(MCE 2005) Media Center PC Experience, Spring 2005

Summary: roll-your-own is a world of grief:

I assembled a moderately-priced media center PC from the following components:

Non-PC hardware :
  • Sony KV-34XBR800 HDTV
  • Panasonic 5.8GHz phone (the 2.4 GHz phone was fatal for WiFi)
  • Terk TV 38 outdoor HDTV antenna

Hardware bought and later discarded (See below for why):

Software experiences with a mostly working machine


I wanted a jukebox for these purposes (in order):

  1. Get all of my MP3's online, and have an XM-internet player.  Outcome: this part was easy and works well.
  2. Get an HDTV tuner.  This is compelling because I never watch live TV (TiVo only) so a standalone tuner is not adequate.  The HD upgrade to Direct TV (satellite) is expensive and does not provide the main networks in HDTV, which are what I primarily watch.  Therefore a PC jukebox  is the way to go. Outcome: ATI software dropped frames, and Microsoft Media Center had numerous shortcomings, but Snapstream worked.
  3. Way to burn DVDs of (NTSC) recorded shows (including those on the TiVo).  Outcome: this works fine, but does require two steps (record to hard drive then burn to DVD).
  4. Reasonable quality game machine (of much less importance).


  1. The micro-ATX/piano-case form factor only has 3 PCI slots, 270W, and limited internal headroom, all tight, but not impossible limits.  It was in some ways better than the Shuttle form factor still.
  2. Motherboard:
    • The Asus motherboard comes with a built-in process for upgrading the BIOS from floppy (wtihout booting an OS), and a rollback procedure.  I entered the BIOS update procedure with the original Asus driver CD in the driver.  It fried the BIOS.  Nothing would boot, no POST, not even screen raster.  Obviously, the rollback procedure didn't work.  I had to return it to the dealer to get the ROMs flashed. 
    • The Asus motherboard supports the (old-fashioned) MIDI/game port, but it requires using a PCI hole. Since there are only 3 PCI slots in this piano case to start with, this is unacceptable. Plan on using a USB device for this interface.
    • The ASUS motherboard was advertised as having S/PDIF output.  This requires an accessory for the plug, but ASUS doesn't sell it directly and I could find no one that carried it.  Even if it were available, it would require another PCI slot..
  3. Noise: This is the big problem.  
    • The original CPU fan and case fan were way too loud for use as an audio device.  A fast CPU is a real problem in this regard.  Quiet case fans are easy to find.  But a quiet CPU fan was trickier.  Eventually, a variable speed Zalman-Tech CNPS7000B-Cu CPU fan brought the noise low enough (plus SpeedFan for software control).   It just barely fit in the piano case.
    • The AIW has its own fan and connection to the power supply (the AGP bus isn't enough). The fan is way too loud for using this card as a video/audio player. It's fully 5db louder (as measured at 2" away on a db meter) than my Zalman-Tech CPU fan running at full speed (2400RPM). The Zalman is even quieter at low speed, where it usually runs. So, the ATI fan is really much louder. Quieter coolers are available but they require a PCI slot just for the cooler.
    • The Arctic Cooler VPU cooler cooler that I bought for the ATI 9800 Pro did not fit the ATI 9800 Pro all-in-wonder.  An hour of grinding with an emery wheel produced something that did fit, with some loss of cooling capacity, and leaning hard on some capacitor cans.  Finally, it was much quieter than the original.
  4. PCI slots: There were only three in my micro-ATX case.  The VPU fan took one unexpectedly.  Also, MCE requires a hardware encoding analog tuner in order to have an HDTV tuner.  Thus, just to get an HDTV tuner takes two PCI slots.  That leaves zero.  I had to buy my WiFi and sound cards all over again as USB devices (dumping the PCI cards).
  5. The original Netgear PCI WiFi card would not reliably connect to the Netgear access point only 30' away.  Signal strength was always good when connected, but it would mysteriously fail completely at random times.  Solution: get a Linksys USB-based WiFi client.
  6. ATI S/PDIF output: this may work for video/DVDs played through the ATI software, but it does not appear as an available audio device. Thus, if you want to use other DVD player software, you will still need some other audio device.
  7. MCE information at Microsoft is geared towards buying a complete working MCE box, and does not provide all of the information that one might like for roll-your-own.  For instance, there is a requirement that a box must have a hardware encoding NTSC tuner to by able to receive HDTV.  Never mind that one doesn't care about NTSC broadcasts and the hardware encoder is useless for HDTV, it's a requirement.  This is not mentioned anywhere when one buys an HDTV card for use with MCE. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/default.mspx

Terk TV 55 outdoor HDTV antenna (May 2005) 

This worked much better than the provided ATI antenna.  I went from receiving no channels reliably to receiving a majority reliably with the antenna indoors (I haven't tested outdoors yet). 

HDTV antennas are directional.  The instructions say to point it toward the station, but not what to do if there are multiple stations in multiple directions.  I had to mount mine on the apex of my 2nd story roof  and point it towards San Francisco (about 20 air miles) to get reliable reception.

Terk TV 38 outdoor HDTV antenna (March 2006) 

This was purchased as an upgrade to the Terk 55 as requested by Beyond TV tech support.  It produced a small improvement in HDTV signal strength as reported by the ATI signal strength meter, but does not seem to have been necessary.  The Terk 55 comments still apply.

ATI 9800 Pro All-in-Wonder (AIW) tuner/capture device

I was never able to get this work reliably by itself.  See the section below on HDTV tuner and integration with the HDTV drivers.

An early install experience (now resolved):
MCE and the ATI AIW tuner are not compatible. This is my fault, they never claimed to be, but I didn't realize how bad the situation was.  MCE itself boots and uses the video card.  But Microsoft Media Center (MC, the app) does not recognize the AIW tuner with any driver I have tried.  I can install the XP driver and use the ATI software to run the tuner, but MC will refuse to play video over it.  Or, I can install the MCE driver and have MC play video but not be able to use the tuner with any software.  Finding the right driver is a bingo game.  For instance, the driver automatically downloaded via Microsoft auto update caused all audio to be lost.

After using the card for a few weeks, the ATI software ceased to record audio.  I never diagnosed why.  Ahead Nero was still able to record audio.

Frame jitter: Using this as a sw-based capture device often left me with what looked de-interlace jitter.  This was evidenced by both the ATI record program and Ahead Nero.  The Hauppauge (hw-encoding) capture card solved this problem. 

After a few more weeks,  the capture card stopped working for no apparent reason. When I went to load the TV app, it would say "Unable to Show TV".  Ahead Nero failed similarly when using the ATI card.  I installed the latest driver (Catalyst 5.4) and MMC 9.06 (the app as opposed to the driver). MMC simply seg faulted on start.

I uninstalled everything from ATI I could find in the control panel applet for installed software (driver, MMC, ATI remote, etc.), including deleting all of ATI files from "program files/ATI...", and reinstalled from the original CD (MMC 8.5). This time, I got "AtiSServ failed to provide required interfaces!" upon launching MMC.

I uninstalled everything and tried again. This time, I got "Setup was unable to complete the installation. Try to setup your display adapter with a standard VGA driver before running setup."

I uninstalled again and upon boot Windows wanted to install some drivers for new hardware. I let it do that hoping to solve the previous problem. Windows reported "install failed" from the tool tray and gave me a generic web page telling me to reinstall drivers.

I rebooted and tried installing ATI from the CD again. This time, I got a BSOD during the install.

I went through it all again with the new drivers (Catalyst 5.4). I returned to square one with "Unable to Show TV. The TV player failed to initialize the video.".  The ATI diagnostic utility PC check did not report any problems.

My first query to tech support (with the information above) suggested reinstalling the driver.  I gave up on the ATI capture driver.
  • Bottom line: Avoid.  While the ATI 9800  may be a fine graphics card, the tuner/AIW add on is definitely not appropriate for MCE and the drivers so fragile that it's possibly to be avoided in all cases.  

ATI HDTV tuner (early May 2005)

This worked!  Despite net horror stories, it worked first time (but see below). 

Even better: this fixed the S/Video NTSC capture problem on 9800 AIW card, a problem which was otherwise proving intractable to fix.

The advertised features, e.g. nice integration with the AIW 9800 and thru vision for making the picture the desktop background, work.

Aug 2005, after a subsequent installation, the DTV viewer drops a huge number of frames, and is no longer watchable.

One minor catch: the autoplay installer only installed the driver, not the multimedia center app.  It had to be installed separately by browsing into that directory.

The provided antenna was sufficient to see a picture and know that it might work, but none of the 31 stations in my area (Fremont, CA) could be reliably received with the indoor antenna.

There is no  DTV program guide.  It has a time & channel record like a a VCR, but the Guide+ software only works with the analog tuner. I don't know of any other app that knows how to tune the DTV (for instance, neither Sage TV nor Snapstream can tune the ATI HDTV) except for Microsoft MC (but see below). Titan TV promises their web version of a DTV guide will interface with ATI HDTV, but I have not yet made this work .

Other apps, e.g. Ahead Nero, do not understand the HDTV tuner.  It's the ATI app or bust.  It shows up as a menu option, but the cannot capture any video from it.   

Ahead Nero will only sample every other line of the analog S/Video input on the HDTV card (i.e. at most 240 lines of resolution).  This is apparently a config problem where it fails to recognize better resolutions are available.  This is useless.  This means the HDTV card cannot be used as an auxiliary S/Video input with some software.

Where's the captured audio?  DTV audio is fine. But stereo input for S/Video capture connects to the dongle but does not appear as an audio input device nor does it have a pass thru (like the 9800 tuner)???

Microsoft Media Center (MC) will not use an HDTV tuner without a hardware-encoding NTSC tuner install (but there is a hack)



Integrating the Video ATI 9800 and HDTV tuner drivers (late May 2005)

This was the worst case of driver roulette I have ever played.  ATI's own HDTV driver and video drivers were incompatible with each other.  Fully one year was lost chasing around ATI and various combinations of driver updatesThose steps are listed here. 

Finally, in January 2006, they released drivers that work together:

Eleventh Try, January 2006, after buying an HDTV, new driver release from ATI
  1. Full Clean
  2. Install HDTV drivers (multiple website downloads) in this order:
    1. 01 DAO MDAC driver 9-13_mmc_uci.exe
    2. 02 HDTV drivers 6-1_hdtv_83-2036_wdm.exe
    3. 03 DTV decoder atiCDwiz.exe
      • Then it validates the original HDTV installation CD
      • It asks for a special file which is the downloaded:
        03 DTV decoder adjunct setup.exe 
    4. 04 encode 9-13_encoder.exe
    5. 05 MMC 9-13_mmc_enu.exe
  3. Then install Catalyst 5.13

  4. Use the settings to set 720p & 1080i modes for the HDTV.
    Note that this cannot be done via RDP or a VGA monitor as Catalyst won't show these options.
    The available options in Catalyst will depend on what's plugged in to the card.

Hauppauge PVR 150 (July 2005)

This is a tuner card with a hardware MPEG encoder.  It's the full version and the MCE version (the MCE-only version has no remote and no software):

This worked.  At least I have a solution that allows me to sample input S/Video in a reasonable fashion. The DVD burning option also works.  This fixes the interlace jitter problem.

By intent, Media Center now works for DTV because it has a hardware encoding card.

Default high resolution mode is about 1.5-2G/hour, which is less space than software encoders, and for similar visual quality.

Hauppauge has good tech support.  They solved a driver conflict by quickly drilling down to the offending registry key and readily agreed to take a return for the clipping problem (below).  

The Hauppauge drivers create a Windows video source, but do not create a Windows audio device.  This means it is useless to try to record from the Hauppauge card with any 3rd party software since it cannot locate the audio source.  If you use a different audio input, it will be out of sync with the MPEG encode delay.  Therefore, you must use the Hauppauge WinTV2000 app since it knows magically how to find the audio stream delayed along with the MPEG-encoded video stream.

There is no S/PDIF input, therefore there is no Dolby Digital because no other audio source can be used.

TiVo audio output is clipped by the Hauppauge card for being too loud.  Other audio sources are also clipped.  These sources work fine with other audio cards.  A merchandise return and repair improved the problem to the point of usability, it is still just at the edge of clipping.  I had to build my own audio attenuator to reliably use the Hauppauge audio input.  This is a double tragedy since other audio inputs are fine, but out of sync with the MPEG encode.

See Media Center issues below.

Integration issues:

S/PDIF input

This looks hopeless.  The ATI cards (both the 9800 Pro and the HDTV card) come with their own dongle that accepts S/Video input and (analog) stereo.  The ATI software will only use this input.  Ahead Nero lets an alternate audio source be chosen when configuring the tuner, but then ignores it.  Also, the audio select button is greyed-out in Ahead Nero when using the ATI video input.  It always uses the ATI stereo input. 

Even if a application allowed an alternate audio source, there is still likely the problem with video and audio getting out of sync due to mpeg encode delay, when coming from two different hardware devices with two different drivers (as happened with the NVTV card).  

Interlace jitter/combing from software MPEG encoders

Video recorded from the TiVo by Ahead Nero and burnt by Ahead Nero to DVD played fine on the jukebox. But when played on a set top DVD player, the different interlace frames seem out sync so that images are badly sliced up on vertical boundaries and horizontal motion is jerky, a bit right, then a lot left.  I did not have find any adequate solution to this problem when using software-based MPEG encoders.

The Hauppauge hardware-based MPEG encoder solved this problem.

Media Center (MC, the Microsoft TV app), and the Kram drivers

MC refuses to show DTV unless a hardware-MPEG-encoding analog tuner is present.  This wastes not only money for a useless (in many cases) tuner, but an all important PCI slot.

Turns out there is a hack in the form of the Kram ATI drivers.  These somehow convince MC that the software-encoding tuner is a hardware encoding tuner, but this requires driver roulette of an extraordinary sort.  Other people have discussed the Kram driver installation process.  In addition to those instructions, I had to reinstall the HDTV AIW drivers again at the end of the process.

This partially worked for MC, which then recognized the DTV tuner without a hardware-encoding tuner installed.  Unfortunately, MC simply locks up every time I tune to a DTV channel.  It's not merely a blank screen, because all the CPU is being used (and 384M of RAM).  Even interrupting it via ctrl-alt-del takes patience.  I don't know if it  is MC, ATI HDTV, or the Kram drivers that are at fault.  Without the Kram drivers, I cannot even get to this point to find out how MC behaves.

The Kram drivers prevented the analog TV part of the ATI software from working at all (nor would Nero work).  This seems to be true in general: an MCE driver (for ATI hardware) allows MC to work, but not the ATI software.  An XP driver allows the ATI software to work but not MC.  Be prepared to live completely in MC, or do not use it all.

Media Center (MC) and the Hauppauge card, July, 2005

MC is the TV viewing/recording app that comes bundled with MCE 2005.

Once you bite on all of the hardware requirements, it does work.

There is a sensible scheduling tool for DTV broadcasts (unlike the ATI software that comes with the HDTV Wonder).

It works well on low resolution devices.

The Microsoft IR blaster/remote work well (and are easy to configure) to controlling other devices (like a satellite tuner).  Hauppauge can also handle this, but not ATI.

It saves content in a proprietary Microsoft format that cannot be edited at all, played by any other tools, or transcoded, i.e. a typical Microsoft screw job.

I have not yet got it to play, least of all record Dolby Digital (ATI software will play and record Dolby Digital from the HDTV tuner card).

It drops frames like crazy when simultaneously downloading its schedule.

While viewing a station there is not any way (that I have yet found) to directly query its resolution and audio format.

Dead Hardware that could not be used:

Turtle Beach Catalina sound card

  • The PCI WiFi card introduced a throbbing noise cross talk on the Catalina sound card. So, WiFi traffic disturbs listening to audio. Solution: get a USB-based WiFi client.
  • The TiVo is just loud enough on its output that the Catalina A/D converter introduced an audio clipping whine into all analog recordings.
  • Neither Ahead Nero nor ATI media center would record from the S/PDIF input on the Catalina.  It's not clear who is at fault for this.  No other app I tried would succeed in recording from it.
  • The S/PDIF output does not respond to the Windows volume controls.  This is especially inconvenient in a media center where the remote control will no long control the volume.  It's not clear if this is a Turtle Beach issue of an S/PDIF output issue in general.
  • Similarly, selecting audio inputs and outputs via the Windows control panel works in unexpected ways for the SPDIF in/out devices.  The sound card comes with its own app that adds another layer of control.  I gave up on the card before completely figuring this puzzle out.

eVGA NVTV (nVidia) tuner card (April 2005)

  • Having given up on ATI with software encoding, I tried the eVGA NVTV tuner card with a hardware MPEG encoder.  In fairness, this is more hardware and not be directly compared with the ATI software-based MPEG encoder.   Media Center recognized this card and was ready to run.
  • The IR blaster that came with the Microsoft Media Center remote started working at this point and was able to control my TiVo.
  • Initially, Media Center (the Microsoft app, not the OS) just said "stopped".  That was it, no picture.  No diagnosis.  eVGA tech did answer the phone promptly and was helpful: I had to reinstall the drivers to make sure the NVTV DVD decoder was the last DVD decoder installed (even to get S/Video input to work).  It's not clear why the initial installation failed.
  • The NVTV card only works with MCE and Media Center.  It does not work with Ahead Nero, Snapstream, Pinnacle Studio.  It does not even work with Microsoft Movie Maker, which comes bundled with MCE 2005.  Tech support confirmed this situation as of 5/3/05. MC will tune and record TV stations but does not have timed record.  So, it is useless for recording an S/Video stream generated in some other way (e.g. playing my TiVo).  Thus, it was impossible to use this card for the simple task of recording shows off my TiVo. 
  • When using any audio input except that provided on the eVGA card, audio and video were almost 1 second out of sync.  Thus, you have to be happy with their A/D converter and stereo only.  You don't have any choice.
  • Bottom line:  Avoid.  The MCE-only approach is a serious limitation.  


Some of this is covered above, but these are some specific experiences not directly tied to hardware.

HDTV recorders


Beyond TV 4.1

Media Center




set top
( for comparison)

Live TV


See note below



No, not at 2.9Ghz

Yes, nice channel surfing feature too



A, flexible, 
easy to bring up, good search features

good search features,
but awkward to access
guide in some cases
per-program limits?

couldn't test
see notes

D, VCR-like only

flexible and easy to use

Web Scheduling





some models

Integration with
foreign remotes
for analog tuning
(IR blasting)

B, handles some

A, handles most,
and more configurable


(not sure)


Dolby Digital







9G ("better")

 (other modes?)


Burn to DVD

yes, but via external tools only

no?, claims to work, but only creates data file,  not video DVD.  The MS docs say my burning software is not installed, but it doesn't say what burning software that should be, and such burning software as I do have does not work.




Ad Skip

yes, auto detects ad boundaries and skips straight past





Tech Support

Fair, responsive,
solved one problem, but blamed another on bad reception (even when the ATI viewer had no trouble with the same signal).

Not included with Media Center

haven't tested

Replied to email

phone call to Direct TV, no real tech info available

Reports resolution of current channel






Go direct to channel
or up/down only


up/down only

up/down only

up/down only



Windows media services must be disabled for Snapstream to run and enabled for Media Center to run.  So, these two apps cannot both be scheduled to record.

Snapstream 4.1 (Mar 2006) -- Good

Snapstream Beyond TV4 has a nice feature set, and better features than Sage TV.  One small complaint: it does not report the  resolution of what is currently being viewed (nor does it report it in the guide).

However, BTV viewing live HDTV (or viewing while recording) was un-watchable because of dropped frames (every few seconds).  It did work, mostly, for recording and watching later.  The ATI viewer worked fine.  Despite recording working and the ATI viewer working, Snapstream tech support insisted I buy a better antenna.  I did.  I didn't help.  So, I now have some very expensive software (including the antenna upgrade) that does not work and Snapstream has not been able to resolve the issue yet.  Curiously, if another application running in the foreground, BTV works better, and does not drop frames nearly as often, but obviously this is not visually pleasing for watching HDTV.

Nov 2006 update: BTV continues to offer free upgrades that make the product better.  The problem with live viewing has never been solved.  But recording and watching works with only a rarely dropped frame.

Meedio TV (Mar 2006) -- unusable

This is the budget alternative with a restricted feature set.  This is unusable because its built-in listings do not work for over-the-air (OTA) DTV.  It does have Comcast, etc., but not OTA.  It offers OTA listings via a perl-script based 3rd party service called XMLTV.  This does not look reliable.  When it is used, Meedio refuses to tune the ATI HDTV card.  The 3rd choice is built-in channel scan.  That works, finding the channels, and tuning the ATI HDTV card, but it cannot find any guide listings in that case.  So, at the end of the day, it works no better that the ATI software, i.e. VCR like. 

Works with live TV (unlike Snapstream), not dropping any frames

Does support HDTV & Dolby Digital

Only supports one tuner at a time (not DTV & analog capture both).  It does support the ATI HDTV tuner.  

Trouble with interlace combing artifacts

Uses only single number HDTV channels (the dual-number major.minor form seems more useful to me)

Over-the-air DTV listings are only available via a 3rd party, XMLTV.  Awkward to use and doesn't look reliable.

Sage TV V4 (Mar 2006) -- unusable

The website lists the requirements as a 3.0 GHz pentium and I have a 2.9 GHz Celeron, so this may not be a fair test.
Configuring Sage TV for the ATI HDTV tuner offered four MPEG decode options.  Two of them failed with "Sage.PlaybackException ERROR (-4,0x80040217)."  The other two dropped frames even worse than Snapstream.  I was never able to get any audio out of it either.  I didn't fully evaluate its feature set .

Titan TV (Mar 2006) -- unusable

This is an adjunct piece of web software that is supposed to schedule the ATI HDTV recorder.  Thus, Titan TV + ATI software yields PVR functionality.  However, Titan TV always scheduled the (NTSC analog) Hauppauge tuner and never scheduled the ATI HDTV recorder, no matter that Titan TV setup was configured for ATI HDTV only.

Microsoft Media Center (Mar 2006) -- unusable

Media Center no longer recognizes the Hauppauge PVR 150 hardware MPEG encoder and tuner. Because of this it will not even try to configured (or display) the HDTV tuner.  Therefore, it is completely useless.

Also, it starts up process ehRecver.exe (from the "Services").  This process runs as a high priority system task consuming 99% of the CPU.  Everything else crawls to a halt.  As for Snapstream, it is necessary to disable both Media Center services (via services.msc) to even regain control of the computer.

Burning HDTV to DVD in full resolution (Nov 2006)

As reported by Ahead Nero, an hour of HDTV takes about 8.5G and a DVD+R DL (dual layer) holds about 8.1G (Ahead Nero seems to count 1G as 230, while DVD manufactures count 1G as 106 * 210).  Thus, a direct burn will not work.  

The solution to this is VideoReDo.  It has nice features for finding ads, quickly verifying that the indicated sections are indeed ads, then clipping the transport stream (as produced by Beyond TV) into another full resolution transport stream that can be burned to DVD+R DL.  

I tried many numerous freeware/shareware programs and none worked.  Even had they worked as advertised they were all much more difficult to use than VideoReDo.  

The November 2006 version of Beyond TV has DVD burning features but these are only for NTSC recordings.  It won't even try with an HDTV recording. 

Transcoding and Burning HDTV to NTSC DVD (Jan 2006)

HDTV records in MPEG 2 at its native resolution (e.g. 1024i) and usually takes 9GB/hour.  Therefore, it must be transcoded to fit on a DVD, high-def video to old NTSC resolution.   Many tools (e.g. U-Lead, Nero) will not burn Dolby Digital to DVD (without paying extra), therefore down conversion of Dolby Digital is also desirable, but not available in these tools.  SnapStream saves HDTV to .tp files (some kind of transport encapsulation for MPEG2 as streamed/transmitted).  I found the following  tools to transcode the video (but not the audio):





ren foo.tp foo.mpg
works for with some burning




freeware DOS command
Time to transcode 
1 hour of video

2 hours

< 1 hour

10 mins


Output file size


MPEG2 @ 1024: 1.0G
MPEG2 @ 3072: 1.6G
MPEG4 @ 3072: 1.6G


(don't know where the other 6G went)

Quality (still working 
on measuring this)





Seg faults frequently





Dolby Digital record





Dolby Digital down conversion

no ? ? no

relatively easy to use

lots of confusing options,
but also flexibility





Still haven't found a set of
options that produce a
workable output file

Doesn't convert to DVD
merely breaks HDTV .tp encapsulation,
ULead will read this output, but then crashes

only works with Ahead Nero

.tp file renamed to .mpg:

  •  ULead DVD Movie freezes on trying to open it.
  • Ahead Nero will directly burn it as a 3G DVD-quality (720x480) mpeg2 file.

Other video-related jukebox software

NTSC recorders (thru Hauppauge card).

As above, only the supplied WinTV2000 app can usefully record from the Hauppauge card.

I cannot get it to IR blast a TiVo (it includes other tuners, but not that one).  That leaves recording from the (NTSC) TiVo to the Hauppauge MPEG encoder code as a manually setup process.

Record mode Space per hour Ulead DVD Movie
"MPEG2 12"


transcodes to about 3G

DVD standard play


burns directly
DVD long play


burns directly, 
but can only fit one 
on a DVD
DVD Extra long play


can fit two directly on DVD


Burning Tools


ULead DVD Movie


Okay as a basic burning tool.  Auto scene detection is worthless though (finds a new scene every few seconds). Will not burn  Dolby Digital present in .mpg files.


Ahead Nero

Doesn't burn Dolby Digital without a $25 upgrade.

Expands WinTV2000 files by 10% before burning, which is often just enough to keep them from fitting.

Other Tools

AOL Hi-Q Video -- Some free TV shows, but it insists on showing banner ads while watching, and, of course, the content times out and cannot be saved (without a crack).  Summary: useless.