Hauppauge Colossus Reviewed

Hauppauge Colossus

If you are looking for something to record HDTV from a cable or satellite set-top box as well as video and audio capture via HDMI, component and S/PDIF, the Hauppuage Colossus (Q&A) might be just what you need. MissingRemote’s very own, Andrew Van Til, has posted a full review over at AnandTech.

When Hauppauge introduced the original HD PVR in 2008 its component plus TOSLINK (optical S/PDIF) capture of 5.1 Dolby Digital and up to 1080i analog video was a revolutionary, and long overdue, shift for the home theater PC (HTPC) based digital video recorder (DVR). Finally there was a viable option for recording DRM-free high definition (HD) content. The device was far from perfect however, suffering from stability (I RMA’d four personally); furthermore, as a large external USB device, it didn’t provide the most appealing form factor for many installations. Today we’re looking at Hauppauge’s second iteration of the HD PVR concept, this time as a standard height PCIe x1 device dubbed Colossus. It offers all of the previous capture options while adding HDMI input to the feature list.

AnandTech

  • I only see this as a viable

    I only see this as a viable option for satellite subscribers.  If you’ve got digital cable or FIOS it just doesn’t make sense to get anything other than the InfiniTV 4 unless you only record shows occasionally and have no need for four tuners.  OTOH, anyone with Windows Media Center and extenders soon realizes that four tuners may not actually be enough.  I’ve always seen the HD-PVR as a last resort device for those that have no other means to record digital content on their HTPC.  The high failure rate for recordings just doesn’t cut it for me.  It just requires too many boxes and the extra expense of renting set top boxes just to get a single channel.  Definitely a niche product.

    • captain_video wrote:I only

      [quote=captain_video]

      I only see this as a viable option for satellite subscribers.

      [/quote]

      It’s one of only two options available for satellite subscribers; both from the same company.  It’s not as though there’s a ton of choices out there.  Then again, there’s only one option for CC.

      [quote]

      I’ve always seen the HD-PVR as a last resort device for those that have no other means to record digital content on their HTPC.  The high failure rate for recordings just doesn’t cut it for me.

      [/quote]

      I can only assume your high failure rate for recordings reference is for the Colossus, since I don’t have that issue with my 2 HD-PVRs.

      [quote]

      Definitely a niche product.

      [/quote]

      A niche product for a niche market?  Who would’ve thunk it!  LOL!

      • skirge01 wrote:I can only

        [quote=skirge01]

        I can only assume your high failure rate for recordings reference is for the Colossus, since I don’t have that issue with my 2 HD-PVRs.

        [/quote]

        If you count missed recordings because the device locked up, the HD PVR has a much higher failure rate.

      • skirge01 wrote:

        I can only

        [quote=skirge01]

        I can only assume your high failure rate for recordings reference is for the Colossus, since I don’t have that issue with my 2 HD-PVRs.

        [/quote]

        I’ve never owned an HD-PVR so I can’t vouch for the failure rate from personal experience. I’m just going by what was stated in the Colossus review.  Once upon a time I used individual set top boxes and S-VHS VCRs to record my programs.  Now that there are integrated options available I could never envision going back to all the clutter that entails from such a configuration.  I’d have to have a minimum of four digital cable tuners or STBs to enjoy the same flexibility I have now.  The cost of four HD-PVRs plus the monthly STB rental puts it beyond what an InfiniTV4 would run.  I just don’t view it as a practical solution, but then I’m not in a position where I’d have to make that choice.  If I had to go back to DirecTV (choke) I’d get their HD DVRs rather than try to kludge a setup with my HTPC.

  • Great review. I Love

    Great review. I Love Anandtech’s site and hit Dailytech..Daily.

    I agree Captain. Accept I am waiting until the end of summer for the SD HDPrime, otherwise I’ll be getting a Ceton. 

    I think for the people that say 4 tunner might not be enough I’d say get a HD Homeruns. I’d imagine some of those channels people need to watch are free over the air. I’m about 50/50 with network TV and pay tv channels

  • congratulations on getting

    congratulations on getting published over at anandtech. i hold their reviews in high regard.

  • Neither of mine lock up.  I

    Neither of mine lock up.  I haven’t had a single issue with them in over a year now.  5.1 audio, 1080i and 720p, max PQ, latest drivers… everything is smooth as butter.  That’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to move to something new at this point.  My sole complaint is the channel change delay being a few seconds.

    • How stable were they in the

      How stable were they in the begining?  I RMA’d four of them before getting one that was mostly stable (it still locks up occasionally).

      • First, I didn’t get them when

        First, I didn’t get them when they were first on the market, so I may have missed the initial issues (overheating issues, I believe).  Second, I did 2 RMA’s, but only one was definitely an issue with the HD-PVR.  The rest of my issues were fixed via various changes in cables, Windows settings, ports, STB settings, etc.  Once those were fixed, the HD-PVRs suddenly became extremely reliable.  Are they temperamental?  I’d have to say they are, but I don’t consider that a “high failure rate” with regard to recordings.

        • It’s partially semantics, and

          It’s partially semantics, and I could have been clearer, but I consider missed/damaged recordings due to a device failure in the same bucket.  The root cause is mostly academic in this context because either way (bad recording or no recording) you get the same result (nothing to watch).  Using that to frame the discussion, the Colossus’s fail rate (while IMO unacceptable) is much (much) better than the HD PVR’s.

          Also, I would classify most of those steps as workarounds (especially if you’re locking a specific resolution from the STB – the most common “fix”).  I’m sure you’ve seen the crazy stuff people do to keep their HD PVRs working on the Sage forums (my favorite is wall timer; so at the very least it gets restarted once a day); how can that not be classified as a high failure rate? 

  • Read into the review a bit,

    Read into the review a bit, really thorough work – as always from Andy. It was interesting to see the Sage Diamond Theme (http://images.anandtech.com/doci/4273/sagetv.jpg). It looks really nice and looks very similar to XBMC’s current default skin, Confluence. 

  • I definitely agree with that

    I definitely agree with that assessment.  I don’t think it’s semantics at all.  However, I don’t believe that wall timers are necessary and locking the STB at certain aspect ratios usually isn’t either.  This is why I don’t consider that a high failure rate.  It’s a workaround for some other issue in the setup.  Cheap cables, perhaps?  USB hubs?  Lengthy cables?  Who knows.  Should I have to stop Windows from allowing a USB port to sleep?  Probably not.  Did I have to?  Honestly, I’m not sure because of all the things I did in the process.

    What I do know is that, once I did everything else, my HD-PVR doesn’t lock up for heat, can record pretty much forever, can handle AC3, handles audio transitions between stereo and AC3, and even aspect ratio changes.  So, was it simply bad cables that caused all my problems?  Maybe.  Because that’s actually a possibility, I can’t say there’s a high failure rate.  It’s a matter of taking my own responsibility in the matter into account.

    That said, should it just work?  Absolutely.  🙂