be deleted after installing WinTV v7.

You can also choose to use Media Center instead to view channels. For me using WinTV with Windows XP worked fine. I search ClearQAM channels and got over 40 unencrypted channels which included my local channels in high definition. But keep in mind your area would be different than mine. Plus I still got my normal analog channels as well. If you don't have cable you can get a high-gain antenna (not included) and get over the air ATSC channels.

This tuner provides clear picture and performs the best I have seen on a USB 2.0 TV Tuner. It has all the functions to make this a perfect tuner for me. If you don't have room to fit a huge Plasma, LCD, or LED-Lit TV in your room, then watching TV on your PC is the next best thing.

The Hauppauge 1192 allows you to watch high definition channels over the air with an antenna, clear QAM channels, analog cable channels and listen to fm radio too. You can also record making this a DVR solution as well. The built in MPEG2 encoder offsets the workload off your computer to the tuner. The tuner provides the same experience that my big screen TV does. I can watch all the same high quality, high definition channels but also record content. The WinTV HVR-1950 is well worth the price and I would recommend it to anyone.

9.5 Out of 10

Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner/Video Recorder

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