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Review: Hauppauge PVR 500 MCE
June 30, 2005
Author: Geno Manufacturer: Hauppauge
Department: HTPC-SFF Model: PVR 500 MCE
Article Type: Review Time Spent: 3 months
 
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Introduction




A few weeks back, we posted a review of the Hauppauge PVR-250, and I am going to quote the introduction for that review here:

“Let’s start by briefly going over what a PVR card does. Personal Video Recorders, like the one we are reviewing today, are also called TV capture cards or TV tuner cards. What they do is exactly that--allow you to attach your cable to the back of your PC and tune in TV stations. Beyond that, they let you perform most (if not all and then some) of the functions associated with TIVO. You can pause live TV to answer the door or grab a snack, replay the good parts, or do something else while the system uses scheduled recording to get your shows. You decide what you watch, how you watch it and when--not some studio mogul.”

Hauppauge’s PVR-500MCE does all of the above X 2, and then some. Now you can watch one channel while you record another—or record 2 channels while you're away. It also has an FM radio tuner if you want to listen to or record your favorite Howard Stern, or NPR programs.


Specifications
 
MPEG2 record datarates
2MBit/sec, 4MBit/sec, 6Mbit/sec, 8Mbit/sec, 12Mbit/sec.
Selections for DVD
Standard play (8MBitsec), DVD Long Play (4MBit/sec) and DVD Extra Long Play (2.5MBit/sec)
NTSC format at 29.97fps
Full D1: 720x480, MPEG1: 352x240
PAL format at 25fps
Full D1: 720x576, MPEG1: 352x288
Audio capture formats
32/44.1/48 KHz, 16bit stereo, 192/224/384Kbits/sec
Video digitizer
10 bits Chroma sampling: YUV 4:2:2
Video file format
.MPG
 
Special Features


Dual 125 channel cable ready TV tuners, each with a dbx-TV stereo decoder (Nicam stereo decoder in Europe).

Dual high quality MPEG2 video and audio encoders based on the Conexant -416 MPEG encoder.

One back panel composite/s-video plus stereo audio inputs to connect to cable or satellite set top boxes.

Two on-board A/V headers to connect to two more A/V sources (A/V cable set not included).

One FM radio receiver.


The Card


In the first image above, you can see the dual 125 channel cable ready TV tuners and the FM tuner. In the second image are the dual Conexant-416 MPEG2 hardware video/audio encoders. These beauties take the heavy lifting off of your CPU. In the same image, you can also see two on-board A/V headers you can use to connect two additional A/V sources; however, if you want to use these, additional A/V cable sets are required. You can find those here.

The last image is of the backplane connectors. At the left is a coaxial connector for the included FM antenna. The Coaxial connector to the right is for your TV signal input. One cable will run both tuners. Still moving right, we have a composite connector, and the familiar yellow/white/red of RCA connectors. As you can see, that’s a full load of connection choices. In fact, all the connection choices lead to the only slight problem.
 
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