Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hauppauge HD-PVR Component Video Recorder Delayed


The Hauppauge HD-PVR device which was originally to be available by March 31st and then "April or May" and now Hauppauge sales is saying the device "should hit the market toward the end of May, early June."  Another tidbit I've picked up is that the HD-PVR will not initially be compatible with Microsoft Media Center, but Hauppauge is working on Media Center support and hopes to have MC support sometime summer 2008.  I'm expecting to see support for this device in both SageTV and BeyondTV since representatives from both of those companies have mentioned the device and seem to understand the extra capability it would bring to their software programs.  The thing that makes Media Center support more difficult is the fact that there is currently no Vista Native support for h.264 which would be required.  My guess is that we'll see h.264 support on Vista Media Center with the next release as they roll out the DirectTV Card support that according to a post on Chris Lanier's blog is rumored to be inching closer along with the codename fiji update.

The Hauppauge HD-PVR is a device that will let us record digital television straight from any component video output like a cable box, satellite box or even that HD  (read more on the Hauppauge HD-PVR recorder here). 

Why is this device so exciting?   Any analog video out of your typical HD set-top box has been termed the "Analog Hole". This term was coined by those in the industry as one way people could get HD content isn't protected from being copied or moved in any way.  The HDMI digital connection that are quickly becoming the standard do protect the content so component out was the only loophole.

Thus far, it has been nearly impossible to record encrypted digital channels (think ESPN HD or HBO etc) to your Home Theater PC unless you have purchased a pre-configured, Microsoft Vista Media Center computer that has CableCard tuner/s pre-installed.  This was expensive and inflexible - especially if you prefer other HTPC programs such as SageTV, Beyond TV, GBPVR, Media Portal, Meedios or MythTV.  With this device, if it works as expected we'll be able to plug it into the outgoing component outputs of any HD device such as a cable box then tune and record that HD content.