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I recently decided that time was rife for a new TV card and having had previous experience with the Happauge range I looked no further than them when searching for a new item. I was recommended a HVR 4440 by a number of websites and shelled out £115 on Amazon to get my hands on this and every penny has been worth it so far as it has turned out to be a superb product that has increased my enjoyment of products in this medium.
First, things first is the price. It is slightly more expensive than the usual products of this type and you can get TV cards which perform to a high standard for considerably cheaper that you will never have any issues with and will perform all the basic functions the normal user would require. However, the sheer range of features, ease of use and general high performance of this product sets it aside from the rest and makes it worth the extra in investment.
From the box its very simple to install and even a computer novice will have it up and running in no time. The instructions are very well put together and you should not encounter any problems in getting it installed.
The basic functions of the HVR 4400 is to allow you to watch and record free to air tv channels through the comfort of your pc which makes it ideal for extending your entertainment, providing an alternative screen for households where the battle for the remote dominates the evening.
Of course all of this supports HD which has become standard in this day and age and the HD range of features is fantastic and you really do notice the difference and feel you have been given a bang for your buck!
The TV card is set to receive the four main standard television formats via the tuners which are Freeview, DVB-S Digital Satellite, HD Digtial DVB-DS2 and PAL SECAM Tv. Now to most people this will mean very little but suffice to say the four tuners give an extensive range of channels, everything you would expect and will see on Freeview and Free sat.
The freeview gives you the 50 mian freeview channels which most people are familiar with these days given the branding. This includes a variety of music channels, BBC's1-4, ITV 1-4, Channel 4's range of channels and vice versa. The standard HD channels come through the tuners as well so if you can support it then the TV card will give you HD variations of these channels if available. Connecting the Tv card to a home aerial will also give you access to the standard 5 channels which can be recorded or viewed.
One of the most pleasing and useful aspects of this product so far for my own use has been the inbuilt scheduler which allows you to chart and organise your recordings. Its far more innovative than the often painstaking rival planners on standard TV's. It's a breeze to find, record and link shows and credit must go to the designers. You can set complex and detailed recordings lasting over a period of entire series and seasons in a matter of minutes.
The recording element of the package works a treat too and anything you can receive via the tuners can be recorded. You can also save home videos stored on your PC to the card and it all comes nicely formatted in MPEG-2 files.
The card also comes with a stylish and handy remote control which frees you up from the useful mouse and keyboard combination and you can perform all the basic functions and more using this nifty little tool!
The tv card does what it says on the tine! Brings Tv to your computer and in this respect it works a treat. Of course given the vast range of online and on demand services now available on the internet and the break though of SKY plus and such like this product is perhaps a gadget for a gadgets sake in some peoples mind. £110 for a product that does what your TV does, and in some cases your TV does it easily and with lass hassle, may not equate to value for some but if like myself you have been using your PC with a TV card for some time then it's the best of the bunch. It's a brand leading range and should always be considered when you are out hunting for a tv card.
If you are into Tv cards...go on treat yourself to a market leader and you will not regret it!