Hauppauge WinTV Nova-TD USB TV tuner
Digital telly on the move
Review Digital TV isn't that easy to pick up on the go, but Hauppauge's Nova-TD has a trick up its sleeve to improve reception. It crams two tuners into its USB-connected casing and can draw on the inputs from both to create a better signal.
If your coverage is fine, however, you can just use it as a twin-tuner, and as it's compatible with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center PVR software, you can record two programmes at once or watch live TV while another show is taping. The hardware bears a striking resemblance to the Elgato EyeTV Diversity, which offers near identical functionality for the Mac, reviewed last year.
The Nova-TD is a relatively small USB stick, measuring 8 x 3.1 x 1.5cm - making it look like a slightly oversized memory key. On one end there's a USB connector and on the other a standard aerial socket. The second aerial connector is located on the side and takes a small 4mm plug - an adaptor for connecting a normal aerial to this socket is supplied. Over the other side of the unit is an infrared receiver for the supplied remote control. There are two stick antennas included: one with a standard aerial connector and the other with a smaller plug to match the side socket. Finally, there's a short (approximately 30cm) USB extension cable, allowing you to position the unit in line of sight of the remote control if your USB ports are round the back of your machine.
Support for XP is included in the box, with Vista-compatible software just a download away. The supplied WinTV2000 application provides access to channels, but the Nova-TD is also compatible with Microsoft's Windows Media Center software, available as a separate version of XP and included in both Vista Home Premium and Ultimate.
Software is shockingly bad
I agree, the software is a joke. The apps look like they are written in VB and are a disaster in usability. It also doesn't work with the remote properly. For example, although you can bring up the channel list, the up, down and enter buttons don't work. So you have to get up, go to the computer and select the channel!! There are other examples of plain daftness as well. You can record programs, but then there is no way of I can find of opening with the Hauppauge software! You have to go to the files on the disk and play them with Windows Media Player or similar. Annoyingly, they are recorded interlaced as well, so in most media players the videos look simply awful with line scan artifacts.
The TV guide is an awful web based app that looks like it was some A level students end of term project. You can't even click on an entry and change to the channel!
To sum up. Great hardware, truly awful software.
Isn't this 2007?
I have a REALLY old BT878 analogue hauppage board, and the only software available for it is WinTV2000 - a big pile of ***** in my opinion, compared to other TV apps.
I find it hard to belive that in 2007 - hauppage are still bundling this pile of **** with their tv cards.
A) no widescreen support - despite the fact that BBC and most other freeview channels are broadcast in a 16:9 aspect, you end up with black bars not only at the sides, but at the top and bottom too - hideous
B) My housemate has a Leadtek DTV dongle, bit cheaper than this, and it works a dream, really nice, 21st century-looking app that handles everything seamlessly with support for using other video decoders (such as Nvidia purevideo and ATi AVIVO) somethign hauppage just dont support.
If you are unfortunate enough to buy or be given one of these, use it with MCE, dont use WinTV2000 - its like using an aold black and white tv compared to what we're used to these days, and widescreen? forget it!!!
Works great on Macs too!
Bought this last week - however I have a Mac and it is not "officially" compatible (at least according to the box). What I can say however is that it works just great, my EyeTV software found it (thinks it's an Elgato Diversity, which of course it is as they are the same hardware....).
Great quality picture, great signal (roof aerial only, the supplied mini aerials are frankly pants.)