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WinTV HVR 950Q by Hauppauge - Reviewed by Edward Cardona

Recently, as a traveler and technology consultant, I considered buying a USB TV receiver for my laptop to record my favorite shows while out on the road or away from the hotel at a function.
As luck would have it, I was asked by Offbeat Travel to review the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 950Q.† This model is for a PC, but Hauppauge makes one for my Mac Book laptop.

The kit includes

  • WinTV-HVR-950Q NTSC/ATSC/QAM receiver
  • USB extension cable
  • AV cable (to connect directly to a TV)
  • Portable TV antenna (pulls out to extend)
  • Software CD† (WinTV, drivers, and WinTV-Scheduler)

Using WinTV-HVR 950Q

I tried it on two PC laptops, two PC desktops, and two MAC Intel machines.†

Setup is fairly intuitive.† The machine scans for analog and digital TV stations broadcasting over the air from local transmission sites.† This takes a few minutes. The software then returns a list of the stations, and you can uncheck stations you do not want to see as you surf.†

Reception improves with the included TV antenna extended or better yet an indoor TV antenna.† I tested the unit with both the included TV antenna and an amplified indoor TV antenna.†

All the machines tested were out of the box with only built-in motherboard graphics capabilities.† I believe that a better graphics card installed would make the WinTV-HVR 950Q operate as it was intended.† Being the Mac has a better graphics system it should test out much better with out of the box computers.

There were a few problems, that users need to know. I had difficulty installing drivers on one of the machines, and I had to uninstall and start over. On another machine the software crashed when clicking more than once to change channels. During the day not all changes are running digital at the time of the review, and when I clicked up or down into one of those channels the software crashed. This will probably cease to be a problem when all channels are digital. Finally, on machines with the graphics card on the motherboard the card caused stilted playback, and a dubbed feel of the sound during the playback of recorded programs. The instructions alert users to this problem.

Thumbs Up

All in all, I recommend the WinTV-HVR 950Q not only for the traveler, but for the home theater enthusiast who wants to digitally record his favorite shows onto his computerís hard drive without upgrading his Operating System. This product is particularly impressive with newer computers.

To make the best use of this equipment consider using an amplified antennae to help bring in a stronger signal, or hooking the USB device to a cable TV. Purchasers should also check the website www.Hauppauge.com for updated drivers and software, and installation manual.


PC or MAC

OS

Install Drivers

Install WinTV

Sources Scans

Gateway

Tablet Laptop

Windows Vista

2 GB RAM

Okay

Okay

Analog = Okay

Digital = Okay

Dell Desktop Optiplex 755

Windows XP

2 GB RAM

Okay

Okay

Analog = Okay

Digital = Okay

Dell Laptop (NS)

Windows XP

Slowest & Repeated

Okay

Analog = Okay

Digital = Okay

Dell Desktop Optiplex 170L

Windows XP

512 MB RAM

Fastest

Okay

Analog = Okay

Digital = Okay

iMAC Intel Desktop

Windows XP

1 GB RAM

Okay

Software crashed upon installation

N/A

MacBook Air

Windows XP

1 GB RAM

Okay

Software crashed upon installation

N/A

PC

Running WinTV

Changing Channels

Running Scheduler

Recorded Playback

Gateway

Tablet Laptop

Okay

Crash

Okay

Stilted Playback occasionally

Dell Desktop Optiplex 755

Okay

Crash

Okay

Little Stilted Playback

Dell Laptop (NS)

Slow

Crash

Slow

Stilted Playback occasionally

Dell Desktop Optiplex 170L

Best*

Crash

Okay

Perfect Playback

* Used an amplified indoor TV antenna.

Hauppauge Computer Works, Inc.
91 Cabot Court
Hauppauge, NY 11788
tel: 631.434.1600
fax: 631.434.3198

Ed Cardona is a travel photographer and technology consultant. Contact him through Cardona-Foto.com

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