Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 Review

Posted: Nov 20 2006, 12:00am CST | by , Updated: Aug 10 2010, 9:03am CDT , in Peripheral

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 Review


The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 is a USB TV tuner that turns your PC & display into a TV with Tivo like PVR capabilities. The cool part about using a USB TV tuner like this is that you don’t have to open your computer up and the TV tuner can be used on a notebook as well.

You must have a vacant USB 2.0 port for the WinTV-HVR-950 to work; it will not function on a USB 1.1 port. Hauppauge also included an antenna that will allow you to pick up ATSC HD over-the-air HD TV signals on your PC. The antenna is small at about six inches high and has a magnetic base to secure to metal surfaces. The HD receiver portion allows you receive HD signals in up to 1080i format. You can also connect your cable or antenna to the WinTV-HVR-950 to watch normal programming as well.

Recording of both HD and SD programming is supported via the included software. The Win-TV scheduler software allows you to set your favorite shows to record each time they come on. Hauppauge reports that when you record via their SoftPVR software in MPEG-2 analog TV recordings will consume 1.5GB of disk space per hour. ATSC digital recordings will take 1 to 5GB of space per hour depending on the broadcast ATSC format.

Several of my local affiliates for the big channels like NBC and ABC broadcast ATSC signal I can pick up at my home. After plugging the WinTV-HVR-950 into my PC and installing the software, I first started using the included HD antenna. After running the built in scan application to automatically find available channels I ended up with five local ATSC HD choices. Thanks to my more rural local, only one of them had sufficient signal strength to have a decent picture.

The video looked fantastic on my PC display, though if I ran it full screen the video had noticeable streaking and tearing to it and was generally pixilated and just didn’t look good. Ran at the default window size the video looked fantastic though.

WinTV-HVR-950 Image

WinTV2000 Software Screen Shot

After using the antenna, I connected the coax cable from my Dish Network box to the WinTV-HVR-950 and again ran the scan function. The way Dish Network receivers are set up only one channel was found and I was able to watch all the satellite channels on my PC.

The video quality wasn’t as good with my digital satellite signal for some reason. Every resolution and channel had noticeable tears in the picture and was pixilated. So long as the image on screen wasn’t moving it was fine, but if the camera moved in the scene it just didn’t look good.

The PVR feature was very easy to use and required a simple click of the record button to start digitally recording the show on screen. Overall, I really liked the WinTV-HVR-950 for over-the-air recording and TV watching, but when it came to my satellite channels, I was disappointed with the picture quality.



  • Easy installation and set up
  • Great ATSC HD picture quality
  • PVR functionality is great

  • Poor image quality with coax input

If you mostly want a USB TV tuner for watching ATSC over-the-air HD signals the WinTV-HVR-950 is fantastic. If like me you want to watch programs from your satellite or cable provider, I wasn’t happy with the image quality in this instance. In short, ATSC HD over-the-air is good; programming from satellite coax is bad.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Tech and Car expert Shane McGlaun (Google) reports about what's new in these two sectors. His extensive experience in testing cars, computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.




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