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Style: USB TV Tuner|Change
Price:$72.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on January 6, 2009
The antenna and remote control are junk right out of the box. The end fell off the antenna and the remote control worked some of the time and then quit all together. That is the reason for the 4 star rating. On the up side the tuner stick and software work great. The unit also works great with Windows Vista Media Center. I have eliminated the TV set in my motor home and watch TV exclusively on my laptop. I can record programs or schedule programs to be recorded, then put my laptop to sleep. The computer will wake up and record the program. The best part is I can shrink the screen down to any size I want then set it for always on top and stick it up in the corner of the screen. I can surf the net or write a review while watching TV. As I am writing this review I have eight windows open and all is working fine. My laptop is a lower end Compaq ($500.00 range) with Windows Vista and 2 gig's of ram. If you open the box and throw the antenna and remote away you then have a 5 Star product. Changing channels is a snap, just click on the TV screen then use your number keys to select a channel.
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on November 17, 2009
When my cable provider (Comcast) announced a conversion of extended basic channels (24 to 71) to digital, I bought the Hauppauge HVR-950Q to replace my Hauppauge HVR-950, an analog only USB tuner. Picture quality with my old Hauppauge HVR-950 was fair to good on upper channels, but so noisy on lower channels that channels 2 to 7 were unwatchable. The first thing I noticed when I popped in the new HVR-950Q was a dramatic improvement in picture quality on the lower analog channels and some improvement too in upper channels. Obviously the HVR-950Q has much better noise filtering than the old HVR-950. The quality improvement in analog channels alone is reason enough to upgrade.

A little worrying about the HVR-950Q is that the silicon inside must run pretty hot. The best way to judge this is to feel the metal ring of the cable. This tuner is powered from the computer USB port. Judging from its heat output this tuner must take most of the 2.5 watts (500 ma x 5V) that a USB port can deliver, so this tuner definitely needs its own port.

Clear QAM
I knew prior to the conversion that my cable contained a large number of 'upper channels' because my large screen TV found them and displayed them with odd channel numbers like 74-3, 76-7. I initially paid little attention to them because it seemed they were mostly duplicates of lower channels, but when Comcast announced the analog to digital conversion, I mapped them and began to suspect they were clear QAM (digital) channels. That is what they are, and they are likely to remain clear going forward because the small cable boxes (DTA's) Comcast distributes to analog customers are reportedly unable to decode encrypted channels.

I agree with other reviewers that the WinTV software from Hauppauge leaves a lot to be desired. Hauppauge actually has two software packages that are totally different, probably designed by separate software teams. I prefer Ver 6 which is an upgrade of the earlier Hauppauge software and features a convenient snapshot feature. However it really only works for analog channels (most the QAM channels don't display properly). It also uses about 90% of CPU capacity making other programs slow. In Ver 7 the snapshot feature (spacebar) works, but it is undocumented and saves files only in bmp format making them huge. I emailed Hauppauge customer support asking if there was a way to change the file format and never got a reply.

For receiving QAM digital and HD channels from this tuner I find the 3rd party software package BeyondTV works well. It gives an excellent picture, has a built-in program guide, and uses about 60% of the CPU capacity. It can takes a while to set up as the QAM channels need to be mapped into the standard channel numbers. You need the latest version of BeyondTV to get QAM channels, but upgrades from any version 4 are free.

Comcast lack of support for computer TV tuners
During the digital transition period I found Comcast provided no support at all to those with computer TV tuners. Comcast never tells you (in literature or online) that there are 60-80 'hidden' clear QAM clear channels, including HD channels, on your cable that can be picked up with non-Comcast equipment. I talked to three Comcast service technicians and not one would confirm the existence of dozens of clear QAM channels on the cable.

Comcast will not tell you about clear QAM channels
The HVR-950Q and most newer TVs if provided with a direct cable connection can provide access to the HD channels that are there. In contrast the equipment Comcast provides (for free) to support its analog customers in the transition to digital is low end, non-HD equipment, which if hooked up as Comcast recommends, blocks access to HD. My guess is that this is by design. Wikipedia in 'QAM tuner' notes, "The law does not require the cable provider to advertise the availability (of clear QAM channels), and the cable customer service representatives are known to unequivocally (and incorrectly) insist to customers that (an HD) converter box is mandatory to view any HD channels."
(update) A day or two after the extended basic analog channels were taken down I found 40 or so 'upper channels' (channel numbers like 76-9, 77-4) had gone missing. Whoops, I thought I was going to eat my words about clear QAM channels remaining on Comcast, but false alarm, they all still there just at new frequencies. A week or so after the extended basic analog channels were taken down, auto scan on both this tuner and my large screen TV is finding 87 clear QAM channels (about 70 of the 87 are new channels).

I pay Comcast well over 1,000 dollars a year in cable fees, and their idea of customer service is hide the fact that there are 87 unencrypted digital channels on my cable, many of which are HD, that I can legally access with non-Comcast equipment and without signing up for Comcast digital service!
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on January 23, 2009
After I received this tuner and it failed to install with the supplied software I contacted Hauppauge Customer Support. They advised me the supplied software was out of date and directed me to there site. After downloading the software, and getting the tuner partially working the remote did not function. I contacted them, and they diagnosed it and said they would be happy to replace it. A month and half later, they still had not replaced it, and the tuner had problems changing channels slowly, freezing, and just going blank. After repeated calls to Hauppauge, they assured me they would send a new remote. Finally I called support again and asked if it was possible to just exchange this unit for something that would work. They said they would be happy to for $128.00. The tech did state that they had troubles with this unit.

I am very disappointed with this product and my experience. If you purchase one of there tuners, be advised there customer support is very non-supportive.
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on August 18, 2008
This is a great tuner/ video recorder. It is fully compatible with Vista and Windows Media Center. The remote control is convenience and works great with Windows Media Center. It virtually transforms your desktop/laptop into a HDTV plus a digital recorder system. Powerful hardware configuration (CPU, memory and hard disk) is strongly recommended. Recording 1 hour of HD contents (720p/1080i) in Windows Media Center requires 6 GB of hard disk space. The software package is good but I prefer Windows Media Center.
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on December 13, 2009
My review was mysteriously never posted the first time, hmm... trying again.

I've seen reviews on other sites that say if it didn't work the person just didn't know what they were doing. I'm a system administrator, not just a typical user, so trust me when I say I tried everything I could think of to get this to work on 3 different machines. The first machine I tried was Win7 64-bit, 1 gig ATI graphics card (with latest drivers), and 6 gigs of ram. I tried installing using the CD and the updated software on the website - which at the time was 1.2b, 1.2c came out after I had initiated the return. I also tried just plugging it in and hoping Windows Media Center would detect it like I saw in other reviews - no luck. Using the vendors software, it froze when searching for channels. I even left it on over night (8+ hrs) thinking I didn't give it enough time, but it didn't matter. Each time I tried a different way of installing it I used the cleaning utility on the CD to start from scratch.

The second computer I tried was Windows XP Pro, 512mb nvidia graphics card (latest drivers), 2 gigs of ram. I had the same exact problem, it froze when searching for channels. The third computer I tried it on was my Vista laptop, same problem and Windows Media Center could not detect the tuner just like Windows 7.

On all three computers I used the cleanup utility between installations to make sure I wasn't simply installing on top of itself. The lights on the tuner were on indicating that the computer detected it (also showed up in device manager) and that it had a decent signal. I forgot to mention that I tried using the Windows Media Center Installation file that Hauppauge provides on their website, obviously that didn't work either.

As a last resort I reformatted my Windows 7 machine thinking (and hoping) that maybe something I had on there was conflicting with the tuner in some way. I did not install a single thing before trying it on the clean install, but I had the same problem.

Also, be warned that Hauppauge customer service is ridiculously horrible. I tried contacting them before returning the tuner. It took them 5 business days to reply to my first email and all the response said was "Are you connecting anything between the unit and the pc (included extension usb hub etc)?" I responded the same day and it took another 4 business days for this response from them "Can you give me more information on the pc you are using? Do you have another pc you can try the unit on?" Granted, I should have given them the specs to my computer in the first email. But coming from a customer service/tech support background, the response time alone is terrible and the one sentence responses are mind blowing. They should have combined those emails into the first response and gotten it to me within the 48 hr response time that I swear I saw on their website. If I responded like that at my tech support job of 4 yrs I would've been in a lot of trouble.

Needless to say, do your homework by reading both positive and negative reviews. Also check out other sites to read their reviews. I did and was hoping I'd be on the positive side, sadly I was not.
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on October 5, 2008
Hauppauge 1200 WinTV HVR-850 HDTV Tuner Stick
Hauppauge 1191 WinTV-HVR-950Q TV Tuner Stick/Personal Video Recorder with Clear QAM and Remote Control (Black)

I checked the previous reviews here and tried both 950Q and 850 (purchased locally), I ended up return both units. The HW seems to be OK, the issue is with the software, it freezes and crashes way too often. I think if you have a WinXP system without MCE, you don't want to consider this brand. The software is written poorly: - On Analog or Non-HD digital channel, it takes 40-50% of CPU power on my Vaio S560, 1.8Ghz Pentium M + 1.5G memory. On HD digital channel, it takes 70-80% CPU power. Switching from Analog to HD would crash the WinTV version 6, Switching from Analog to Non-HD digital then to HD is the way to workaround it, but if you kill the app when it was at HD, the app crashes every time it launches, to workaround it, you'd have to unplug the cable (so there is no signal) before launch, annoying!! Isn't it?

Pctv HD Stick USB Hd Atsc Ntsc Clearqam Tuner
I've bought Pinnacle PCTV HD Stick since and this is the one I will keep, the PCTV user interface is very well done, the main window can be resized to really small, the channel switching is faster, it also takes up less CPU power on Analog and Non-HD digital at around 20% (70%-80% for HD). The software does lock up a couple times, however, this rarely occurs.
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on February 28, 2009
Where to begin. First off, the remote (if you can even call it that) did not work out of the box. It uses a watch battery and I do not have another to test with. So forget that and lets move on. The WinTV software that ships with the unit works mediocre until you try to do anything at all (like change the channel or schedule a recording)then it freezes and loses signal. That was WinTV 6. So I went to Hauppauges site and saw there is a WinTV 7 available. I tried it, and what a sorry excuse for software. I think it was written by a group of eighth graders trying a computer lab project. It froze with exception occured errors, both on an XP machine AND a Vista machine. The few times it did work, I had to watch TV in a small window. Clicking on the full screen button resulted in choppy blocky artifacts that would not play. Hauppauge has a support forum, and if you go there you will see many asking for help but the employees are not even active on it's own forum. Regular users try to help! If this tuner device was $10 I might have kept it just to try and play with at a later date. At $70? No freaking way. Save yourself some money and headaches and skip this pile of junk all together.
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on June 9, 2009
This item does not work with an HP dv5-1235dx. I bought this tv tuner based off of positive reviews. I even added a motorola power amp for 50 dollars. If you have a lot patience to wait 10 minutes before the tuner loads and you are interested in investing alot of money on a external digital attenna. Then please be my guest. I did the research and it is a good company, just don't expect it to work without a lot of super memory or like a regular tv. Picture is outstanding when it works, but when you got to full screen tv from 5 inches it crashes. I called haupage tech support but they never got back to me so i returned it. And I was charged 11 dollars by amazon for returning it because it was not there fault and it was shipped for free so that was fair. Stay away from this product unless you have a lot of time or money to burn.
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on November 28, 2008
The unit looks to be well made, but I experienced only trouble getting it to work.

At first the device was not recognized. Hauppauge tech support had no solution, instead suggesting that the unit may be defective. After spending an entire day, I discovered that the unit is a Composite USB device, and requires the usb.inf file in WinXP. Mine was missing. After getting a copy from another machine, I was able to install the drivers successfully.

Next the WinTV install program causes a data execution error. Browsing the disk and installing the software manually worked OK.

After scanning for channels, I was able to watch TV for a few minutes, and then it froze. The software is still responsive, but no video or audio. You have to shut down the software, unplug and re-insert the receiver. At this point it only works for about 10 seconds before freezing.

After more experimentation the next day, it appears that as soon as the unit warms up (just a few minutes), it freezes.

I am returning this unit. I got a Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro stick from Best Buy that is working great.
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on November 18, 2008
Before I bought this item I read some reviews that it is changing channels very slow, crashes a lot after watching the hd channels, some ppl couldn't even get hd channels somehow.

The product turned out pretty awesome! I did notice some slowness when i first connected it to my pc (vista-32, q6600, 8800gt, 4gb ram) through a pci usb hub. I was wondering why since i definitely have the horse power for the device to be running pretty fast. I hooked it up to one of the standard usb ports and it got a lot faster. Actually now it is perfect. I am able to watch atsc channels no problems whatsoever.

I also tried it on my aspire one and it worked perfectly there as well!

This is a great product! Thanks Amazon!
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