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.
Score in detail