Although I already have a DVD Recorder which I use to record TV programs, the interface software is very confusing to use. Whenever I want to record a show, it always takes me 15-20 minutes just to remember how to do it! In addition, I could never figure out how to conveniently take the recorded video and get it on my Desktop PC for converting to WMV format for my Zune.
As a result, I’ve decided to take the plunge into the world of Personal Video Recording by buying a TV Tuner Card for my Windows Vista Desktop System. My intent, is to record my favorite shows for either playback on my Desktop PC screen or for conversion to WMV format for my Zune.
The TV Tuner card that I selected was the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 150 MCE, which I purchased from NewEgg.com for $69.99 (free shipping). I chose this tuner card, since it has a hardware MPEG encoder built into the card. This is different from some of the cheaper tuner cards which use the host computer’s CPU for MPEG encoding using software. Having the encoder being processed on the card directly saves CPU cycles for my Desktop PC. In addition, the freeware software called GB-PVR requires hardware MPEG encoding to function properly.
My intent is to use this PVR-150 tuner card with either the freeware software GB-PVR or with Windows Media Center on my Vista system. Both are currently available to me, and both seem full feature packages. My biggest concern, is having software that will be easy to use and will run in the background on my system to record TV shows. Some of the cheaper software solutions requires the recording application to be running in the foreground and in some cases, the video is capture directly off the main display buffer on the screen. This would be very impractical for me, since I may need to use my Desktop PC at the same time as when I’m recording.
So stay tuned, as I’ll post my trials and tribulations with personal video recording!