Join Date: May 2013
Location: Newmarket, On (Bathurst/Keith)
I am currently using two HDHR3-US (i.e. 4 tuners) with my HTPC. I also have the earlier HDHR-US and an HDHR3-TECH. However WMC only allows 4 tuners, so I don't use the other tuners much. I have compared the HDHR3-US with the tuner in my 55-inch 1-year old Samsung Series 6 LED TV. I think the Samsung tuner is better, but of course I can't record anything with it. The HDHR3-US tuners certainly aren't the best tuners available. I use them because of the easy connection to my home network.
However the "quality" of the tuner is only an issue with marginal signals. Strictly speaking, you should compare the tuners at the same time with the same signal, over a reasonably long period of time. This is hard to do if you have to switch between tuners and watch each for a few minutes at a time.
This is where programs like the ones listed above come in. You can compare how well the external tuners decode the marginal signals over a period of time. I am working on my own version of such a program, but it isn't ready for "prime time" yet. (This isn't the SDR-dongle program. That is something else.)
I am eagerly waiting for Trip's comparison of the HDHR3-US and HDHR4-US tuners (from post 58). I expect that others will be posting their results soon as well. I talked to Save and Replay (i.e. the Canadian distributer) today. They expect the HDHR4-US on Wednesday. If the actual User reviews are favourable, I will probably get an HDHR4-US as well. The manufacturer says the new tuner is better, but I want to see an actual User review first. I really hope that the HDHR4-US is significantly better than the HDHR3-US, since most of my signals are marginal. Up here, there is a 50% increase in price for the HDHR4-US ($150) compared to the HDHR3-US ($100). I expect the percentage increase would be the similar in the U.S.
I also have the 950Q and 2250 tuners from Hauppauge, and a few other USB tuners from other manufacturers. I don't use them much since I don't have a permanently routed RG6 cable to my HTPC computer. In my case, connecting the HDHR tuners to the network was a lot easier than routing an RG6 cable to the computer. However the 950Q and 2250 seem to get good reviews.
So all of this rambling brings me to my final suggestion. I suggest waiting until the HDHR4-US is compared to the HDHR3-US, and to other "good" PC-based tuners like the 950Q and the 2250. These comparisons should be coming in soon. I would like to add support for these PC-based tuners to my program. However I haven't had the time to figure out how to "talk" to them. Talking to the HDHR tuners is much easier.