Very recently I bought my wife a Hauppauge TV Tuner for mother’s day. I think we had talked about getting one before so we could downgrade our cable boxes from Verizon FIOS’ HD DVRs to their regular HD boxes, but admittedly when we got the tuner we didn’t even have cable.
That didn’t stop us from using it however and we installed it in a Windows 7 box using just a regular OTA antennae. And even though we didn’t end up recording too much with it (what’s their to record on regular TV anyway), we were blown away about how cool Windows Media Center is when it has a tuner to play with.
If you’re a home theater buff like myself, you will really marvel at how sleek, elegant and functional Windows Media Center is… Especially if it’s your first TV Tuner/Media solution.
Return of the Cable
So fast forward a couple months and cable has once again returned to our house along with its huge bill for renting their cable boxes. And if have cable and don’t think it’s a racket – YOU IZ CRAZY. I mean, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but a Verizon FIOS HD DVR is probably something like $13/mo and a regular box has to be about $7 so every month I’m spending $20 extra to “rent” their equipment which I absolutely need to watch their programming! Again, it’s a racket.
And because of this I started looking for CableCard tuners. I heard about them a while ago through the AVS Forum but now doing some serious research, I was amazed to find that as much as these were lauded over, basically only 1 really exists in the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner and you can’t find them anywhere except on eBay and then only if you’re lucky. I swear you can’t even buy them from ATI’s website! (And let’s not forget they usually sell for north of $200 too).
Enter the Ceton InfiniTV 4 Multi-Tuner CableCard
So if you haven’t heard, some company called Ceton has made a new card that looks like it’ll blow the ATI one out of the water. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 accepts one CableCard, allows you to view or record 4 channels at once, and view these programs all around your house! Do you realize how cool that is? So instead of me paying the $20 a month I am now, I can just do the Verizon FIOS CableCard rental of of a few bucks PLUS I can watch the programming on more TVs without having to pay any more to the man!
Now admittedly the card has a “high” price tag of $399 but I figure I’d make that up quick if I’m distributing the programming to 3 TVs like I’m going to. The only real problem now for me is that Ceton has delayed shipping the card (I think I heard because of a parts shortage) meaning that I’m going to have to hang in here with my high cable bill for a little while longer. But in any event I’m still way excited about it. Anything that helps me bring media into the house and reduce my monthly bill gets two thumbs up in my book.