TURN YOUR PC INTO A HTPC
Feb 4, 2005 (Updated Oct 14, 2007)
Review by tipstir
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:MPEG2 Hardware Encoder, dbx-stereo sound, 45 button remote, audio and video record/playback quality
The Bottom Line: If you want the best recording and playback picture you won't be unhappy with the WinTV PVR-150
WINTV-PVR 150 (Hauppauge! WinTV-PVR 150 MPEG1/2 Hardware Encoder and Stereo dbx)
Recommend this product?
Review by Albert Ashton
I personally use WinTV-PVR 150 along with SAGETV Server/Client software and Media MVP 1000 another product from Hauppauge! This allows me to turn my home PC into HTPC(Home Theater Personal Computer) Network Media Center for TV viewing through my home workgroup network, capture recording off CATV and through external Super Video, Standard Video and Stereo Audio inputs for other audio and video sources.
My personal thoughts are, Hauppauge software is very basic but I found program called SAGETV that acts as server/client, web administration, LIVE TV recording, time shifting and more. The program was designed to use with all Hauppauge Capture hardware that features hardware encoder instead of software base one. Theres a huge difference between the two.
What you need on the PC
Free PCI slot, best to use the last one from your AGP or PCI Video Card
Video Card 32MB DDR or Higher
INTEL Pentium PIII 733 MHz or P4 2.0GHz (better performance) and AMD Processor rated at 2GHz
Stereo Sound Card
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000
512MB, I recommend going to 1GB of RAM (faster performance)
120, 160, 200, 250 or even 300GB HDD (hard drive)
Whats in the Box
WinTV-PVR-150 PCI bus Card with 125 channel cable-ready TV Tuner
Hardware MPEG-2 encoder, dbx-TV stereo sound
S-Video/composite plus audio inputs
IR Remote control receiver
IR Remote control transmitter cable to control satellite and cable set top boxes
WinTV2000 application for TV in a Windows
WinTV-Scheduler for scheduling your TV (uses Titan TV web site)
WinTV MPEG editor
Ulead DVD MovieFactory 3SE
What are the features
MPEG-2 hardware encoder
45 Button Remote
Dbx-stereo (playback and record)
125 Channel Cable Ready Tuner
External RF Coaxial Output
External - S-Video Input
External - Video Standard Input
Full feature remote works with WinTV-PVR 150 and Media MVP 1000 (you need to install the latest software drivers for this new remote to work) With the remote you can launch and shutdown WinTV 2000 TV Capture applications and run third-party PVR software like SAGETV and CTPVR. Access all TV functions, Recording and OSD (onscreen display menus) plus more.
Shutdown Windows XP or 2000
Turn off PC and unplug the power
Insert WinTV PVR-150 into the very last PCI slot you have that is away from the Video Card
Connect your cable coax cable (best to use R6 2300MHz (2.3GHz) for best results)
Once installed all you have to do install the capture drivers and WinTV applications.
To use the remote you have to click on Restart IR so that the information can be updated.
Configure cable TV channels have to be tuned in but WinTV2000 does a good job doing that
Now you ready to watch high quality TV from your PC
Begin using WinTV-PVR-150
To get the most out this capture card, you need to forgo the WinTV2000 software and download and use the SAGETV. Once you do youll never go back to anything else, why? Because the program functions like a DVR and Media Center. Gives you full access to all your music libraries no matter where you have them stored or on what HDD or PC. Video, Music, amd Movies, (requires a capture card that has this feature, PVR-150 doesnt have it).
SAGETV - www.sagetv.com
This software works best with Hauppauge hardware encoder cards like the WinTV-PVR 150. 150MCE, 250 350, 500MCE and USB2. Also works with the Media MVP 1000 also reviewed by myself here on Epinions last year. Once this program is installed you have access to TV Guide which works as a direct link to LIVE TV which you can also watch TV programs or record them on a schedule or do a quick record. The program allows you to be very flexible, you can watch a program on your PC and if you want to record it just press the record button your remote that came with your PVR 150.
One major feature of the SAGETV program is the way you can connect to your home TV from your PC using the Hauppauge Media MVP 1000 device which hooks up to your home TV and also hooks up to your home network system using 10/100 Ethernet CAT 5e cable.
What I found using the Media MVP 1000 with SAGETV and WinTV-PVR 150 is that I can watch TV on Media MVP 1000, I can also record TV, setup a time schedule, use the OSD GB-PVR TV Guide plug-in on my TV to access program like you do with most Program Guides you get from your local cable company like in my case Comcast.
SAGETV just released a version that allows you do access the TV Guide through a new feature called Live TV Guide while you watch TV. Comcast has that feature with their Digital Cable Box Program Guide. With this guide I can quickly set the PC which has the PVR-150 installed to record or schedule programs for later recording. GB-PVR gives you Recordings, Search Guide, TV Guide, Live TV Guide plug-ins that help you find what you need quickly to watch or record. The program can also work with third-party software called grider to hookup your Motorola DC 200 Digital Cable Box to access Comcast digital and ONDEMAND channels above 120 to record on a time shift.
What about the picture, by default the sharpness on this card is set to 3. This setting is alright for most but this a registry tweak or using a program called MS GraphEdt which is better to use to change the default from 3 to the max which is 7 for the best sharpness and detail ever as close to DVD HQ quality. Again this depends on how good your cable signal is and if you use my recommended R6 2.3GHz coax cable. If you have to split your cable signal use a good quality cable splitter 1000Mhz to 2000Mhz is just find.
To use the MS GraphEdt software with WinTV-PVR-150 is easier than you think.
Start the program
Click on Graph on the menu
Click on Insert Filters
Double click on Video Capture Sources
Click on Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II Capture
Click on Insert Filter
Click on close
From this point youll see a graphic display of your card layout
Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II Capture
Right click anywhere inside the blue highlighted area
Click on Filter Properties
Click on the tab the reads Video Proc Amp
Now you should see the Sharpness setting set to 3
Move the slide bar all the way over to 7
Click on file click on save pvr150.xml or graphic file save
What you can do is put this file into your Windows startup folder create a shortcut for
Graphedt so it will load every time you reboot your system. There was a way to get around this but the setting in the registry that work or the save feature tweak. This is the best way I know right now should I learn of a better why Ill keep this review updated.
Updated, I've found another way, but I'll keep the above also, by going to:
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