A low-cost dual tuner - the software isn't great, but that won't be a problem for those with access to Windows Media Center.
TV tuners have been rather sidelined in recent years due to the increasing popularity of catch-up services such as the BBC’s iPlayer. Watching TV programmes on demand via broadband is convenient. However, streaming TV shows can soon use up your download allowance, and quality is usually below broadcast standards.
Hauppauge’s WinTV-Nova-TD is a USB stick with twin Freeview tuners, so you can record one channel while watching another. The two tuners can also be used together in Diversity mode to improve reception.
Diversity mode is particularly useful if you need to use the included mini antennas. However, even then good reception isn’t guaranteed. The aerials have both magnetic and suction cup bases, to help you place them in the optimal position. The supplied mini remote is poor, though, with lots of identical-looking buttons.
The supplied WinTV 6 software is essentially a re-skinned version of the company’s ageing WinTV 2000 application. It can’t even deal with both tuners simultaneously, and the EPG is a separate web-based application that lacks key features, like series link recording. Thankfully you can download the new WinTV 7 from Hauppauge’s site. This is a single program with multiple tuner support and a built-in EPG, which is laid out in our preferred timeline format. It’s a far better choice, although we did find it a little unstable and there’s still no series link recording.
Thankfully, the Nova-TD works perfectly with Windows Media Center, which is by far the best option, though there’s no support for diversity tuning. If you don’t have Media Center on your PC but want to use it to watch TV, then it alone justifies the upgrade price to Windows 7 Home Premium. The software for XP and for diversity use isn’t great, but its low price makes this dual tuner a good buy for Media Center users.
|Video recording format