Review of Hauppauge HD PVR media recorder


Summary: The Hauppauge HD PVR is a very interesting product with a ton of features and capable software included with the bundle.


z01256_1


Without a doubt, the Hauppauge HD PVR is a very capable device, at least according to the manufacturer’s promises. The first thing that hit me though was; what about the recording media, there’s no hard drive in it? But then I understood that I had been somewhat fooled by the “PVR” part of the product name. This is not a traditional PVR with an internal hard drive, it’s more like a HD video transferring and converting device. For instance, you can record live TV or previously recorded media from you set top box directly onto your computer through the HD PVR unit. At the time of this review, TestSeek.com has collected a total of 9 expert reviews of the Hauppage HD PVR and the average score is 69%.



INTRODUCTION

Ever since the DVD media came into our lives, leaving the aging VHS standard behind, the option to record our favorite TV shows disappeared. It did not return until years later, when the first standalone DVD-R units came to the market, first through DVD-R discs and later through integrated hard disks. Nowadays, the protagonists are the DVD and Blu-ray standards. Hauppauge’s HD PVR supports both standards and the common HD resolutions 720p and 1080i. The main specifications of the Hauppauge HD PVR take from Hauppauge’s own product page:



Features

  • Built-in hardware H.264 high definition encoder, for high performance, high quality TV recordings
  • Component video input from most high definition cable TV and satellite TV receivers. Optical or stereo audio inputs.
  • Record high definition video at up to 1080i resolution, 720p or VGA/D1
  • Record at datarates from 1Mbs to 13.5Mbs, constant and Variable Bit Rate
  • Make Blu-ray format AVCHD recordings, so you can burn your TV recordings onto a standard DVD disk (up to 2 hours of video at 5MBits/sec) and playback on Blu-ray DVD players
  • Includes HD software video player, so you can playback recordings to your PC screen
  • Audio / Video component video loop through to allow HD recording and viewing at the same time
  • High Performance Noise Reduction Function
  • NTSC,PAL and SECAM Support
  • IR receiver for remote control
  • IR Blaster to change the TV channels in your set top box


Record formats

There are three H.264 formats you can choose when recording a video:

  • .TS, which is a generic ‘transport stream’ compatible with many digital media players
  • .M2TS, which is compatible with the Sony Playstation3
  • .MP4, which is compatible with the XBox360


The .TS and .M2TS files are AVCHD compatible, and can be used to burn Blu-ray compatible disk recordings. These files can be burned onto a standard DVD+R or DVD+RW disk for playback in a Blu-ray disk player using the included Arcsoft TME Disk Create application. Approximately 2 hours of HD TV recorded at 5Mbits/sec can be put onto a standard DVD+R or DVD+RW disk.

The included TME Media Converter program may also be used to convert the .TS file to other formats compatible for playback on an iPhone and Ipod.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Hauppauge sent us the full retail package. The unit comes in a rather large cardboard box with all the specifications and features printed on it.


003218 003219



When I opened the box I found two compartments as you can see from the image below. The first one holds all the accessories and the second one holds the PVR unit. The included accessories are: component cables of high quality; remote control; USB cable;  AC power supply; documentation and CD with drivers and utilities.



003222 003223




HAUPPAUGE HD PVR IN DETAIL

The HD PVR unit is a rather light and small box. I really wanted to take a look inside the box but since it would probably mean destroying the device I managed to get a hold of my urges.


003225 003226



On the front of the unit we can see from left to right: the power button; the infrared receiver; a S-Video connector and a setup of composite connectors.


003227 003228




On the back side is where I found the more interesting connectors of the unit. From the image above you can see the component connectors for both incoming and exiting connections. To the right of the component connectors, you can see the digital audio connectors and the USB and power connectors. In these times when power costs are ever rising and one have to think of the cost of keeping all different technical gadgets running, it is reassuring to see that the Hauppauge HD PVR’s maximum consumption is only 10W.



INSTALLATION AND USE OF HAUPPAUGE HD PVR

The installation of the necessary drivers and software was a piece of cake. I just inserted the CD and followed the instructions. The whole process took no longer than a couple of minutes.


003230


003231




The software which Hauppauge has included in this bundle is the ArcSoft Total Media Extreme, which is a suite of programs that allows us to use all the HD DVR’s features and functions. As usual, the quality of the recordings is very dependent on the source we use, but generally I received the same quality as the source with my recordings. I was a bit disappointed that the unit wasn’t able to record the 1080p signal, but the other ones worked great, including 720p and 1080i HD signals.



CONCLUSIONS

The Hauppauge HD PVR is without a doubt a very capable product with many possibilities. The included software from ArcSoft is rather complete and allows the user to record audio and video and to convert the recordings to other formats. Hauppauge has done a good job in creating a unit which lets us move high quality HD media from a set top box over to a hard drive or a DVD-disc. I wouldn’t however call it a “PVR”, since in my view, a PVR is a unit you can plug in directly to an antenna and record from. I think of the Hauppauge HD PVR more like a media transferring and converting unit, suitable for those who want to rescue recorded HD media from a set top box or similar.



I wouldn’t say that it’s cheap at a cost of around $200 (180€ in Europe). But if you need something like this, you will not be disappointed by the Hauppaugue HD PVR.


Strong points

Weak points

Build quality

Does not record 1080p

Included accessories

Somewhat expensive

Good software

No HDMI

Good video and audio quality



Hauppauge HD PVR

Packing and accessories

1,5/1,5

General quality

1,5/2

Supported formats

1,5/2

Software

1,5/1,5

Quality of image and sound

1,5/2

Price

0,5/1

Total

8/10


The final score is 80 out of 100 owls.


Thanks goes out to Hauppauge for letting us test the HD PVR.



Author: Manuel González Fernández

Translator: Vince Emiloz Sanderson




  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.