Hauppauge has fitted two digital DVB-T tuners inside its Nova-TD tuner, which probably explains the relatively chunky nature of this USB device.

It measures 31mm wide, which might cause problems with neighbouring ports unless you use the supplied USB extension cable.

Signal problems

There are two small MCX ports on one side of the tuner which can be used in two distinct ways. You can use a supplied Y cable to split the signal from the aerial on your roof to feed both DVB-T tuners, in which case you can watch one channel while recording another.

Alternatively, you can connect the two portable antennas that Hauppauge supplies to the two ports in a bid to boost the signal from these traditionally feeble pieces of hardware.

When both antennas feed a single DVB-T tuner, it is called Diversity mode with the switch from Dual Tuner Mode and back being handled by a piece of software called the Diversity Applet.

The fact of the matter is that we had no success with the portable antennas and couldn't receive a signal. This didn't come as a great surprise as single portable antennas have always fared poorly in
this area.

Comprehensive software package

The Diversity Applet is accompanied by ten more pieces of software starting with the main Hauppauge WinTV v6 application and also includes help files, a channel manager, a background recording service, a scheduler, the IR remote application, MPEG software decoders, a seven-day EPG, Teletext and a user manual.

The software works well enough, but WinTV looks incredibly basic these days and has long been overshadowed by Windows Media Centre. We wouldn't consider using it as our TV application, especially considering that MCE is an integral part of Vista.

The dual-tuners in the Hauppauge Nova-TD are highly desirable, but the dual-antennas and software add very little to the value of the package.