The $99 WinTV-PVR-150 is the least-expensive model in Hauppauge's WinTV series of PCI TV tuners. The card comes bundled with the company's WinTV tuner software, which is easy to set up and lets you fine-tune a channel's frequency after setup, in case the automatic scan fails to latch on properly.
The software's controls are fairly compact: They run along a strip on the left of the interface and in a small strip along the bottom, leaving considerable room for the TV image itself. The DVR and recording controls are tucked out of sight until you activate them, and you can hide or display the control strips instantly by right-clicking anywhere on the TV image. This lean design comes at a price, though: Some of the buttons are very tiny, especially in the time-shift and recording control panels.
Despite the well-designed interface, the remote control is frustrating. Several buttons don't activate the functions described on their labels, while some unmarked buttons do have functions. Unfortunately, the manual describes--incompletely--a different remote, and the online help doesn't mention it at all. On the positive side, this TV tuner includes an infrared blaster, which can send channel-changing commands to a set-top box.
The WinTV software integrates with the TitanTV electronic program guide. You can use the online schedule to schedule the programs you want to record; TitanTV then sends that information to the WinTV software. Image quality did not degrade when we recorded time-shifted video at high quality settings.
The WinTV-PVR-150 comes with Nanocosmos NanoPEG Editor 2.3, a basic MPEG editor for trimming or piecing together footage, though it lacks other common video-editing features. Another program, Ulead's DVD MovieFactory 3 SE, burns recorded programs to DVD or CD. We found capturing and managing still images particularly easy with the WinTV software.
Good performance and helpful features make the WinTV-PVR-150 a solid choice, especially if you have a set-top box.