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Hauppauge HD PVR - Hauppauge HD PVR

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Once you've got your recording you then have several choices. You can burn them to DVD or Blu-ray, either as a raw data file or as an authored disc that can be played back on a player. You can also use Arcsoft's software to convert into a portable media player friendly format, though a free encoder like Handbrake can arguably do the job as well and faster, too.

Finally, if you don't need to change the resolution and just want to play the file back on an Xbox 360, PS3 or any kind of media player, you can convert the transport stream file into MP4 - retaining the same codec, bit-rate and so forth. Hauppauge provides its own tool for this, but unfortunately in our testing we found it to be next to useless.

We tried several recordings yet each one invariably ended in an unplayable file, a file with video but no audio or, more often than not, the program crashing before it had finished. This wouldn't be a big issue were it not for the fact that converting the transport stream (TS) into MP4, or any other widely used format for that matter, is nigh on essential.

As a result we found ourselves having to re-encode the entire recording to get it into MP4. Of course, there are other programs that can convert TS to MP4, but generally speaking they'll cost you a few pennies first. Ultimately, though not an insurmountable problem for a knowledgeable enthusiast, any regular consumer will find themselves entirely lost if they encounter the same problems we did - a fact that doesn't reflect well on the HD PVR's usability.

Happily, we can have no complaints of the HD PVR's output. Clearly the quality of the output is dependant on the settings used, but the HD PVR doesn't introduce any anomalies or issues. As an example we've uploaded an HD video from Forza Motorsport 2 onto our YouTube channel - please remember to select HD to get the full effect. Be aware that due to YouTube's processing it isn't fully representative of the HD PVR's output, but it does give you an idea.


Clearly the Hauppauge HD PVR won't be everyone's cup of tea. Its reasonably high price, niche usage and software issues make it unsuitable for the regular consumer. However, for enthusiasts with a specific use in mind, this is still a unique and very useful piece of kit provided you know what you want and how to get it.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 6
  • Features 7
  • Design 7

Hamish Campbell

April 15, 2009, 3:34 pm

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


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.


April 15, 2009, 7:00 pm


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



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.


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...


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