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148
3.9 out of 5 stars
Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 Dual Tuner Cable Card TV Tuner
Price:$102.24 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
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.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
I bought this mainly for the price... it was $75.00 cheaper than the HD Homerun Prime by Silicon Dust. It has one less tuner (2 instead of 3) and lacks the network sharing feature of the HD Homerun. Basically, you plug it into the wall, and connect it to your computer (via USB). Then plug a coax in for your cable line. You have to have an M-Card from your cable company. I have Comcast in South Jersey and I was able to go to my local Comcast office and pick up a cablecard free of charge.

Once you plug everything in, you go into Media Center and run through the setup. At one point during the setup, you'll get a screen with three numbers that you have to give to Comcast to activate the card. There's a self-install line that you should call instead of the general number. It's mentioned in another review on here, so search the reviews for Comcast and you should find it.

After I called, I completed the setup in Media Center and I was good except I didn't get any of my premium channels. A follow-up call the same day resolved that issue.

All-in-all, the device worked well for the first few days. Eventually though, I started getting "turner unavailable" messages in Media Center on startup and also while the device had been in use for a few hours. The only solution was to unplug the unit and plug it back in. It's not that big of a deal but if you are buying this to get rid of your cable box (like me), this can get annoying.

In the end, I ended up returning it to Amazon and ordering the HD Homerun Prime. As I said, it costs more but it has an extra tuner (which is nice) and you can view it from any computer on your network (like a slingbox). I didn't think I would need more than two tuners, but if you are recording something and watching something else, you need an extra tuner if you're watching on a second computer. Also, if you want to record two things at the same time and watch tv, you need three tuners.

In sum, it works pretty well with the exception of the error that causes it to loose connection ever now and then. If you are looking for something to use in addition to your cable box (like, for instance, if you only want to use it as a DVR), this is probably your best bet, but if you're looking to replace your cable box, I'd go for the HD Homerun Prime.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2011
As most of the reviews on these cable card tuners go the tuner itself works great but dealing with the cable company to get it setup was a huge pain. I had to call Comcast around 10 times before they finally got the card paired and initialized correctly at the same time. If you are a Comcast customer don't waste your time calling the normal phone number to setup your card. Call 1-877-405-2298 that is their cable card department and you get connect to a person right away. Most of them still don't seem to know what they are doing but eventually you will get bumped up to tier 2 tech support where your chances are higher. As of now I have all my digital channels working and working well. What they don't make clear in the description is this is a DIGITAL ONLY tuner so if your cable company still has some analog only channels you won't get them with this tuner. All my basic channels are still analog only so I'm going to have to buy a regular tuner so I can pick them up too. Took me a while to figure that out. On the plus side that will give me 3 tuners kind of. Channels changes are about the same speed as my Comcast box which isn't great but at least this isn't even slower. I'm using my xbox 360 as a windows media center extender and that is working well too. Once I get my analog tuner I'll be able to ditch my $18 a month comcast HD DVR box.

update 11/22/11
Just wanted to ad I installed a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 to take care of my analog basic cable channels and all is working well together. Windows Media Center integrates all three tuners seamlessly. It even knows to record a show using the 1250 if the two tuners on the 2650 are busy automatically.

Update 7/30/12
Just had my first issue with my tuner. For some reason I lost all the channels that require the cable card to receive. Called Comcast twice to try and resolve thinking it had lost its pairing and hoping Comcast had improved but they haven't at all lol. Just for the hell of it before calling the third time I updated my firmware since it claimed to offer better diagnostics and it fixed the issue and I started getting all my channels again for some reason.

Update 8/26/14
I'm still using the thing with no problems. At this point in time if I were buying a cable card turner this isn't the one I'd buy. There are several cheaper ones with 3 or more tuners available now. I'd probably go with the SiliconDust one which I've often seen on sale for $80 give or take but Ceton also has a few good options including a 6 tuner version. This Hauppauge tuner should really be down around $60 now to make it worth buying. I think I only paid $99 for mine way back in 2011 and the price as of this update is $118.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
Firmware fixes (2 releases in September) have made this much better, still drops occasionally, but now this with WMC is a viable HTPC and a good vendor STB replacement. Got this a a couple weeks ago, setup was easy; cable card activation a breeze. But after anywhere from 1-30 minutes tuner loses signal (tuner light flashes), WMC freezes, and the the device becomes unknown as a USB device. Half the time the PC then locks up; power cycle of both HTPC and DCR-2650 is required, but then again next time only works for ~10 minutes so wash-rinse-repeat. Opened support case, got essentially a one line response of "updated firmware." That would have been my first troubleshooting step but from 8/22-8/30 (first week I had the device) there was no updates on their support page. Firmware update (from 8/30) has NOT fixed the issue. Only saving grace is that it looks like it heavily based on the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime which has reports of similar experiences, and they seem to be actively pushing out beta firmware to address these issues. Hopefully Hauppauge will quickly leverage SiliconDust's work to get functional units. Has promise, but in its current state unusable. I had to break down much of my HTPC and extender infrastructure and just revert to provider issued STB to placate family.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
Depending on your carrier and computer configuration, this device can be anywhere from plug and play, to some tinkering required. If you are willing to put in the work to set up, this is a great device. If you can follow instructions and minor tinkering does not intimidate you, you can successfully install this device. If that thought overwhelms you, this product is not for you. The device works with SDV (with a cable card and tuning adapter). I have installed with Time Warner Cable and the Hauppauge tunes every station that my cable box tunes including premium movie stations.

Start with the directions in the box. Make sure you follow them closely. Do not use the CD though. enter the following url [...] to download the updated software from the WinTV-DCR-2650 Digital CableCARD receiver support page at [...]. Download, unzip, run setup and execute step one and two.

Now, if you are using a tuning adapter (I am using the Motorola MTR700), you will want to enter the following url [...] to download the tuner adapter update from the 'Tuning adapter' tab of the support page. Make sure that you follow the five steps in order.

So once that is completed you should have your cable line from the wall to your tuning adapter 'in' port and then out from your tuning adapter to your receiver. Both the tuning adapter and receiver should be connected via USB to your computer (NOT TO EACHOTHER LIKE TIVO).

At this point you should be ready to go, unless you are using an NVDIA GPU. If that is the case and you are tuning audio but no video (the infamous black screen syndrome), then you are having a driver issue. Either roll back your driver, or download the beta driver released On 1/31/12 by entering the following url ([...]) and selecting the appropriate download from Option 3. I am running the Beta Driver and it is working well.

My experience with the device so far has been very good. WMC is using 150mb of ram to run in the background or 210mb when not and very little processing power either way. Recording with both tuners simultaneously did not significantly increase ram or cpu usage.

Please note: While I am reporting smooth usage, I am running an i7 on an EVGA X58 SLI3 MB with 3x4GB of 1600mhz or ram, an EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti as my primary video card, and a TB allocated from a 7200rpm SATAII storage drive with 32mb cache. I am running win 7 64bit. I have no clue how this device performs on a slower system, but I am very happy with it on mine.

$2.00 cable card/tuner rental versus a $22 dvr rental, and I now have all of my channels on my computer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
So far so good but its working out well but I have only had it up for one day. It's to be noted that I originally bought this so that I did not have to rent a DVR from Comcast and to that end it works well.

However, the 2650 needs a PC running Win Media Center 24/7 so really I am not sure that I am saving much because now I have two devices plugged in 24/7. So after the additional cost of Building my HTPC and the electricity used to run it 24/7 it's probably a break even on renting the DVR.

In contrast however, I am only limited on storage by the Hard Drive that I installed and it did add a second tuner and Picture in Picture with my setup

I will update the review as I get some more use out of my new toy
As far as the install......

I had some similar install issues with Comcast Cable in MD. I picked up a Cable card at the local office then called the Card Activation Center and got the card activated though the Comcast Cable Card Activation Department. That in of itself was a feat because I kept stumbling around in Windows Media Center trying to find where my Host ID was, and after getting there trying to figure out how to refresh that screen to find out if my Cable Card Activation was working. There was a huge learning curve for me and Media Center because I opened media center once like 2 years ago and then never revisited it.

That is until I went to the manufacture website and found this utility under the product support page WinTV-DCR-2650 Diagnostic Utiltiy. This utility will give you all the info you need give to the Cable Techs activating and pairing your card as well as the status of our Card Activation and Lock. This is huge because you don't have to deal with media center while activating and pairing the Cable card also there is a refresh button in the application that will refresh the values so you can test to see if whatever the tech did successfully activated and paired your card. It makes it so much easier to troubleshoot activation. Also it works outside of Windows Media Center so you don't have to guess if the card is activated.

Also, I was initially having trouble with the card so I downloaded and installed their Beta Firmware form the manufacture website. I am not really sure that it made a difference because the release notes indicated something about logging.

Follow the directions on the Quick Start sheet Step by Step and make sure to run the digital cable diagnostic and Windows Media Center activation or you will have some issues latter.

After activating the card I was only receiving the lower channels not the higher ones and so I had to call the 1-800-comcast number. (Once the Card is activated the Card Activation folks are done with you.) Well after several signals sent by Comcast the net result was that I stopped receiving any channels at all.

I put the project to bed and the next day after doing some googling I called Comcast back and had them Send a Initialization signal and then a refresh signal to my WinTV-DCR-2650 30 seconds later I started receiving all the channels. Be sure to Close and reopen Media Center if you don't see the new channels right way.

I think that setting up this card should be considered a 3 Phase approach.

1. Setup the PC you are going to use for a DVR. Just follow the directions on the quick start guide to run the Windows Digital Cable Advisor to make sure your PC is compatible with the WinTV-DCR-2650. And Activate Windows Media Center.

2. Use the WinTV-DCR-2650 Diagnostic Utiltiy to establish if and when the Cable Card has been activated and locked. If you go to the manufacture website then under utilities you will find a link to download it as well as a picture of what everything should look like the card is activated and locked. It you have an item displaying in Red something is wrong. Do not even bother going into Win Media Center to see if you have cannels until the utility is showing that the card is activated and locked, you will just be wasting your time. Do not remove and reseat your cable card unless of course it is backwards or you're not getting the values you need to give the cable company. If you have to remove and reinstall the card you MUST pair it again because you will get a different host ID. Again do not proceed unless the card is activated and locked according the Diagnostic Utility.

3. Once the Card is activated and Paired then go to Win Media Center to verify your that you have all your channels. If you are missing some you will need to call the 1-800-COMCAST Number to have them troubleshoot. In my case I did not get any HD channels so I had them send an Initialization signal and then a refresh signal to my WinTV-DCR-2650
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
I bought the Hauppauge Win-TV 2650 because Amazon had the best price and I am cheap. First, I have it up and running and want to pass on some information to help others.

If you have Time Warner Cable and the local office doesn't have the cable card ($2.50 a month) and free tuner adapter (required by my TWC) order it first when you order the Win-TV 2650. My cable card and tuner adapter came UPS from NC to NY. That way you won't lose any time hooking everything up when you get your Win-TV 2650. The Win-TV 2650 box says no remote, most reviews at Amazon and other sites says no remote. It does come with a remote and it works great. The IR receiver is built into the Win-TV 2650. At the time it was with-out remote because of 2011 Black Friday specials. So don't buy a remote.

Follow the guide that comes with your Win-TV 2650 and the instructions that you get with the Cable card and tuning adapter. Don't use the CD that comes with your Win-TV 2650. Go to Hauppauge web support page and download the latest software/firmware versions. I also installed the beta from their web site. In order to get HD channels the tuning adapter has to be used. Both cable card and tuning adapter need to be plugged into your computer with USB cable provided. I am using a 3-way cable splitter so that I have direct access to my TV, Win-TV 2650 and tuning adapter (my adapter is a Cisco STA1520). Time Warner Cable broadcast their channels thru SDV (HD) and this is why you need the tuning adapter. Otherwise you get a lot of channels but no HD channels.

The tech support, Barbara at TWC 1-866-606-5889; George at Hauppauge 1-631-434-3197 know what they are doing in their respective area. I spend approximate 2 hours total from hook-up, cable card activation and tuner adapter connectivity. Everything works and just love watching HD and the ability to record programs that I want to watch later. Just a note, the remote that came with the Win-TV 2650 stopped working and Hauppauge had me run the exe program in the downloaded zip file wintv-dcr-2650_ver_29310 .zip in a folder named IR and the program called WinTV-DCR-2650-IR.exe - this will get your remote working.

I wrote most of this about 2 weeks ago and I am still having no issues other than WMC 7 in full screen locks the cursor so if you have dual monitors you need to make WMC smaller if you want to use the cursor on main monitor.

I have a Sceptre 23" HDTV, Samsung 22" monitor a WD Media player hooked up using a 3 to 1 way HDMI switch, model number: PET0301S ( which I bought from Amazon) so I can use HDMI for best picture.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2011
I pre-ordered it month ago from Hauppauge website and received yesterday even though they promised to ship it after August 22. It took me 1 hour to drive to RCN location to pickup CableCard and I spent 1+ hour to install and activate CableCard. BTW it is using HDHomeRun Prime software/firmware and installation procedure is very similar.
WinTv 2650 is very good option when you don't need more than two tuners or don't plan to share tuners between multiple computers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
As so many other reviewers have pointed out, dealing with cable companies is the hardest process in setting up this device. Once you have it communicating with the cable company, it works very well. I've had it connected to my always-on home server/media PC for several weeks without issues. I have a Windows 7 64-bit PC purchased one year ago, and setup and operation is fairly easy. Download the firmware/driver updates straight from the Hauppauge website - don't bother with the CD, as the WinTV software won't work with this device. I was a bit upset, as their website claims the DCR-2650 is compatible with their WinTV software. I was really hoping to use the WinTV Extend software to stream over my home LAN, but that simply does not work. (Do a quick search for XBMC ServerWMC to save yourself a few weeks of struggle if streaming to other devices is your intent!)

I will briefly relay my experiences with Comcast in the hope it may help future purchasers. Calling them over the phone to order a cable card led to the tech spending 15 minutes fighting his computer before discovering you have to pick them up at a local office. My local office had to go hunting to find one - they said not many people ever request them. The activation did not work at first, so their techs "escalated" it to the next level of support with no results. I made a total of 4 calls to tech support, none of them able to help. They scheduled a service call but told me it was for a phone call only - no technician would need to come to my house. That afternoon, the tech showed up, very confused. He was very nice and interested in helping, but when I told him I was using the card for a Windows Media Center PC, he said he hasn't seen that setup in several years.

Ultimately, my only issue was that my DCR-2650 was connected to the cable line through a couple of cable splitters and wasn't getting a clean activation signal. I disconnected everything else (Comcast TV box and cable modem) and ran the cable directly into the DCR-2650 (I was using my Comcast phone line with tech support at the time, so that disconnected me mid-call. I kept waiting for the tech to say something, but heard only silence haha!) I simply used my cell phone to call the activation line, the computer sent the activation signal, and it finally worked! Once you have it activated, you can reconnect your other devices - just make sure you have as clean of a signal as possible for the activation.

I don't fault ANY of the folks I spoke with at Comcast. They were all friendly and genuinely trying to help me. I blame the bureaucracy that goes out of their way to dissuade the use of cable cards. I can see myself upgrading in the future to the Ceton infinitv 6-tuner card (or an equivalent Hauppauge offering) and eliminating the need for the terrible Comcast boxes. There is so much room for innovation in the cable industry, but they can't see past their own ecosystem and profit margins long enough to deliver anything more than a basic barely-functional TV box.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Works great... WHEN it works. It's just too glitchy. I should add that I'm an IT professional and I'm very used to searching boards/forums for solutions. So when I say that I've tried everything. I really mean EVERYTHING.

I have to unplug or restart my media center about once a week. I've even tried updating firmware, drivers, etc with no success. I'm throwing in the towel and going back to a cable box. It costs $18/month but at least it's reliable.

Good: (Again, only when it works)
- The hardware installed very easily. Getting the cablecard set up was a hassle though.
- You can share videos it records on other media centers and XBox extenders.
- It has a built-in remote sensor that works with existing Harmony remotes.

Bad:
- Video card incompatibility problems. "frame rate bug" still not fixed in latest firmware (July 2012) so some shows flash like a strobe light making them unwatchable.
- IR sensor stops working regularly. Sometimes unplugging it kick starts it but often have to restart whole computer.
- Getting random HDCP errors (yes, my card is HDCP compliant). Restarting WMC fixes it.
- Tuners randomly stop working. Gives a "No tuners available" error message. Once again... restart the computer.

Maybe Windows 8 will be a more stable platform but in it's current form, the DCR-2650 running on Windows 7 is just too unreliable. 4 months of fighting with this thing is all I (and especially my wife) are willing to deal with.
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