I have been very busy these last few weeks and have missed a lot of TV. In the past, I would have just shrugged it off and possibly caught it through On-Demand or HuluPlus. Before I left, I set up a Hauppauge Win-TV DCR-2650 to a Windows PC running Windows Media Center and recorded all my favorite shows.
About the Hauppauge DCR-2650 Win-TV device
The Hauppauge is a unit that connects your cable to a machine running Windows 7 and Media Center. The unit requires an M-Card, which is a card you can get from your cable company (for a rental fee). The DCR-2650 features a dual tuner mode so you can record one show and watch another.
Simply connect your coaxial cable to the DCR-2650 unit. Connect the USB cable to the computer and install the driver software. You will have to go into Windows Media Center and configure the card. Once done, the TV schedule will begin to populate.
Flip through the TV grid and choose which shows you want to watch. When ready, select to record the show or the series (so you don’t have to do that every week).
When the show is recorded, navigate to the shows and watch them. You do not need the tuner card connected to watch. That way you can record to a laptop, then take with you. I even move the laptop to the living room and connect through HDMI to watch while on the couch.
How the Hauppauge Is Better than HuluPlus, OnDemand, Netflix
Most of those shows have a wait time before you can watch. Even with Hulu and HuluPlus, you have to wait until the next day to watch shows. With the Hauppauge DCR-2650, you can record a show and watch it when you are done watching other shows.
For premier week I was able to watch “How I met Your Mother” right after “Bones”.
Watch and Record Showtime, HBO, Starz and more!
If you miss your favorite shows on pay TV channels, you can set the DCR-2650 to record your favorites like Dexter, Weeds or Game of Thrones, True Blood and more.
The Bad on Hauppauge DCR-2650
First – you cannot watch or record on-demand shows or Pay-per-view shows. There are also a couple times where it wouldn’t let me use the dual tuner. There may be some PC restriction to that for I connected to another machine and was able to run both tuners. Possibly a memory or disk space issue.
Just like any other card, you must have a infrared controller if you want to use the remote. It would have been nice if that was included and controlled through the box.
You also have to get that M-Card, which I have to pay $2 a month more on my cable subscription. I believe I can rent a DVR from the cable company for $10, so this might still be the better deal.
Easter Egg on the DCR-2650 and Win-TV
I only have cable in SD. When I use the DCR-2650, I can navigate over, watch and record shows on their HD channels. I don’t get any extra channels and some HD channels do not come through. So you might want to flip through to see what you can watch in HD.
Overall – Hauppauge Win-TV DCR-2650
A pretty good addition for the price. Being able to record one show and watch another is a bonus. That way you are not interrupting by seeing what else is on TV.