I finally gave into the siren call of clear QAM tuning on Windows 7 here in the Twin Cities north metro. Our TV pulls in the clear QAM signals without issue for all of our local channels so it stood to reason any tuner capable of clear QAM would give the same result.
Clear QAM is great because it (an unencrypted digital TV signal, both regular and high definition rebroadcasts of local channels) comes into the house over the cable and not over the air. I have long used Over The Air (OTA) tuning to DVR high definition content but this is incredibly finicky in any type of inclement weather. The final straw was missing the entire Vikings vs. ‘Niners game because it was windy and that messed up the reception on the OTA. As many of you have probably experienced so far, OTA digital TV sucks sometimes because it doesn’t degrade, it just goes away.
Recently, NewEgg ran a great deal on the Hauppauge HVR-1250 and I couldn’t resist picking one up to try. I am glad to report that it works as advertised and was really easy to install. I installed the newest drivers from Hauppage’s website and their softmce software and was good to go after running the TV setup again. I then went through the four channels that matter, the high def versions of CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC and “split” them – making the OTA and QAM channels both showup in the guide so that we can explicitly choose which one to use at a given time. Probably took about an hour of effort overall, but I highly recommend it. The quality is pretty decent and it is obviously much more reliable than the OTA reception.
One item of note is that my system was able to capture two HD recordings at once (while time shifting and watching one) and it isn’t too beefy – an OS hard drive and a capture hard drive, a 2.3ghz dual core AMD processor, 2GB of Ram and Windows 7 Professional on a decent AMD motherboard with integrated graphics.
Finally, the fact that it is PCIe was a configuration life saver. My Hauppauge HVR-1600 is PCI, so is the wireless-n card I have. That left me with only PCIe slots to fill and precious few reasonably priced options. Thanks Hauppauge 🙂