There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

295 of 310 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2010
I've been using Media Center on a WinXP tower since 2004. My HP unit came with a built in tuner which could only receive analog channels and the 2004 version of MC that came with it only supported standard def TV. As the years passed, I was eagerly anticipating for a release of Media center that supported HD programming. Once that happened on Windows 7 (and perhaps Vista), I needed to find a tuner card that would work with it.

Over the years I would check release info on new products and read about one sad experience after another regarding the failure of available HD tuner cards on the market and issues regarding firmware, drivers, configuration settings, etc.

Knowing that most new technology needs a few years to get the bugs out, I didn't buy and waited. The last few months had me itching to try and finally set up a HTPC (Home Theater PC) system. When it comes to video quality, my assumption was that I'd get better performance from a PCI internal tuner card in a tower. Thing is, I don't have a new Windows tower but I do have an inexpensive netbook running Windows 7 Home Premium. As there's no way to install an internal tuner card I'm limited to using an external USB tuner. After reading the reviews on Amazon, I decided the Volar Max was my best bet (and at $55 I figured I could only go so wrong).

I remember going through error and configuration issues with Vista and XP in the past, the idea that this little flashdrive-sized gizmo was going to allow me to tune in analog channels, digital channels as well as actual hi res HD seemed suspect at the very least. I was dreading the thought of experiencing the usual whole night investment of getting a new peripheral up and running on Windows only to have it not work well.

I plugged the Avertv in the USB slot and it found & installed its driver automatically and quickly. It then gave me the option of installing it's own tuner/viewer software. I declined in favor of Media Center.

Now I can't say how this thing works with any other OS's but, with Windows 7 Home Premium, the Avertv Volar Max blew my mind. My laptop is connected to an LCDTV- I fired up Media Center, which found the Avertv right away. I selected it, went through the channel scan (like any tv) and was watching great quality analog & digital HD tv within minutes. It WORKED! And not only that, it worked without my having to do any manual installations or configurations. Windows media center rocks (and IMHO blows away Apple in this particular area). The picture and sound seems as good as any HDTV tuner I've seen built into HD televisions. I hooked up my HP Media Center IR remote and can now flip through channels, set DVR recordings, play music, etc. from my couch.

Maybe this shows my age, but I thought any kind of decent resolution tuner hardware needed to be relatively big in size. That this tiny unit does so much, so well and so easily is immensely impressive.

The age of HTPC's is definitely here.

**Update 12/26/2012**

Recently I've discovered Windows Media Center no longer picks up a lot of stations it used to- even if they are not scrambled or encrypted. Plus many stations in the TV guide listings come off as misidentified (Media Center says its CBS but it shows up as NBC). There are stations that my tv tuner can pick up but that Media Center cannot, I'm not sure if this is a function of the Volar Max or Media Center. It's possible that with software other than Media Center the Volar Max can still tune in all unscrambled stations. I noticed Media Center asking a new question during setup regarding protection of "premium" content. Not sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion this might have something to do with it. Right now, I only get about a third of the channels I used to with the Volar Max/Media Center combo as opposed to my TV tuner that still manages to tune in all my unencrypted channels. The TV signals are there, I just can't seem to have them show up in Media Center any longer.
3030 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2010
I purchased this product expecting it to be something I would use to avoid arguments over the TV. I figured the picture would be just OK. I was wrong. I don't even bother with the television anymore. I have 2 displays on my PC, so I can watch TV on one while doing stuff on the other. I can record shows when I'm away or too busy with life. It's great. The quality of the picture is incredible. I think I'm going to buy another, so I can have true DVR functionality on my PC! When it arrived all I had to do was attach the cable feed and plug it into a USB port. Windows 7 installed the drivers and when I opened media center, media center walked me through the rest. media center took about 15 minutes to scan through all the stations I get and setup, but then it was done (and that includes downloading a 2 week program guide for my cable provider.) I was actually impressed, even amazed at the simplicity and quality of this product. Highly recommended!
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2010
I bought this as a 2nd TV tuner for my Win7 media center computer, because some TV shows I watch regularly have time conflicts. And I wanted a tuner that could receive ClearQAM channels, which my built-in tuner doesn't do. This was perfect. I bought an Avermedia tuner for my parent's computer and they've been very happy with it, so I chose this over some other brands.

The install with Win7 was pretty effortless. Plug into a USB port, plug my TV cable into it, and Win7 installed the driver (no software comes with it, and it's not needed). I opened Windows Media Center, it saw the 2nd tuner, I set up my channel guide listings, and now I can record 2 shows at the same time, with one of them in hi-def. It's fantastic. I rarely watch a TV show when it's actually on, and have gotten used to shows recorded in SD...it's such a treat to watch things in HD now!

I was a little irritated when I saw the recent price drop, but dug around and found that a rebate was available if you look on the list of sellers, and go down to Amazon.com being the seller. So now I'm only a buck behind. Now I'm very happy with the price, the product, and the ease of the install!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2011
I received my tuner five days after I placed the order. It was packaged well and arrived in perfect condition via U.S. mail. My computer system is a Lenovo W510 running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (i7 820QM processor; 8GB memory; 128GB SSD), and I use an external HDD for data storage (Western Digital Elements 2TB).

The "Installation Guide" provided with the tuner is quite basic, but it accurately guided me through the steps to install the tuner using Windows Media Center. Since there is no additional software required (no CD or other media needed) to operate the tuner with Windows 7 and Media Center, the installation was quite simple. It involved attaching the tuner to a USB port on the computer (a seven-inch USB extension cable is provided); connecting a coaxial cable (not provided) between the F-Type coaxial connector on the tuner and the cable TV outlet on the wall (no cable box is needed, even for HDTV); allowing Windows to configure and install the necessary device driver when the TV tuner was recognized; starting Windows Media Center and proceeding through the remaining configuration and setup process for the TV tuner.

The entire process of installing and setting up the TV tuner with Windows Media Center required around 30 minutes, and much of that time was spent waiting for the channel scans of cable TV signals to complete. There were a couple ambiguous areas in setting up correct Media Center options, but that is unrelated to the TV tuner. Since this was my first experience with any PC TV tuner, as well as with Media Center, I had to learn several new things simultaneously. (My own "neural network computer" does not operate as efficiently as it once did -- since I am 68 years old. However, it proves that if an old guy as I am can install and use this device so easily, it should require little effort for the young tech-savvy generation.)

I have used the tuner only with cable TV, so I cannot verify how it performs with a regular TV antenna for over-the-air digital TV broadcasts.

The TV tuner has performed flawlessly. All of the problems that I have experienced relate to setup within Windows Media Center. Again, that is independent of the particular TV tuner being used. For example, I had to enable several digital cable channels by going into Tasks--Settings--TV--Guide--Edit Channels. For some reason, even though the channels were in the list, some of them did not show a "check mark" to enable them. (There were equivalent analog channels for most of the "missing" digital channels, and perhaps that is the way Media Center functions.) There were also a few digital, as well as analog, channels that were not found. Perhaps that is a function of how Mediacom (our cable TV operator) works since all of the "unrecognized" digital channels were in a contiguous group. It was a simple process to add those channels in Media Manager by selecting Tasks--Settings--TV--Guide--Add Missing Channels.

The Program Guide that was downloaded automatically during the installation process is great. It makes it very simple to set up recording schedules for programs, and it is also easy to update. For those missing digital channels, which I enabled, it was a simple process to map an equivalent analog channel's program schedule to the corresponding digital channel. (That was done in the "Edit Channels" by selecting "Edit Listings.") After that editing, both the analog and the digital channels were displayed in the Program Guide with the correct program times and descriptions. (If a person did not want both analog and digital channels shown in the Program Guide, either one could be deactivated by clearing the "check mark" described in the paragraph above.)

Bottom line -- I highly recommend this tuner with Windows 7 and Media Center!

UPDATE: I have been using the tuner for several days now, and it continues to perform perfectly. The area around the F-type coaxial connector on the tuner gets very warm (hot) at times, and I have been concerned that this may affect the longevity of the tuner. Hopefully, there is not enough heat buildup to damage the device.

I have recorded several TV programs for later viewing. Using a Displayport to HDMI adapter Premium Black DisplayPort Male to HDMI Female Adapter, which I also purchased from Amazon, I am able to view the recorded programs on my Toshiba HDTV. This combination has provided an inexpensive multimedia HDTV DVR system that functions in almost every way as I had envisioned.

UPDATE (August 31, 2011): I have now used this tuner for over seven months, and I have experienced NO problems whatsoever. The heat buildup around the F-type coaxial connector has proven to be a non-issue. I have used the tuner continuously for hours recording HD TV broadcasts, and I have nearly filled a Western Digital Elements 2 TB external hard drive with data.

Since my first review, I have had the opportunity to use the tuner with analog over-the-air TV broadcasts (received from a translator in the mountains of western Montana). I can now report that this tuner works well with those "ancient" signals, using a 75-ohm coaxial lead-in from an outdoor antenna. I simply had Windows Media Center scan for TV signals, and it found all the channels that we are able to receive on our television set. One issue (unrelated to the tuner) is that the analog translator broadcasts do not provide the "Program Guide" for Windows Media Center, so any scheduled recording of programs must be set up manually. This tuner still proves to be an EXCELLENT product (for both cable TV and over-the-air broadcasts)!
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
(Parts of this review come from my earlier review of the Avertv Hybrid Volar Max unit, which is technically similar, but comes with AverTV's own software suite. At the time of this writing I use the Windows Media Center version only).

This unit is intended for use with the Windows Media Center that is packaged with some versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 - check before you buy - if "Windows Media Center" is not an option in your start menu, your Windows doesn't have it, although you can upgrade the operating system to get it. Under Windows Vista and Windows 7, a TV tuner is recognized by the operating system (that is part of the reason Microsoft has integrated the Windows Media Center in some versions of Windows), and handled as an integral part of your computer, it isn't an "alien" device, so to speak. Be aware that some versions of the Media Center under Windows Vista won't recognize digital (Clear QAM) channels - there is a workaround, but that generally requires a Microsoft update pack that is very hard to find, and no longer distributed by Microsoft. Even then, it is finicky, and I would recommend against it if you don't have what we call "Windows internals". The "other" Avermedia adapter Avertv Hybrid Volar Max has its own software for this, and should work right out of the box in this instance, costing $20 to $30 more.

Once the drivers are loaded the Avermedia device is recognized and the Media Center will offer to have it detect and program all available broadcast channels - analog TV and digital TV. If your computer is set up to display HD TV (which normally requires an HDMI connector, and an HD flat panel TV set up to display at a 1920x1280 resolution at 60 Hz - 30 will work too) you can watch and record HD TV "at full throttle", so to speak - please remember, many PCs do NOT provide that resolution natively, but need an external HD display for it! If connected via an HDMI cable, and with a Dolby decoder built into the TV, or connected through the TV, this unit will provide full spec HD. Pretty amazing.

The Avermedia tuner picked up all available cable channels flawlessly (it is capable of receiving from an indoor or outdoor TV antenna, digital or analog, as well) and Windows Media Center downloaded the entire programming schedule for it, once I had told it my location and cable system. This is, to me, the only way to use this tuner - the TV schedule Windows pulls down from the internet is free, you can see what is on, program detail, and you can check the schedule a week ahead of time and program anything you want to record. It is important that your PC is fast enough - recording HD television with Dolby 5.1 audio, both of which the tuner receives and makes available, requires a LOT of horsepower. Even more if you want to use the PC for other things while you have the TV running, which is perfectly possible. A 64 bit version of Windows helps, as does extra memory. 64 bit Windows can handle 8 GB of RAM or more, provided your motherboard and BIOS are capable of addressing that. Several of my laptops were, but the VAIO desktop I am now using can only address 4 GB of RAM. For HD TV, that is fairly marginal, due to the memory requirements of the graphics chipset. Remember as well that the USB port the unit is plugged into shares its bandwidth among all USB ports, and if you have a lot of active USB devices, the port performance can degrade, and make TV watching a hit-or-miss proposition.

But it is there, and if you want to play with TV, or if you want a cheap DVR/PVR, this unit is cheap, works very well, and gives you all the advantages of a cable company DVR. For recording, you will need to make sure you have a huuuuge hard disk in your PC (one one hour HD program will take some 4GB of disk space), or better still, an external drive to store recorded TV on. Remember that the Windows Media Center works like a DVR, meaning you can pause and review what you're watching, but for that to work it needs a good amount of disk space, as it continually saves what you're watching to a temporary file structure that can get quite large, and that you cannot turn off.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2010
I have owned one of these for over a year now. The tuner and picture are excellent. I even have it working on a Linux netbook. I like to watch TV in a little window on my screen while I'm waiting for my opponent to finish his turn in our internet games.

There are two caveats you need to know before you get this device. The included software for XP boxes is not very good. It works, but the interface is annoying and not very intuitive. If you use MS Media Center (comes with Windows 7) you won't have any issues.

The second thing is over the air reception. You can buy a tiny telescoping antenna for the tuner (this version does not include the antenna in the box.) It works fine for the UHF frequencies (even at 50 miles in my case), but even after the digital conversion many stations still broadcast in the VHF frequency range even though their signals have been converted to digital HD. This is important because it requires a much longer antenna to receive VHF properly. For these stations the little included antenna simply won't work unless you are very close to the transmitter. If you can hook the receiver to a rooftop antenna or a big set of rabbit ears you will be fine. If you don't have either of those go out on the web and look at some instructions on how to build a dipole or folded dipole antenna yourself. It's simple and only takes about $5 in parts from any electronics store. That's what I did. I live 50 miles from the transmitters and I can get all the VHF and UHF stations in my area without any trouble using my home built antenna.
77 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
YMMV if you are running anything other than Windows 7 with Media center. But if you are and you have cable TV: plug it in. Start Media Center and let Media Center do through its normal TV tuner wizard (Tasks, Settings, TV, TV Signal if you've previously set up Media Center). Whenever Media Center asks you to make a decision, stick with the default Windows suggestion.

This device is recognized instantly by Windows 7, no CDs or drivers or downloads. Do you understand the difference between analog cable, digital cable, 720p, 1080i, and ClearQAM? Yes? No? Good news: the AVerTV does all of them and Media Center will activate everything for you. Even as a tech-savvy user, I found it refreshing to see a device that simply worked without me having to know all sorts of techical details. And I will tell you that very few USB tuners will do both analog and digital, and fewer still (none to my knowledge other than this one) will do them both and automatically set both of them up.

Oh, and they (I liked it so much I bought a second one as a present) arrived nicely boxed in two days on free Super Saver. Why not five stars? It is sufficient bulky that on many laptops it will block nearby connectors. On the other hand, a short USB extender cable was including to address just this issue (I would have given the product 4-1/2 stars but that wasn't an Amazon option).

One "downside" to having a tuner that automatically does both analog and digital: this of course depends on your cable provider, but you will probably wind up with duplicate channels (analog crappy pictures, digital better pictures, digital HD amazing pictures). Spend a few minutes going through Media Center guide and killing the lower-resolution duplicates (right-click on the channel name and select "disable channel"). Pearl of wisdom: don't kill a channel just because ther Guide shows a higher-resolution version, actually open that channel up and make sure it plays. The reason is that the HD channel may be encrypted and, while Media Center has correctly identified it as a channel transmitting a signal, you may not be able to actually watch it (in which case it's the HD channel you want to disable).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
I bought this for watching the Olympics after I learned that NBC wouldn't let me watch online unless I had a cable subscription (boo!). Chose next day shipping and I was watching Michael Phelps get his 19th medal on my computer screen just 24 hours later!

As long as you have Windows XP MCE, Vista, or 7 then this should work without having to install any drivers -- Just plug it in and it works. The setup guide was really easy to understand -- Just plug the dongle in and launch Windows Media Center. I was a little nervous because the box didn't mention anything about supporting digital TV, but it picked up all the digital channels in my area without any problems. Windows Media Center asked me for my zip code and it automatically downloaded all of the channel programs and guides, so you can see what shows are coming up on which channels.

Recording TV with this is really easy: Just click the red button in Media Center and it will start recording. Be careful though -- A single 30min TV show can run upwards of 3GB!

There's only one caveat: it doesn't come with any sort of antenna, and you won't be able to pick up any signals without one, so be sure to add a digital-ready antenna to your cart if you don't already have one lying around the house.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2010
I've been waiting to get a TV Tuner for a while now, and after much research and review reading, I decided on this one.

So I got it, connected to my laptop ran Windows Media Center, went to the TV option and Scanned Channels. After 5 minutes, started watching HD channels.

That's it. Quick + easy.

Notes: No antenna is included nor is software (drivers or TV viewing application), but personally, I already had an antenna and used Windows Media Center as Software. No drivers where asked, Windows 7 did that on its own.

HW: HP Laptop
OS: Windows 7
RAM: 3GB
VideoCard: 128MB (shared)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2011
I purchased the MAX KIT which comes without software or antennae. I have no idea how the unit operates over the air. I connect to Eatel Fiber Cable in Southern Louisiana. I have their standard non-digital cable.

I purchased this unit with hopes of using it with an older Medion PC upgraded to Windows 7 as PVR (Personal Video Recorder) only. The complaints I have read about the unresponsiveness of the tuner to channel selection and commands, I know has more to do with the computer than the tuner. While the AverTv did connect and drivers load on the Medion, there were multiple issues with my older computer. The original onboard graphic adapter could not handle Media Center and Media Player TV graphics. I plugged in a 2005 ALL-IN-WONDER graphic card I had salvaged from another computer which fixed the graphics problem but I found that Media center was very sluggish. The AverTV module worked to a general degree but not what I had hoped for.

I then installed the AverTv on my new Quad processor 64 bit Win 7 machine with 6 GB of RAM, 1 TB drive, and everything became very responsive. There are some delays but these are barely noticeable.

The video is not the best for my analog cable channels but very good to excellent for the HD digital channels. I am not sure why but Media Center TV Guide was not able to find the half dozen free HD channels I receive. I had to write them all down and enter them manually. I guess QAM's have two types of encoding - 64 and 256. I had to determine that Eatel uses 256 by trial and error.

One thing I found out about the Media Center guide and TV recording was that selecting a series while seemingly handy can be obnoxious if that series is having reruns aired on other channels. I do not need nor want 25 old episodes of NCIS recorded each week off the two additional channels that air the series.

Also since the Media Center could not find my digital channels, the guide did not list the programming for those channels. If the HD channel is an HD version of an analog channel that Media Center found, you can tell the guide to duplicate the programming from the analog channel to the HD channel. This needs to be done every two weeks when the guide is updated.

Now recording a series is definitely out of the question for me because when the series appears at the same time as it would for duplicate programming, it selects the first channel which for Eatel is the analog channel - not the HD channel which has excellent playback.

I am satisfied with the AverTV & Win 7 Media Center for my first experience with PVR. I will probably get a unit that decodes in hardware for a second channel and keep the AverTv so I can record on one and watch on another.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 128 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.