Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Toy

I bought a USB TV tuner and it arrived in the mail today: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950Q. It's a USB dongle with a CATV coax plug.

Right away I had install problems since you have to insert the included CD and I was installing the software on my netbook (no optical drive) and my Sony (optical drive can't read CDs). I finally did get one of the many PCs at home to share its CD drive so everything installed. I'm using it with the provided antenna and so far it seems to pick up over-the-air HD signals. I think it will also work with the output from a cable/satellite box so I can record TV shows directly to a computer, bypassing the DVD-recorder. However, the card-size remote control seems to be DOA so I'll need get that replaced.

Since it uses the CPU to decode and display the TV signal, it runs a bit slow and choppy on my netbook. I'm just about done scanning for channels on my Sony Vaio; hopefully it will run faster and allow decent recordings.


The channel scan returned a lot of digital channels. Interestingly, it seems to be mostly foreign language channels. Since this is LA, I expected lots of Spanish stations (and there are) but there are also lots of Korean, Mandarin, and Vietnamese channels as well. Just KSCI (channel 18) has 8 different digital channels with multiple languages. I found CBS and NBC as well but no ABC for some reason.


Ahh! I just tried recording something at random from NBC-HD and it records at 1920x1080. It looks nice but also eats up 1.5MB per second or ~5GB per hour. I guess I'll need to edit and re-encode any recordings to make it more manageable.


I also noticed that if my Blackberry checks email or something, the digital picture goes nuts. The phone also messes up speakers and my iPod when it connects. Maybe it can crash planes during take-offs and landings.

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