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17th-Jun-2007 06:04 pm
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http://lunapark6.com/usb-hdtv-tuner-stick-for-windows-linux-hauppauge-wintv-hvr-950.html

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USB HDTV Tuner Stick for Windows & Linux (Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950)

Written by luna6

hvr950.jpg

Hauppauge has released a fairly nifty USB 2.0 tv tuner stick, about the size of a lighter, that can receive free over the air HDTV and analog cable tv signals. The product also includes a very handy mini HDTV antenna that is capable of receiving high definition broadcasts within a 10 mile radius of a high definition broadcast tower. You could as an example, attach the included mini antenna to the HVR-950 and then plug it in to your laptop to watch HDTV broadcasts while you are sitting in a coffee shop or in an airport terminal. A cd-rom also comes with the product which includes drivers for Windows and software for television viewing & recording in Windows. I must say that for a suggested retail price of $99, the WinTV-HVR-950 provides quite a good deal. The icing on the cake is that the HVR-950 works just as good in Linux. Toread the review click the “Read the rest of this entry” link.

WinTV-HVR-950 hybrid TV stick features:

*Watch analog cable TV or the new ATSC HD digital TV on your PC or laptop screen! ATSC HD is the over-the-air high definition TV standard for North America.
*No need to open your PC: just plug into your USB 2.0 port. Note: will not work with USB 1.1
*Includes Hauppauge’s WinTV2000 application to watch and record TV, in a window or full screen. If you live in an area where you can receive both digital and analog TV, you can switch between analog and digital channels automatically.
*Includes WinTV-Scheduler, so you can record your favorite TV programs on a daily, weekly or once only schedule.

Digital ATSC HD TV features:

*ATSC over-the-air digital TV receiver built-in. Supports all ATSC formats, up to the high definition 1080i format!
*Record ATSC digital TV to your PC’s hard disk using high quality MPEG-2. ATSC digital TV recordings will typically consume from 1 to 5 Gb of disk space per hour, depending upon the TV broadcasters ATSC format.

Analog TV features:

*Analog cable TV receiver built-in. Will also work with TV antenna.
*Record analog TV shows to your PC’s hard disk using our SoftPVR™ MPEG-2 encoder. Analog TV recordings will typically consume 1.5 Gb of disk space per hour.

hvr950_with_cable.jpg

In Windows, the product generally worked well, although there were a few caveats. As the manual states, if you plug this device into a different USB port on your computer you will have to reinstall the drivers. Once you have installed the drivers for all the different ports, then you should not have to reinstall the drivers again. If you plug the device into the same USB port then reinstallation of the drivers are not necessary. As a slight understatement, I would say that their solution is less than ideal.

Another negative about the product is the WinTV2000 software that comes with the HVR-950. I found the software to be buggy, ugly, and quite a pain to use. The problems I had with the WinTV2000 software was with the software’s ability (or lack of ability) to view HDTV signals. On one of the more common channels in my area, WWL-TV, the video size would not show correctly and there would be video distortion on the screen. You can view image #2 on the screenshots below to see for yourself. Although all the channels did not exhibit this behavior, the channels that did have this problem made the software unwatchable. Furthermore, I did have the software crash on me on a few occasions. An easy way around this problem is to install (and purchase) 3rd party software for TV viewing, like Snapstream’s BeyondTV. Once I had installed BeyondTV, I was impressed with the HVR-950’s picture quality. Unfortunately, BeyondTV is not free, so unless you have already purchased the program (like I did), then you will have to pay more money for software to work with the WinTV-HVR-950.

Some of the aspects of the HVR-950 that did impress me were the dimunuitive size of the USB tuner, its included mini HDTV antenna, video quality of HDTV while using BeyondTV, and it’s fairly inexpensive price of $99. As stated earlier, Hauppage’s HVR-950 is capable of receiving FREE over the air HDTV signals and analog cable signals. This product is not compatible with digital cable service, which is no big deal for me because I do not subscribe to such service.

CPU usage on my setup computer (AMD X2 4400, 1 gig of ram, Nvidia 6600 GT) ran in the 15%-25% for HDTV viewing. The picture quaity for HDTV was nothing short of amazing. As an example, the difference in visual quality between a DVD and HDTV is like the difference between cassettes and compact discs. Furthermore, over the air HDTV is free in cost and you do not need to subscribe to any pay service to view such broadcasts. Also, note that the tuner does not provide hardware encoding, so for standard cable television viewing, you should have a reasonably modern cpu for optimal software encoding.

A neat “trick” you can do with the HVR-950 is that if you want to receive both free “over the air” HDTV broadcasts and analog cable televsion broadcasts, without having to swap connections, you can use a passive coaxial cable tv splitter and reverse the connections, thus combining the signals. This procedure would require you to plug in the HDTV antenna cable to one of the “outputs” on the splitter and plug in the cable tv coaxial cable into the other “output” on the splitter. Then, plug in a coaxial cable from the “input” on the splitter into the HVR-950’s coax input jack. You can now have the best of both worlds without having to switch cables between over the air HDTV broadcasts and analog cable broadcasts.

The included mini HDTV antenna is a passive (unamplified) antenna that works within a 10 mile radius of a high definition broadcast tower. To see how far away you live from HDTV broadcast towers, you should visit AntennaWeb.org. If you live further than 10 miles from the broadcast towers or have tall buildings surrounding your home, then you should look into purchasing another antenna that antennaweb.org recommends.
wintv2000-600.jpg

wintv2000-02-600.jpg

beyondtv-600.jpg

beyondtv2-600.jpg

beyondtv3-600.jpg

Since I don’t use Windows very much, I was more interested in the HVR-950’s Linux capabilities. I wasn’t sure if it would work in Linux, but after doing some research and experimentation, I am happy to report that the HVR-950 can work in Linux with MythTV! The Hauppage HVR-950 is based on Empia’s EM2880 chipset and with the proper modules loaded, the HVR-950 works without any major problems in Linux.

For Ubuntu’s Feisty Fawn :

sudo su

apt-get install mercurial linux-headers-$(uname -r) linux-source build-essential

cd /lib/firmware

wget http://konstantin.filtschew.de/v4l-firmware/firmware_v4.tgz

tar xvzf firmware_v4.tgz

hg clone http://mcentral.de/hg/~mrec/v4l-dvb-experimental

cd v4l-dvb-experimental

make

make install

reboot

sudo modprobe em2880-dvb

If on the next reboot, the card stops working the em2880-dvb module is not being loaded properly in Feisty. To fix this :

cd /etc/modprobe.d
sudo gedit dvbstick

then add this line to the new dvbstick file :
install em28xx /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install em28xx; /bin/sleep 2; /sbin/modprobe em2880-dvb

reboot and it should be back up and running.

—————————————————————————————————–
For Ubuntu’s Edgy Eft :

sudo su

apt-get install mercurial linux-headers-$(uname -r) linux-source build-essential

cd /lib/firmware

wget http://konstantin.filtschew.de/v4l-firmware/firmware_v4.tgz

tar xvzf firmware_v4.tgz

hg clone http://mcentral.de/hg/~mrec/v4l-dvb-kernel


cd v4l-dvb-kernel

make

make install

reboot

sudo modprobe em2880-dvb

If on the next reboot, the card stops working the em2880-dvb module is not being loaded properly in Edgy. To fix this :

cd /etc/modprobe.d
sudo gedit dvbstick

then add this line to the new dvbstick file :
install em28xx /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install em28xx; /bin/sleep 2; /sbin/modprobe em2880-dvb

reboot and it should be back up and running.

—————————————————————————————————–
For Fedora Core 6 :

You should first make sure you have the development tools installed. Applications —> Add / Remove Software —>Development —> Development Tools.

su -

yum install mercurial

cd /lib/firmware

wget http://konstantin.filtschew.de/v4l-firmware/firmware_v4.tgz

tar xvzf firmware_v4.tgz

hg clone http://mcentral.de/hg/~mrec/v4l-dvb-kernel


cd v4l-dvb-kernel

make

make install

reboot

sudo modprobe em2880-dvb

If on reboot, the card stops working the em2880-dvb module is not being loaded properly in FC6. To fix this :

cd /etc/modprobe.d
sudo gedit dvbstick

then add this line to the new dvbstick file :

install em28xx /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install em28xx; /bin/sleep 2; /sbin/modprobe em2880-dvb

From there I just had to add the new tuner to MythTV via mythtv-setup in Ubuntu Edgy Eft and then the Hauppage HVR-950 worked smoothly in Linux with MythTV & ATSC HDTV (Although, I could never get the unit to play analog cable tv channels).

mythtv-hvr950-setup.jpg

mythtv-hvr-950.jpg

mythtv-hvr-950-01.jpg

mythtv-hvr-950-02.jpg

To wrap up this review of the HVR-950 I will say that the device is ideal for people looking for a small and inexpensive tv tuner, capable of HDTV reception and works well in both Windows and Linux. The caveat is that the included software (WinTV2000) worked poorly. If you are strictly a Windows user and do not want to purchase additional tv software, then you may want to look for another device which includes better software & drivers. The bundled application for Windows (WinTV2000) was an eyesore and quite buggy for viewing HDTV programs. However, the HVR-950 did work great with 3rd party tv software and worked great in Linux as well. I had no problems using the HVR-950 with Snapstream’s BeyondTV in Windows and with MythTV in Linux. Also, since the USB tuner is about the size of a lighter and comes with a mini HDTV antenna, this is a very handy gadget to take along with your laptop on trips & vacations. With the WinTV-HVR-950 and the included mini antenna, and as long as you are within 10 miles from a HDTV broadcasting tower, you can watch free HDTV programming on your laptop while you are sitting in a cafe or in a airport terminal. That’s not bad for $99 bucks!

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Comments
49 Responses to “USB HDTV Tuner Stick for Windows & Linux (Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950)”

Pages: [4] 3 2 1 » Show All

1.
49
wanton Says:
June 17th, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Thanks for responding to my question Sargate. I actually tried the sox command again and it magically worked. It worked after I reinstalled the hvr-950 using v4 firmware instead of v3. I also didn’t plug in the hvr-950 until after I finished the installation of the modules if that makes any difference. I still haven’t found another way to get sound besides using the sox command but i’ll let you know if I do. Thanks.
2.
48
Sargate Says:
June 17th, 2007 at 12:00 am

wanton, did you try to go to sound properties and increase all the aux, video and other stuff volume?
3.
47
wanton Says:
June 16th, 2007 at 1:35 pm

I still am unable to get analogue sound working in ubuntu fiesty. Video works fine. I’ve tried using the sox command but all it does is show an output buffer that keeps increasing but never gets the sound to work. I executed the command with xawtv running and then with tvtime. Neither would give me sound. I’m fairly new to linux, so I was wondering if there are some configuration commands or directories that I need to create for sox to pick up the right audio channel. I am running on a sony vaio pcg-grz110 laptop with a tascam us122 sound card that works well in other sound applications (music cd’s, bootup sounds). I am using the hvr-950. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have run out of things to try.
4.
46
Sargate Says:
June 15th, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Thank you so very much!!!!
I bought this tuner only for your article.
My only problem is the sound, only works with the solution of xgabo:
sox -r 48000 -w -c 2 -t ossdsp /dev/dsp1 -t ossdsp /dev/dsp

Is ther any other way to do it?

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