A couple of years ago I needed a TV capture card and I got the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500. This card worked so well that, now that I need another one, I decided to give Hauppauge another try. The new card is the WinTV-HVR-2250. This card not only has dual tuners, but both tuners are capable of receiving an analog or digital signal.
- Two analog tuners, each with their own hardware encoders
- Two digital TV receivers for ATSC or clear QAM
- Single slot PCI Express (PCIe) X1 board, half height
- Dual built-in hardware MPEG-2 encoders, for the best system performance when recording analog cable TV.
- Supports clear QAM digital cable TV channels with the new WinTV v6 application
There are several things about a TV card that are very important. The first is that it has as many tuners as possible. This card has two tuners which means it is possible to record two shows at once. The nice thing about these two tuners is that they can receive either an analog or digital signal.
The second important item is that the card has a built-in encoder. If you plan on recording analog TV like you get from cable, then having a built-in encoder is really important. Encoding an analog signal is very resource intensive and letting the card handle everything frees up the rest of the computers resources so they can be used for other things, like keeping the system running smoothly.
The Card also comes with a bunch of extra items. These include an MCE remote, an IR reciever box, IR repeaters, additional inputs (Composite and S-Video), a USB cable, and a Composite to S-Video converter. The one thing it is missing is a Component or HDMI input for capturing signals from higher quality devices.
It has been a while since I have looked at new TV tuner cards, so when I got this one I was surprised by a few of the changes. The first thing I noticed is that this new card is a lot smaller than my old card. As you can see it is shorter in length and height. This card also sports a PCI-e interface which means it will be able to take advantage of the faster bus speeds. I never had any speed problems with the last card, but then again it was only an analog card, this one supports digital so it may need more speed.
One other difference from my last dual tuner card is that on this card both tuners are built-together. As you can see from this image the older, bigger, card has two distinct tuners; however, the bottom card looks like it only has one.
Installing this TV card is really a snap. It is really easy to plug into a motherboard, and the only other thing that needs to be done is installing drivers and software. The drivers and software come on an included disk which automatically starts when you put it into a computer, You then choose what you want to install. Since I already have Windows Media Center I only need the drivers; however, if you have a version of Windows that does not include the Media Center then you will need the other software also.
Once the drivers are installed you have to go through the lengthy but simple process of getting Windows Media Center to recognize it. If you already have a TV card installed you will need to remove it because Windows currently only supports 2 digital tuners and 2 analog tuners.
Once Media Center has gone through its setup, assuming everything went OK, you can instantly watch TV. I did not notice any problems with the TV signal, it was always clear and smooth.
Even though I said Window Media Center only supports 2 analog and 2 digital tuners. I have read that there is a way to tweak it so it will work with more. So my next task is to get both my old tuner and the new one working together. Lucky for me I ran across this forum thread, which discusses the very topic. I was able to use the instructions and the program provided to accomplish my goal. Now I have 4 analog and 2 digital tuners. I don’t know why Microsoft has to make it so difficult, but it is nice to know there is a workaround.
The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 comes with a 2 year warranty that covers manufacturers defects only. The warranty is not that great, especially since there are no moving parts and nothing should fail. Hopefully my experience with this card will be just like the WinTV-PVR-500, and I won’t have any problems.
I am extremely happy with this new TV capture card. I did not have any problems installing it, and it outputs a great signal directly to my computer. If you read my review of the WinTV-PVR-500 you know I had all sorts of trouble getting it to work properly. If you are in the market for a TV capture card I can highly recommend the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250. If you don’t need Digital in your card, then the WinTV-PVR-500 is a great analog only card. As always compare prices before purchasing. The WinTV-HVR-2250 can also be purchased at Newegg or Amazon.
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