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Recommend an EXTERNAL tv tuner for HTPC

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Greetings OCN.

I started an HTPC project--and due to time contraints, I went with a pre-built ASRock small form-factor HTPC, but it did not include a TV tuner card. Wanting to watch and likely record cable TV in a tivo-like manner, I'd like an EXTERNAL TV tuner that will properly interface with Windows (7) Media Center (needs to be external because of the small form-factor computer and lack of PCI slot). At the moment, I believe that my cable is non-encrypted cable (i.e. I don't need a separate tuner box to change channels, and can use the interface on either Tivo or the TV), so it shouldn't require some special tuner.

Lots of people online say that the Hauppage USB's are fine, but after looking through the reviews for their USB tuners on newegg, they seem to be hit-and-miss with regards to quality and successful use.

Any suggestions?
    
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post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
Greetings OCN.

I started an HTPC project--and due to time contraints, I went with a pre-built ASRock small form-factor HTPC, but it did not include a TV tuner card. Wanting to watch and likely record cable TV in a tivo-like manner, I'd like an EXTERNAL TV tuner that will properly interface with Windows (7) Media Center (needs to be external because of the small form-factor computer and lack of PCI slot). At the moment, I believe that my cable is non-encrypted cable (i.e. I don't need a separate tuner box to change channels, and can use the interface on either Tivo or the TV), so it shouldn't require some special tuner.

Lots of people online say that the Hauppage USB's are fine, but after looking through the reviews for their USB tuners on newegg, they seem to be hit-and-miss with regards to quality and successful use.

Any suggestions?
I have a Happauge 2250- now I know that's internal, but it has small form factor brackets included, and runs on PCIe, so I don't know what your mobo/video card port situation is, but it's a possibility if you have an open PCIe slot. I really like the Happauge quality and while I have no experience with the USB devices, this tuner has worked great for me. You should make sure you get a digital tuner though as opposed to analog, no use for analog really anymore but they still sell them Anyway, let me know if I can help, post back with more info or questions
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltwaterCooled View Post
I have a Happauge 2250- now I know that's internal, but it has small form factor brackets included, and runs on PCIe, so I don't know what your mobo/video card port situation is, but it's a possibility if you have an open PCIe slot. I really like the Happauge quality and while I have no experience with the USB devices, this tuner has worked great for me. You should make sure you get a digital tuner though as opposed to analog, no use for analog really anymore but they still sell them Anyway, let me know if I can help, post back with more info or questions
Thanks for the reply.

Nope, no can do--as I mentioned earlier, there are no PCI/e expansion ports (and it's using on-board intel HD video), as the computer is a very small form-factor, and I'm stuck with a USB option. This is the little guy: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tent-_-text-_-
    
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
Thanks for the reply.

Nope, no can do--as I mentioned earlier, there are no PCI/e expansion ports (and it's using on-board intel HD video), as the computer is a very small form-factor, and I'm stuck with a USB option. This is the little guy: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tent-_-text-_-
That's a tiny little thing! I thought you meant no PCI so I was thinking PCIe might work... I'd say a USB tuner is a good bet, I'm not sure there are too many other options, but the tuner interface in Win7/MCE is great, it's what I use and I really like it. The winTV7 software the comes with Happauge is great for line-in recording and general viewing, but it's a more stripped down player than MCE. Very feature-rich and option oriented, but not as visual as MCE.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltwaterCooled View Post
That's a tiny little thing! I thought you meant no PCI so I was thinking PCIe might work... I'd say a USB tuner is a good bet, I'm not sure there are too many other options, but the tuner interface in Win7/MCE is great, it's what I use and I really like it. The winTV7 software the comes with Happauge is great for line-in recording and general viewing, but it's a more stripped down player than MCE. Very feature-rich and option oriented, but not as visual as MCE.
Thanks again for replying!

Yeah, I was excited about the small size, until I realized that expandability is going to be limited... Oh well, I'm sure it'll suffice.

I'm really thinking of getting one of the Hauppage USB tuners on newegg, and assuming that I won't have any of the issues that others have reported (lol). I'm not trying to do anything special, so there are probably fewer things to go wrong.
    
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
Thanks again for replying!

Yeah, I was excited about the small size, until I realized that expandability is going to be limited... Oh well, I'm sure it'll suffice.

I'm really thinking of getting one of the Hauppage USB tuners on newegg, and assuming that I won't have any of the issues that others have reported (lol). I'm not trying to do anything special, so there are probably fewer things to go wrong.
Sounds good to me, I'd just check USB3.0 compatibility, but it's 2.0 backwards compatible right? Otherwise you should be good to go.
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post #7 of 9
I suggest you research first what software you plan to use. Then buy one that is fully compatible with that software.

Really a tuner is tuner. The codecs and the software is what delivers the quality.
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post #8 of 9
These would be another option:
http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/atsc/

they would just connect into your existing network so they can be tucked away out of site. Then you can do all your normal DVT/HTPC functions from any computer in your house with windows media player 7 and many others as well (see site for compatible systems)

they are also to release a version with 3 tuners and cablecard for those premium digital channels that you may want to record without needing your providers expensive set top boxes and dvr's
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saulin View Post
I suggest you research first what software you plan to use. Then buy one that is fully compatible with that software.

Really a tuner is tuner. The codecs and the software is what delivers the quality.
I'll be using MCE--but a tuner really isn't just a tuner. At least, not when some overheat and crap out, others don't properly interface reliably, others have poor signal, etc.--hoping from some first-hand experience feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BahamutZer0 View Post
These would be another option:
http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/atsc/

they would just connect into your existing network so they can be tucked away out of site. Then you can do all your normal DVT/HTPC functions from any computer in your house with windows media player 7 and many others as well (see site for compatible systems)

they are also to release a version with 3 tuners and cablecard for those premium digital channels that you may want to record without needing your providers expensive set top boxes and dvr's
Thanks! I had seen those before--was debating whether it was worth the price... I don't mind something plugged in via USB, and we'll be using the tuner on only one computer/TV. But I'll have to keep an eye on these. Thanks for the suggestion.
    
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