USB TV Tuners - The Good, The Bad or the Ugly? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm embarking on a new HTPC build, based on a mITX board.

 

mITX boards have only a single PCIe slot, so I won't really be able to do an internal tuner (I actually plan on using the PCIe slot for an HD 6670 configured in Dual Graphics mode, Steam and GameBrowser gaming will be the one of the HTPC's functions).

 

So, I was thinking about this little puppy:

 

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950Q USB TV Tuner

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116034

 

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr950q.html

 

 

Anyone have good, bad or ugly things to say about using a USB based tuner? Cruddy pic quality or slowness?

 

All I will be doing is tuning local free digital channels (ABC, FOX, NBC, PBS, MHZ, etc.) that come through my broadband connection.

 

I won't be recording anything, I just get the hankering to watch live stuff a couple times a week.

 

I think it would be cool to watch LiveTV thru WMC rather than thru my TV's digital tuner, as I do now.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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post #2 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 05:19 PM
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I have an Hauppauge 2650 tuner. It's an external usb cablecard tuner. The usb connection has never presented any problems.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Good to know Sonyad, thx for the info!

 

I'll give it a shot...


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post #4 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 09:48 PM
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The bad and ugly is that that tuner will probably not work some day soon. Many people have been getting 'free' cable by jacking it into their TVs and as a result most MSOs will be scrambling e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g meaning you'll need a subscription and a cable card (decoder) to watch anything. At that time you might be able to use that tuner with an antenna and get Over the Air HDTV.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 04:32 AM
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As USB tuners go, the 950Q ranks right up there with the best of the ATSC/Clear QAM models. I used to have several HP USB tuners, which are just rebadged 950Q's. If you're only going to use one or two of them then connect them directly to your PC's USB ports. If you go for more than that then you should consider an external powered USB hub. However, this is where things can get a bit sticky.

I've used up to six USB tuners connected to external hubs and eventually I would always have issues. The tuners would drop off the bus and disappear after a while or the hub would have problems. Some USB tuners demand the maximum allowable voltage from the USB hub and many hubs simply aren't up to the task. If you connect too many of them directly to your PC then you can put too high of a demand on the USB bus. I have since stopped using USB tuners altogether and now use either internal PCI-e tuners or networked tuners, such as the SiliconDust HDHomeRuns.

This should not be an issue with only one or two USB tuners. It only crops up when you start adding more. I only mention it if you plan on expanding your system with additional tuners at some later date. In that case I'd look into the SD HDHomeRun Dual for ATSC or the Prime for cablecard.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 07:55 AM
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I have one 950Q and for OTA signals, it is great. Never thought about trying to use more than one at a time but that would be a fun experiment. These things are fairly inexpensive.
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerja View Post

I have one 950Q and for OTA signals, it is great. Never thought about trying to use more than one at a time but that would be a fun experiment. These things are fairly inexpensive.

I have used 4x of the Mygika ClearQAM/ATSC or hybrid ATSC/NTSC/FM tuners. FM is cool since it add radio to your WMC experience.

Even though Magyka said they do not support multiple tuner application, WMC was able to work with them.

The USB ones are fine for ClearQAM, or very strong ATSC signal. But, they lack sensitivity of SiliconDust HomeRun Duals, especially when you start splitting antenna signal. However, adding drop amp or TV signal amplifier before the splitter works too.

WMC will 4 different tuners for TV, depending on how you configure them, and an FM tuner during the set up. IF you you want to dedicate some of them to ClearQAM, some to ATSC, and some to NTSC, you can do that too.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizzy G.L.X. View Post

All I will be doing is tuning local free digital channels (ABC, FOX, NBC, PBS, MHZ, etc.) that come through my broadband connection.

I'm not sure if you are already getting these, or are assuming you're getting them. As someone else noted, you won't have them for too long as just about all the cable service providers are encrypting all the "free" channels. The only free channels you may end up getting are those from the provider advertising PPV events.

The Hauppauge HVR950Q is a very capable tuner for both OTA and clear QAM reception. But it is useless for encrypted channels.

A better bet is to invest in a HDHR3CC dual cablecard tuner. I recently read it was on sale for $99 on the Egg. So keep an out for it.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 03:30 PM
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I've been using the non-QAM version of this one with a roof antenna since forever, and have no complaints.
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonyad View Post

I have an Hauppauge 2650 tuner. It's an external usb cablecard tuner. The usb connection has never presented any problems.

to OP:
I have one of these to sell since I upgraded to the SD Prime. PM me if you are interested.
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post #11 of 12 Old 11-21-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazebo View Post


I'm not sure if you are already getting these, or are assuming you're getting them. As someone else noted, you won't have them for too long as just about all the cable service providers are encrypting all the "free" channels. The only free channels you may end up getting are those from the provider advertising PPV events.

The Hauppauge HVR950Q is a very capable tuner for both OTA and clear QAM reception. But it is useless for encrypted channels.

A better bet is to invest in a HDHR3CC dual cablecard tuner. I recently read it was on sale for $99 on the Egg. So keep an out for it.

Thanks gazebo! Currently, I do receive these channels.

 

Yup, totally have heard about providers scrambling everything soon, which really blows.


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post #12 of 12 Old 11-28-2013, 05:29 PM
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