Capture Cards


Senior Member
Any recommendations on capture cards? Hauppague looks good (and what many people choose), but its not real clear on some of the differences between some of the cards:

the 350 is billed as their highest end card, but it is not listed as MCE based model or if it is compatible.

the 500 seems to be the highest model number with dual tuners. Is it a 250 with 2 tuners? If so is the 350 the right one?

It also seemed that the 350 had onboard decoders as well.

If I wanted to build a MCE system, which one is recommended (assuming they are the right company to get one from)?
If you go with the Hauppauge PVR series, you should be safe. The PVR-350 will work fine with MCE, it's just that MCE can't utilize its onboard decoder (since the PVR-250 etc don't have them), so it's a waste of money to buy the 350 for just MCE. I would recommend looking at the PVR-150MCE as well, since it's so cheap. The 500 is the only dual tuner Hauppauge PVR series card which works with MCE.
That's great, thank you.

One more question: I have cable currently, and I'm guessing I have to use s-video in and a ir blaster type setup to get anything higher than channel 125. I've seen reference to taking inputs that way, but not on the channel changing. Do you have any experience with this? (or perhaps I'm looking at it the wrong way, but it seems similar to how Tivo is setup in order to avoid the tuning issue)
I am not sure if I understand the question. When you have the MCE remote + Transceiver, there are 2 mini jacks on the back of the receiver, which allows you to plug in emitters to control your cable box. MCE knows how to change the channels etc. Keep in mind that if you go with 2 tuners, they need to be configured identically,which means you need 2 cable boxes if you want to go that route.
You answered my question, I had not looked at the transceiver/remote in detail so missed that it had the emitters. This makes perfect sense now.

Now if only someone made a tv card with component in, we could bypass the HD silliness...

Thanks for the feedback, I'm working on repurposing another PC to be a media center PC. Per your earlier thought, Meedio looks interesting as well, but at worst I can try that out as well, but the rock solid nature of MCE probably leads to better WAF...
Ok, since you brought up the remote (and I think I saw that you have a Gyration keyboard and mouse) do you recommend the Gyration keyboard and mouse/remote as the remote?

I have the OS, but did not get it with a remote (which the Gyration would cover if that is the right one to get).
You need the remote/transceiver combo if you want to use an external cable box, and while the Gyration remote works ok, I would still recommend the regular MCE remote. Another reason is to get the MCE remote/transceiver is because I don't think you can get around the remote detection mechanism in MCE 2005 (unless someone figured out a work around recently), since the Gyration doesn't show up as a real remote (it's RF based, not IR).