Home / Computing / Peripheral / Hauppauge HD PVR / Hauppauge HD PVR

Hauppauge HD PVR - Hauppauge HD PVR

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Looking at the HD PVR itself, it's a fairly basic but fundamentally unobtrusive piece of design. It must be said, though, that the plastic casing feels pretty cheap and flimsy. This shouldn't pose a problem provided you're not planning an impromptu game of Frisbee in your living room, but nonetheless it needs to be handled with some care.

Though most of connectivity is on the back, the composite and S-Video connections can be found on the front - joined by the power button and a trio of status lights on the far left. On the back, meanwhile, you'll find a full set of component inputs and outputs, allowing you to output your source device to your TV or monitor when recording. These are matched by both an optical input and an output, while a USB port is on-hand for connecting to your PC. Things are rounded-off by the power input and 'IR Blaster' output.

Setting up the HD PVR isn't complicated, though is a little time consuming given all the cabling involved. Once set-up, though, installing the drivers and software from the provided disc is all you need to do to get the HD PVR talking to your PC. You're then ready to enter Arcsoft's capture software and get recording.

Here things continue down a pretty straightforward path. Once you've selected the HD PVR from the drop down box (this software can also be used with a webcam), you then have the option to tweak all sorts of settings - including brightness, contrast, gain levels and plenty else besides. Most important, however, are the codec settings. As mentioned earlier the HD PVR encodes to AVCHD H.264 and it can do this at up to 13.5Mbits/sec. One thing you can't do, though, is change the resolution it records at, since this is always the same as the input - i.e. you can't set a 1080i source to record at 720p or vice versa. This can only be changed once you have the completed encode.

While recording you can watch the program as you would normally, though you don't necessarily have to pass the output through the HD PVR to a display if you don't want to since it is also displayed on the PC in the software - handy if you all want to do is setup a recording.

Hamish Campbell

April 15, 2009, 3:34 pm

Man, Hauppauge really needs to spruce up its signature, that pixelly swoosh looks dated.

Coffee_With_Bailey's

April 15, 2009, 3:48 pm

Thanks for a good write-up. I can see some applications, but do wonder about a couple of points...





i) Is the frame-rate smooth & stable on 768p / 1080i recordings? It looked pretty smooth on YouTube, but conscious of the heavily lossy nature of YouTube vidz - in terms of frame-rate and detail!





ii) Do you know if Hauppauge have any plans to launch a similar box with a better selection of HD-capable inputs, e.g. HDMI / VGA / DVI ? Or maybe even an internal HDD of it's own to remove the need to tether this thing to a PC to capture footage?





iii) When recording Forza, did the unit introduce any noticable display lag?





iv) The raw footage that it captures, can presuably be taken into something like Premiere Elements without first having to go through painful transcoding operations?





Thanks again for an informative read.

Davidx360

April 15, 2009, 7:00 pm

Hi,





I hope this may be useful.





I have had one of these for a couple of months. I use it archive HD with 5.1 audio (and some SD) TV programmes from my original Thompson (with component HD output) Sky HD+ box.





The box itself is nothing flash it is a rather dissappointing grey plastic box. Its not a quality enclosure but it does the job.





The software does crash repeatedly under specific circumstances and it did frustrate me greatly until I understood what was causing it. Now I get truely superb HD recordings with 5.1 sound (using optical cable for audio) every time. The software appears to have an issue when the audio stream changes from stereo to 5.1 audio.





When you launch the application it automatically detects video resolution and audio format. If the audio then changes it crashes. In order to avoid this you need to ensure the audio that it initially detects is the type that you will be recording in. There is no point in starting in the Sky EPG (stereo audio), launching the application software then starting the tv show or recording in the planner that you want to archive because this will result in a change of audio stream - and the software will crash.





Instead you must ensure that the tv show or planner recording is already playing (the 3 minute automatic time added to the start of recordings allows you to do this)before you launch the application. The device automatically detects the right video resolution and audio format and you can thern hit the capture button at the start of the show.





Yes this is a bit of a PITA but once mastered you can generate superb archives of all those HD programmes. These can then be streamed to a PS3 by simply changing the file extension to mpg!





Hope this helps





David

PS3½

April 15, 2009, 8:41 pm

I've also had a HD PVR since last autumn and agree with David that its a very useful device for archiving HD films etc. from SkyHD. I record them at the device's highest bit rate, edit them (if needed) on the Mac, and then compress them using Handrake. The supplied software is slightly sluggish, but you quickly get used to it and the quality of the recordings is very good indeed.

econjp

July 14, 2009, 10:25 pm

It is all very interesting, but I would like to take it all a step further... Namely, once I have recorded stuff from Sky+HD onto my computer hard drive, how does one proceed to produce Blue-ray DVDs? In particular, how can this be done using the new Panasonic recorder DMR-BS850? Should be most grateful...


Econjp

comments powered by Disqus