Hauppauge has gone and made the HD-PVR all official like with its very own product page. Below you will find the specs for what is considered the Holy Grail of the DIY HTPC builder.
This will have a huge impact for HTPC software, such as SageTV, that choose to support this software. No longer will you have to go directly to Microsoft to tune premium content from cable or DirectTV. It is rumored this product will no be supported by VMC upon launch but sometime in the summer of 2008.
I suspect we will see a resurgence of DIY HTPC builders once this hits the market.
- Built-in hardware H.264 high definition encoder, for high performance, high quality TV recordings
- Record at HD 1080i resolution, 720p or VGA/D1
- Record at datarates from 1Mbs to 13.5Mbs, Constant and Variable Bit-Rate
format AVCHD recordings, so you can burn your TV recordings onto a
standard DVD disk (up to 2 hours of video at 5MBits/sec) and playback
on Blu-ray DVD players
- Includes high definition video player, so you can playback recordings to PC screen
- Audio / Video loop through enabling HD Viewing and Capture at the same time
- High Performance Noise Reduction Function
- NTSC,PAL and SECAM Support
- IR receiver for remote control
- IR Blaster to change the TV channels in your set top box
HTPC Hardware required
The H.264 Codec is pretty CPU intensive and can bring an older system to its knees. There are a couple of ways around this. The first is to upgrade your CPU. You will want at a minimum a fast C2D or Phenom CPU to play back the files and even then you are looking at greater then 50% CPU usage. Though fine for singular file playback, other tasks such as concurrent recordings may cause speed issues.
The alternative, and the one I would recommend, would be to upgrade your video card to one that completely offloads H.264 playback from the CPU. At a minimum I would recommend the 3450/2600XT and above from ATI and 8600GT/8800GT/9600GT from Nvidia. Some higher end cards do not offer hardware H.264 decode, Matt has a blog post coming out later this week that will fill you in on all the gory details.