If you only had 5 minutes to purchase a CableCARD device for your PC which one would you choose?

Feb 14 2012
SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 3 tuner
28% (129 votes)
SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 6 tuner
12% (56 votes)
Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe
42% (192 votes)
Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB
8% (36 votes)
Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650
1% (3 votes)
What's CableCard?
2% (7 votes)
I can't decide anything in 5 minutes
7% (30 votes)
I still can't I have satellite, so sad
1% (3 votes)
Total votes: 456


I am looking to see how much people know about all of those devices.. 

I have two InfiniTV4 PCIe (one shared from WHS2011 box, one dedicated to HTPC), but voted "I can't decide anything in 5 minutes."  Mostly because I really can't, but also because I like the concept of a pure network based device (Silicon Dust product), but I haven't heard the definitive story on how stable their drivers are.  Assuming the SD product is solid, I might have gone that route if it was available when I purchased my Ceton products.

I chose the InfiniTV PCIe (at least I think I did, I don't see any results), which is what I have right now.  Frankly, I think that it would depend on your needs and your setup more than anything.  Can't say I'm a fan of the 6 tuner Prime, though.  The last thing that I want is to have to pay for another cablecard, but I understand why they did it.

I just bought a Prime 3 tuners and I am 3 days in and so far it has been great.. I have no issues besides not working on setup and the tech came out and boosted my signal and works much better now... They told me that their M-Cards only do 2 channels and they were surprised that I could have three streams coming from it at once..

I will let you know in a few weeks if I have any issues... But right now my Commercial Skip is having a hard time keeping up.... but that is the only problem..

I own both the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 3 tuner and the Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe, the home run prime is faster tuning easier to configure and is very stable.  My vote goesto the  HDHomeRun Prime.

Where's the option for "none of these work with my satellite service"?  Wink

Added.. option.

LOL!  I honestly wasn't expecting that to be an option.  I figured the poll wasn't aimed at the apparent minorities.  Wink

I own a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 6 tuner and paid the initial release price but in reality I very rarely have more than 3 streams going, so in retrospect, the Prime 3 is the better value for most especially with the price drop that it is today. Its just as easy to buy a second Prime 3 if needed. Works very well with my HTPCs and iPad, just wished that it could expand to Roku & Boxee for live streams (Plex works so-so in the middle for recorded shows). 

I've owned a Ceton InfiniTV4 PCIe since July 2011 and stuck with that in my vote, as I haven't investigated the competing products in detail yet. The only quibbles I have w/ the Ceton are that I wish tuning was a bit faster, and that I wish sharing tuners on the network was quicker to set up or modify. Not sure what the experience is like for the SD products, or even the USB product from Ceton.

I can say that I am pleased with Ceton's support. In the HTPC build that uses the InfiniTV4 PCIe, I was having a lot of 'Weak Signal' errors in WMC which were not actually due to weak signals. Even though the problem wasn't at all w/ their product, Ceton's support stuck with me and kept offering troubleshooting ideas, tips, and even preview versions of firmware / driver updates until I found the solution. In my case, it turned out to be a bad HDD (which was also brand new). All too often, I've had support experiences where once they feel the problem's not with their hardware, the vendor closes the incident and cuts you loose. This experience was refreshingly different.

I like my Ceton PCIe for the most. Tuning time doesn't matter much too me since I watch 90 percent of my TV time shifted. Heat is my biggest issue. When I get 2-3 shows being tuned and I am watching recorded tv the fans spin up as loud as an original XBOX. It is due for a cleaning and maybe some fan alterations.

So I probably should have waited for the external USB tuner.

It would be the Ceton, and I MIGHT go USB if I didn't know what machine this was going in. Otherwise, its their PCI-E card, no doubt about it.

I'll take whichever one you're paying for...   otherwise I'd to go with SiliconDust.  I love the idea of putting the CableCard tuner, both my HDHomeruns, and cable modem in the attic by the cable line entry and not having to deal with COAX inside my place.  Effectively eliminating one type of cable from my home has a certain appeal to it.

I guess I've been fortunate, in that I've never noticed any heat-related issues w/ the Ceton. Also haven't noted any unusually high temps when I've bothered checking, even when all four tuners are in use. Luckily the new WMC plug-in makes that sort of thing really easy to check w/o dropping out to the desktop to run the diagnostic tool.

Had to choose the SiliconDust HD Prime 3-tuner.. since that is what I have ;)  My main reason is that I'm all about virtualization these days and virtualized my SageTV server (as well as the other various "servers" I had running).  Having it on the network with my old HDHomeRun v1 dual tuner allows my SageTV VM to v-motion between ESXi hosts without skipping a beat.  Plus, I can put both tuners up in the my master closet where the cable comes into the house to get them as close to a clean signal source as possible.

 I love the idea of putting the CableCard tuner, both my HDHomeruns, and cable modem in the attic by the cable line entry and not having to deal with COAX inside my place.  Effectively eliminating one type of cable from my home has a certain appeal to it.

This is exactly why I went with the Prime.

I have the hauppauge. i have no real complaints, but all things other things being equal (and obviously they arent) I would rather have the 6 tuner SD network tuner, or infiniTV PCIe. SD is the most versatile, but it would be nice not having to have another AC adapter around my system.

I like the Prime simply because it acts more like a TV gateway similar to a cable modem.  Less cables and less heat are two more benefits.

I am however seriously considering Ceton's future offering of the Q and Echo for similar reasons and the added benefit of little to no maintenance.  I love this hobby but is getting difficult to constantly address "TV" and PCs.

Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe
No question on this.

I really like Ceton's products.

I own the Hauppauge, but I voted for the PCIe Ceton just because I'd much rather have an internal solution. The Hauppauge was way cheaper though so that's what ended up being the deciding factor. However if SiliconDust had an internal solution, that's the brand I'd prefer most of the three.

I impulse bought the SD 3 tuner box last week at Microcenter. Being the most flexible usage wise and cost were the deciding factors. They also had the Ceton PCIe and Hauppage USB CableCard tuners, but I felt three tuners at $200 with the flexibility of the network solution was the best for my setup.

I went with the SiliconDust mostly because I've had one for almost 2 months now and I can honestly say it's great.  I had been thinking about doing a htpc for about 2 years and just assumed I'd use the InfiniTV.  But then this product came out and the idea of have any computer on the network access the tuners without having to leave a PC on all the time was very appealing.  It was extremely easy to set up with FiOS, maybe took me a half hour.  On the hardwired PC connection it's been 98% stable with an occasion hiccup or slowdown of stream, and on wireless it's been less stable with picture, but still excellent.  I've got a small place now with no need for more than three tuners, but once we move into a bigger house and the kid grows up, I'll definitely be adding another 3-tuner on the network!

I have both a Ceton InfiTV4 PCIe and a HDHomeRun3, the Ceton "disappears" periodically and their tech support hasn't been able to fix it yet.  The HDHomeRun has worked flawlessly.  I had to go with the HDHomeRun3 for that reason.  The HomeRun6 seemed like an odd product to me, it really shouldn't need 2 cable cards, seems like a cop out to me.  And I love the idea of a stable 6 tuner ceton, my 4 tuner isnt stable and the 6 tuner version seems to be vaporware.



This is creating great discussion.. keep it going. Thanks for the great feedback...

It's not looking good for Hauppauge....

I voted for the Ceton PCIe even-though I own a HDPrime 3. The prime has been awesome for me and the support form SD is just as awesome. The reason why I would pick the Centon PCIe over the Prime is if you have network issues the prime isn't the best. My router was old router was giving me issues daily, I would not have internet access. To bring it back I would have to restart my router but, the problem would be if something was recording I would have to wait until it was done to restart the router. No internet or messed up recordings? I have since bought a new router so this isn't an issue anymore.

Also, I like the idea of not having another device in my media rack. I also wouldn't mind having 1 more tuner available, there has been a few times when we could have used it.

To me the Haup I saw was only a dual tuner. That seemed to be a waste to me as it would cost me more down the line when I might need more than two QAM encrypted channels recording and have to buy a second tuner and cablecard. It is very common for me to have 4 tuners going when you include the overlap settings so a show doesn't get clipped off at the end to start another. 

Agreed, the way most media centers tune you end up using more tuners than you might at first think, especially if you are doing things like recording 2 shows immediately following 2 previous  shows back to back. Seems like that should only require 2 tuners, but it often takes 4.

I've ended up with 9 (7 CableCard, 2 ATSC) for a variety of reasons and now I finally dont seem to run out of tuners.

External can also be a bit of a pain because of all the power bricks.  Id like it if more of the vendors went with the style where the transformer was in the middle of the line with just a regular plug at the end, it would make "power bar management" a lot easier.

Saw over on slickdeals that The Ceton InfiniTV 4 is currently $199 on Amazon.  With that price, I might need to change my vote...  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B4VLJQ/

My number one choice is the Ceton InfiniTV 4.  I got mine in the first production run so I've had the opportunity to use it since August of 2010.  The only issues I ever had were a result of not using the 860 MHz low pass filter because I'm on FIOS.  Once I installed the filter all was right with the world.  The tuner has worked beautifully from day one.  I added a 2nd one when the price initially dropped below $300 and bought a 3rd for another build when Newegg had them for $220.

I had intended to use the 2nd InfiniTV 4 with one or two other PCs located elsewhere in the house but I never got around to setting them up for tuner sharing.  I use all four of the original tuners and wanted to have extras available should the occasion warrant it.  I recently picked up a SiliconDust HDHR Prime and connected it to my network.  I swapped out the cablecard from the 2nd Ceton and used it in the HDHR.  I like the idea of having three extra tuners available on demand by any PC that needs them.  The only problem I see having tuners shared from a single PC is that all other TVs now become dependent on the health of the PC containing the tuners.  If it goes down then everyone suffers.  It's the main reasin I abandoned the use of extenders with my WMC PC.

For any single PC I would not hesitate to recommend the Ceton, hands down, especially if you use that PC as your primary DVR.  If you're going to have multiple PCs that only need to access one or two tuners, I'd go with the HDHR Prime.  I'd only go with the Hauppauge if you want to add cablecard tuners to individual PCs, and even then I'd be hesitant.  A dual tuner Tivo HD or other series 3 model would provide you with almost the same capability for around the same price or even less.

Ceton PCIE won the vote, but I am sure that the price change at the end of the vote could have helped that. Thanks for the great information.. Check out this weeks poll

It's been in the lead since I cast my vote, but it seems to have gotten a bit of a boost at the end.

I'm still amazed at how few votes the Hauppauge tuner got.

The best part is, the hauppauge and the Ceton have the same parts inside them... they did a joint development.. 

This is absolutely not true. SiliconDust and Hauppauge partnered.

My mistake.. I know there was partnership and I was under the impression the guts are the same if not close...

Doesn't surprise me one bit.  If you've got to rent a cablecard, why do it for only two tuners when you can have three or four tuners for the same monthly fee?

Hauppage and Silicon Dust did a joint venture, Ceton is stand alone here. 

The Hauppage and Silicon Dust share the same board.


Another way to read the tally...

Network attched = 185 votes

PCIe = 192 votes

USB = 39 votes

This seems more relavant IMO.

Ceton products are also network attached via Windows bridging.

Thats true, but having an internally bridged pcei card vs a "real network" is a world of difference. 

Actually the PC that it resides in is what's attached to the network, there's a handful of variables before the Ceton card actually reaches your switch or router.

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