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Hauppage WinTV Nova TD 500 review

The WinTV Nova TD 500 proves that PCI still has life left in it

Our Verdict

If you want to watch or record Freeview on your PC, then this is one of the more elegant solutions around

For

  • Fast tuning
  • Easy setup
  • Can record TV

Against

  • No analogue support

When you've got a desktop machine with a spare PCI slot, an internal TV like the WinTV Nova TD 500 PCI card really is the most elegant solution going.

The Elgato Eye TV Sat demands an external power brick, a USB cable, an external aerial and a good few inches of desk space. In contrast the WinTV Nova requires only the signal source, though to use the remote you do need to make a slight concession and run the included IR receiver cable from the rear of your PC to the front.

Installation is astonishingly simple once you've crossed the hurdle of inserting the card into the depths of your PC – we had it up and running in 10 measly minutes, and there's a half-height bracket included for the sort of slim under-TV computer case that's crying out for this very card.

Hauppague's WinTV software is, after experiencing the horrors of Terratec's effort, refreshingly decent; select your local transmitter and it seeks out the relevant DVB multiplexes in seconds. We found WinTV far quicker than Windows Media Center in this respect.

It's easy to use, too. Creating recordings is very straightforward, managing them equally so, and the EPG is very well presented.

Analogue is dead

Hardware-wise it's a simple package: a twin-tuner Freeview (DVB-T) setup accepting a single aerial input. It's digital only, and when compared with a dedicated Freeview box on the same antenna, it appears highly capable in terms of signal strength.

Analogue TV hasn't long left so the lack of support isn't exactly a problem, but it does mean you won't be able to make use of a cheeky RF link from, say, your cable box, in order to record non-digital signals on your PC.

The WinTV Nova TD 500 is also showing its age: it's about to be made slightly obsolete by the introduction of cards supporting the MPEG-4 format favoured by UK Freeview HD broadcasts.

We would suggest holding on for a true HD-capable card, but you might have a long wait; manufacturers don't seem to be rushing them to market.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeTV Tuner
Product FamilyWinTV NOVA-T
Video SystemDVB
Brand NameHauppauge
FunctionsTV Tuning, Digital TV Receiver, Video Recording, Radio Receiver
Host InterfacePCI
Product SeriesNOVA-T
ManufacturerHauppauge Computer Works
Product ModelNOVA-T-500
Product NameWinTV-NOVA-T-500 TV Tuner
Product LineWinTV
Manufacturer Part Number00289
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hauppauge.com
Marketing Information

WinTV-NOVA-T-500 is a high sensitivity dual DVB-T receiver. Connect a digital TV aerial to the WinTV-NOVA-T-500, and you can watch and record DVB-T digital TV on your PC, in a window or full screen. With the dual digital tuners on WinTV-NOVA-T-500, you can record one digital TV channel while watching another. Or record two digital TV programmes at once!