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CES 2008: Hauppauge

Posted by: John at 1/12/2008 8:59 AM
Hauppauge was my first appointment on Wednesday and as you probably know they specialize in TV products for the computer. At the booth they had a few of their already released products and some new ones with one very special gem coming soon.

The replacement for the great PVR-500 MCE card is the WinTV-HVR-2250. This dual tuner PCI-E card is compatible with analog, ATSC, and QAM signals and features a built in MPEG-2 encoder for recording TV with low CPU usage. Of course, there’s also the option to receive FM radio with the card. For those with low height cases, there’s also a half height bracket as well. The WinTV-HVR-2250 is expected in February with a retail price of $139.

The WinTV-HVR-1950 replaces the old WinTV-PVR-USB2 and features a smaller box. The unit also receives analog, ATSC, and QAM signals as well. For controlling set top boxes, the product lets you use an IR blaster. Finally, FM radio is supported as well.

Those with laptops will find the WinTV-HVR-950Q a nice product. It’s a small USB stick and adds QAM support over the WinTV-HVR-950. The remote can be stowed away in a spare PCMCIA slot which is a nice little touch. Price on the this one will be $99 available in January.

Without a doubt the highlight of the booth was their HD PVR. This external box features component inputs and will allow you to record HD content right to your computer at 1080P. With onboard h.264 hardware encoder, you’ll be able to record HD content without taxing your computer’s CPU. It also records to AVCHD specifications so you can burn it onto a DVD and play it on a Blu-Ray player. There’s also an IR blaster option for the box so if you want to interface with a cable box or a Dish box you can do it with the plug-in attachment. The software that will ship with the product lets you change the bit rate from 1MB/s to 24MB/s and you’ll also be able to schedule recordings as well. A few months after release, Hauppauge will release a free add-on for Windows Media Center 2005 and Windows Vista so you can control the box through Microsoft’s interface. The unit on the show floor was recording one the Bourne movies at the time. I was then shown the NY Giants/Tampa Bay playoff game recorded from an OTA HD broadcast and the picture was incredible. People like me who want control of their recordings will definitely be interested in this product. It will retail for $250 and I’m anxious to get my hands on this little device when it comes out.

After the tour, the HD PVR is the one product that I’m really looking forward to. I’ll probably also pick up the WinTV-HVR-2250 to replace my aging PVR-500 MCE cards. Overall, it was a nice quick tour and one very exciting upcoming product from Hauppauge.