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PLEASE READ: I've had 13 dooyoo members read this review and 1269 non-members read it. If your not a dooyoo member and looking at this, why not register and join this fine site. The fact that I've missed out on £38 worth of dooyoo points dosn't bother me at all :) -------------- Now heres a fancy idea, play TV on a PC! Usually though this kind of tool is well out of the price range of the normal consumer UNTIL NOW *Cue Drums*. Introducing the first ever USB screen capture device from Hauppauge weighing in at under £50. Yes that's right, the little slot at the back of you computer you usually use for the scanner can also be used to watch late night Channel 5... or the football, whatever floats your boat. There is no need to open up the back of your PC to fit it in like you normally would for a TV card. This is brand new technology folks, you don't need to bother with such things. It's a pretty simple thing to set up. It's been very kindly made a plug and play device so all you need to do is plug and play surprisingly enough. Actually there is also a CD that you need to install that comes with it. This allows you to pick from either a fancy or non-fancy TV viewer i.e. Just a normal open window or a Photoshop style menu bar. There is also a teletext viewer which is actually very good because it's designed a lot like an internet browser, slow speeds included. You can copy and paste text and you can open multiple windows to save yourself time. With the TV viewer you can capture pictures and record video albeit not in super high quality as the USB port just wouldna be able to take the pressure captain. The specialised viewer is extremely well designed and it wouldn't surprise me if there are various skins on the internet to allow a style change when your bored. The USB does only support mono - audio though so if you have the latest in Dolby Surround for your computer then your not going to have mu
ch difference from your normal telly. But really if you can afford that kind of thing you can afford one of Hauppauge's higher model capture cards. You can capture from cable channels as well as normal analogue channels because the good people at Hauppauge have seen sense to allow memory for 150 different channels to be stored. You can connect your camcorder and digital camera as well to the hub (main box) of the product and this isn't just digital cameras. You can store stuff from your normal tape-recording camcorders as well. All in all this is a great piece of entry-level TV capturing kit. For a low price you can dip your toe into the market and see if this kind of thing is up your street/flat/back passage.
This card is fine for watching TV, but don't expect to use it for much more than that. Capture is restricted to 320x240, you can strech it with the resize filter in virtual dub, but the card drops so many frames in vdub its not worth it. The frame drops don't come from a cpu bottleneck or hd bottleneck on my system, but rather the USB bottleneck. It can use a maximum of 7.5 Mbits on the bus, which apparently isnt enough to sustain 29.97 fps with its current drivers (2.45 available on the uk hauppague site). Also sometimes it doesnt center the tv picture correctly, it can be fixed in vdub and some other programs, but it doesnt save the settings and will be off centered the next time you use it. There seems to be some artifacting of the supposedly uncompressed signal as well, probably due to some sort of interference with the usb bus (btw i have no other usb devices). If you use cyberlink powervcr, you can get some decent mpeg 1 and 2 captures at 320x240. Don't buy it to capture -- buy it to watch TV on your laptop.
I purchased the hauppage win TV USB as a tool to allow me to keep up with the world cup this year on my travels for work. A usefull little gizmo, I know of the manufacturers reputation, and generally they make good products. The wintv Usb is a small box, pretty colour bluey green, looks like it shold be part of an Apple computer. It has a conventional TV antenna socket at the end, nas an S-Video and line output socket on the side. The line output is for the audion link needed with laptops. The software comes packed with the TV application and a teletext function. THere is a facility in the software, which allows you to create libraries of tv stations for specific areas. i.e. if you was in the Granada region, you could auto detect the stations then store them in a folder. If you moved area, then it would be possible to create a folder for that area and store the relevant channels. The interface is well laid out, but I cant see much use for the "detachable remote". An extra control panel which can be moved around the screen.I have used it in Europe and in France it was OK on Secam, but in Italy the sound was unavailable on most channels. I did find it very usefull at one hotel there though as the hotel TV set had only a few channels. I was able to tune in using the cable select facility to a whole host of extra channels including some soccer matches which were unavailable in my room. I have no negative criticism of the product in general, being loads of problems getting it going, but but that is down to me using Win XP home. Drivers are available from Hauppage. but you lose the text facility. Perfomance wise on my latop is poor, (933 celeron), but I will persist in trying to resolve this issue.
The first thing we need to deal with here is how to pronounce the name. Despite how it looks,it's pronounced Hop-Hog.Now you can correct everyone else, as I've never met anyone (including me) who knew how to say it. What is it ? Put simply, it's a little box that lets you watch the TV on your PC, either full screen or in a window as you are doing something else. At the moment, I'm watching the Test Match as I write this. It can also be used to upload video from your camcorder. It is capable of storing 125 channels, including cable TV. Being a USB device, connectivity couldn't be easier and the unit copes happily having it's plug swapped around. What do you get? In the box is the unit itself, which is a nice translucent blue colour, which appears to be all the rage at the moment. The power supply is a permanent connection. On the top of the unit is a red light indicating when the unit is active. One side of the unit contains sockets for Line In, Line Out, and S-Video in. The shorter side of the unit has a standard co-ax socket, which you use to plug in an ordinary aerial lead.Size-wise, the unit is around 6" x 2.5". Also supplied is the required audio lead, installation manual and driver/application disc - details of which are further down the page. Hauppage also have very comprehensive web sites, either than USA based .com or the .co.uk flavour. Installation How easy do you want it? Load the disc which auto runs, restart the PC, plug in, watch TV. It really is that simple. The instruction manual, complete with illustrations, is a joy to follow. It is also written in English rather than Engrish, which is a novelty nowdays.I didn't have a problem, although the manual seems to cover the most likely scenarios and offers the cure. Software The supplied driver disc also contains the programs needed for the Win TV to operate.These are as follows:
Win TV - all purpose program allowing you to watch TV/upload video. Win TV 2000 - a more up to date looking application, which also features a little remote control unit with which you can toggle sound,picture etc etc. It can also sit happily in the task bar window, awaiting your command. Win TV snapshot - enables you to take snapshots of the program that you are currently viewing. This can either be a still image, or video footage. The 24 bit images can be stored as either TIFF, JPEG or BMP - in colour or black & white. MS Netmeeting 4 - which enables you to use your ordinary camcorder as a web cam when using MS NM4. VT Plus - A full function Teletext program,as seen on your ordinary TV, including Fastext. Individual Settings The unit is very flexible. Once you have set the channels, which is an automatic process, you are able to create your own little profile of channels. Very handy if you've got a hundred to choose from, but for five I haven't bothered. The display can be tweaked as much or as little as you like. You can decide wheter to keep the aspect ratio or adopt your own specification, which can produce a widescreen TV effect. Sound, on screen display and screensaver can also be set as you require. The Test Drive Please take into account that I am using an AMD 400MHz processor. Whilst this far exceeds the system requirements, I feel that a faster processor would produce better results. Hitting the button on the task bar to start, results in a delay of around 30 seconds, during which the Win TV logo is displayed, and stuttered sound can be heard. The screen will then clear to the last channel viewed and screen size set. Picture quality will obviously depend on your aerial. I use a little battery powered booster aerial and the results are more than adequate. Changing channel is instant, and isn't affected by your speed of channel hopping. Where I find
that I do suffer is in full screen mode. Whilst the colours are just as good as any TV, I find that the sound goes out of sync. No problem for the cricket, but a real pain if you're trying to follow a film or news report. I have uploaded video footage from my normal camcoder.Again this is a doddle providing you read the instructions first. Files are saved in the AVI format, which can then be used to e-mail, put on a CD or web site. Quality is as good as a VHS tape, and the sound is crystal clear. Once you have your AVI file, you can use a video editing package and have a bit of fun. Overall It's a gadget, and I love gadgets. If you've limited available space, then it obviously saves the footprint of a TV. I find it handy if I want to catch the news, but can't be bothered to go into another room. During the footie season, I can get the scores on Teletext whenever I want, without causing the wrath of whoever is watching TV at the time. The facility to upload video is an added bonus, and one that I've used a few times.If that's your thing,then this does an awful lot more than a boring capture card. For novelty value, it's OK to watch a TV program, and I suppose if this is all that I had, I wouldn't be so particular, but at the end of the day I still prefer a normal TV. Minimum System Requirements A 166Mhz Pentium or faster with MMX technology and a USB port. Windows98 or Windows2000 A Sound card with LINE IN NOTE: If you are using the WInTV USB on a laptop, it is sometimes necessary to plug in the Audio output from the WinTV to the MIC IN jack on the laptop in order to hear the audio.