Most helpful positive review
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Good CableCard tuner for the price
on September 14, 2011
I just received this tuner today, and have had it running for about four hours, so I will edit if I encounter any issues in the next few weeks.
Preliminary review - good tuner for its price range. If you don't need the four tuners in the Ceton InfiniTV, or the three tuners in the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime, this two-tuner box from Hauppauge is worth the look. As for me, I already had a card for ClearQAM, so I didn't really need more than two tuners. HD quality on my HTPC is equal to the quality from the cable company DVR (which is going back tomorrow!).
First things first - don't even mess with the CD in the box, download the latest software and firmware directly from Hauppauge. The firmware has been updated at least twice in the last two weeks, and will probably be updated quite frequently as more features are added.
Following the instructions in the box, installation went smoothly. I did encounter a bit of a hiccup in getting my CableCard activated, but it is a known issue with activating CableCard equipment on Cox's network (short version - just ask the tech to send two "cold hits" to your box, about five to ten minutes apart - it seemed to work for me).
If your cableco uses SDV / tuning adapters, you may want to wait - Hauppauge is still working on getting tuning adapter support. However, I don't, so it was a non-issue for me.
You'll probably want to run a clean line to this box - no splitters - just to make sure you have sufficient strength and quality of signal.
Overall, my early impression from this box is very favorable. If it continues to work well, I will be recommending that all my friends abandon the cable company DVR and build their own HTPC's.
EDIT 11/8/2011: I've been using the WinTV-DCR-2650 for about two months now. In that time, Hauppauge has released several firmware and driver updates, and the tuner appears to be quite stable now. In the two-month period, I did miss one recording, but that was due to issues with Windows Media Center moreso than the tuner (the tuner and WMC didn't communicate very well on whether I could record a "copy once" flagged channel); the issue was resolved by reconfiguring WMC. If two tuners are sufficient for your needs or you are using in combination with a QAM tuner, I continue to recommend this tuner.
EDIT 3/3/2012: Almost six months since I bought this tuner, and I still highly recommend it. By my calculations, it will have paid for itself in another month over Cox DVR rental rates. The firmware has been stable for about three months.
UPDATE 4/5/2014: I've had this tuner for 2 1/2 years now. About a year ago, we moved to an area that uses SDV. In addition to the tuning resolver itself, which connects to your computer via USB, you'll also need to install a tuning resolver service from Hauppauge...and this is where I experienced my first problems with the DCR-2650. The tuning resolver service appears to lose contact with my resolver on a regular basis, even as frequently as once every few hours. You'll notice this when your tuner is no longer able to tune those channels that use SDV and the tuner light blinks instead of locking on the channel. The DCR-2650 knows when the tuning resolver is lost, because it shows up in its internal log, but it does not write any information to the Windows system logs.
If you stop the tuning resolver service in Windows, then restart it, the resolver is back in service...it takes about a minute to get the tuning resolver back online. I've added a scheduled task in Windows that stops the resolver service, then restarts it, on an hourly basis to work around this issue. (If Hauppauge would write the loss of connectivity with the tuning resolver to one of the Windows system logs, you could use that as a trigger for the stop/restart of the service, but as of now it doesn't write to any system log, just its internal log.) Overall, I'd still recommend this tuner if it's on sale, but I'd recommend giving the HDHomeRun Prime a look as well if you have a decent Gigabit network at home.