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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
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They are similar. In terms of absolute performance, they are just about the same. The differences that are important include: 1) Software 2) Encryption 3) Price 4) Monthly fee
I own the WinTV-HD and it works fairly well, but the software for the AccessDTV has many more features that are consumer friendly. Of course, Hauppauge or other third parties will release improved software over time, but as of today, the reported features of the AccessDTV software makes it more polished and user friendly.
The AccessDTV card encrypts that recorded digital data. Only the particular card that recorded the data can play it back. This is done to prevent wide spread HDTV file trading. But how many of us have an extra 10 GB disk laying around? Well, at least not right now. The WinTV-HD does not encrypt the digital data and this makes it more useful if you would someday like to playback a file you recorded one a different machine or with a different HDTV card. In addition, when software HDTV players become available they should be able to play the unencrypted HDTV files. The AccessDTV files will not be playable however.
The WinTV-HD is cheaper in purchase price than the AccessDTV card. There are some retail outlets selling the WinTV-HD at slightly below $400. The AccessDTV card is $479 at DigitalConnection.
To use all of the value added features of the AccessDTV card, there is a $10 monthly fee. This is similar to Tivo or ReplayTV in that you get program guide information for this monthly fee that allows that AccessDTV software to schedule recordings. However, it is possible to still use the card to record without paying the $10 every month.
If I were in the market for an HDTV card I would still chose the WinTV-HD just because of the encryption features of the AccessDTV card. The AccessDTV card has better software, but I'm interested in software playback of HDTV. At some point this will be the preferred method of playing back HDTV just as it is with DVDs. Again, this is something that can't be done with the AccessDTV card unless they provide an encryption key to the software HDTV software developers. As such, the WinTV-HD will be more future proof. Of course, the next big thing will have come out by then.
[This message has been edited by JoeFloyd (edited 06-07-2001).]