Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T USB2 TV tuner - First Impressions

Susanna and I don't watch a lot of TV and our new place doesn't have much space so we decided not to get a TV. My wonderful girlfriend does however suffer from chronic CSI addiction. Its about the only show she'd miss. I decided to investigate a TV tuner card for my notebook.

After a bit of research I decided to go with a free-to-air digital (DVB-T) tuner. The UK has quite a few free digital channels available and all the analog stations are also available on digital. Also, the reception will be much better being digital and all.

I ended up settling on the Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T USB2 because it's cheap (50 quid), easily available and has drivers in the mainline Linux kernel that ships with Fedora Core 4. Its a box that plugs in to the roof antenna cable and a USB port on your computer. It also an IR receiver for the included remote control.

I messed around trying to get it work for a little bit in Linux. The driver loaded fine once I put the device firmeware in the correct place but I wasn't able to figure out how to get tvtime to actually show anything. I'm close to having it work but I wanted to make sure the hardware was actually functioning so ...

... I booted into Windows. The drivers and software worked well. I was able to autoscan the channels immediately. They all get named nicely because (I assume) the name is transmitted as part of the channel. The watching software uses its own GUI toolkit so it took a little while to get used to but it works well. I tested remote and scheduling software. No problems there at all.

With a bit of luck CSI shall record properly tonight. We won't be around to watch it because are meeting one of Susanna's friends for dinner. Hopefully the resident CSI junkie will get her fix :)

I will try finishing the Linux/Fedora setup in the next couple of days and will post more detailed instructions then.


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