myHD HDTV Tuner Card
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Introduction | Hardware | Software | Performance | Image
Out of the box, it worked fine for tuning HD from my local (Washington DC) and distant
(Balto) HD stations with no audio drop out or synch problems. There, however, are a few
issues with my installation with respect to the the application and driver that came with
the installation CD. Again, I need to qualify that I got this a few months ago. I'm
sure the ones that ship out now get the latest version.
The local ABC HD channel as displayed on the screen is black (no
image or audio) even though the antenna icon indicates strong reception. YXY
developer, Jim Ferguson, who also lives in the Washington DC metro area and owns a myHD
confirms this problem with V1.54. Another problem attributed to V1.54 was a number
of pc lockups during record and playback events.
I spent a few days trying to familiarize myself with the application configuration
settings for hd record and playback. After exhausting all possibilities to resolve above
mentioned problems, it was time to download the latest software and driver from
The latest version (V1.55.3) is a major improvement over the previous version.
The ABC station black problem was fixed. The pc lockups during record and
playback disappeared. I noticed that the OSD configuration panel is cleaner with improved
organization. The OSD panel appears to be a little shorter also so that it now fits on the
screen. No need to move the panel up or down to see the top or bottom areas of the panel.
After almost daily use of up to about two hours a night for the past month, it has been
operating and performing flawlessly. Since I have the DTC-100 on the switch, I was
able to do quick visual comparisons between the card and the STB.
Compared to the old reliable DTC-100, the card works just as well. Image quality is
equal to the DTC-100. I see no discernible difference in image performance. The DTC is no
slouch so that is a good thing. The DTC provides clear and crisp images with vibrant
colors. So does the myHD. Both provide strong signal reception from local Wash DC stations
and Balto stations. Both provide superb audio and suffer no audio synch problems. The only
thing that the myHD cannot do is to receive satellite broadcasts which the DTC-100 can.
Aside from that, the myHD can do what the DTC-100 can do and a whole lot more.
One of the biggest draw to me for this card is that it can record HD programming. Yes,
it can do analog also, but one doesn't get one of these for analog. =)
Not all HD tuner cards can record HD and do it well. In either mode, on demand or
scheduled recording, it records without a hiccup. The myHD card recorded files saved in
2GB files as I've set up in the application. Each 15 minute recording is about 1.4GB, so
an hour recording takes about 6GB of disk space. If you will be recording quite a bit, it
would behoove you to outfit your htpc with a sizable hard disk.
Playback of recorded files is almost seamless. Configured in the application for
continuous play, recorded files play from one file to the next automatically. There is
some delay but not enough to be overly distracting. Custom settings might be more suitable
for lengthy recordings. Audio was perfect and never faltered or dropped out of
Still image capture is also possible with myHD. I was able to capture a number of
scenes from an NFL playoff game and a PBS show. Set up for image capture, it will record a
scene with the push of the REC button. If you do a number of these in full-screen mode,
you will find the list of captured scenes when you switch to the windows desktop. You
click on the image and you'll have the option to save it to disk or delete.
A neat feature of the myHD is the Favorite mode. You can add/remove channels to
your Favorites list. You can label them whatever you like and sequence them in the
order you like. Let's say the ascending order of channels in your area is CBS then
ABC then NBC. You can change it to NBC, ABC, then CBS. This also helps
in making your two or three favorite channels right next to each other. That way,
you simply push either Channel Up or Down and you're at the channel you want.
The Channel Label feature is helpful in that you can literally label the channel
whatever you want. This comes in handy since most guests or viewers in my theater
just haven't grasped the concept of DT channels so they keep insisting on tuning to the
If I were to name a few negatives, it would be very few. Although all PCI tuners
lack the ability to receive satellite programs, it still would be a nice feature to have
to be on equal footing with its standalone counterparts. Another is that there isn't a
direct way to change recording modes from video to still image on the fly. One has
to go to the configuration menu to effect the change. One final comment is that
there is no "Previous Channel" feature on the remote or on the OSD. This
might sound petty but after channel surfing just for a little while, you'd want this
feature that the manufacturers have spoiled us so with current remotes.
Speaking of remotes, the myHD remote is just about the right size. It fits nicely in
one's palm. Buttons are logically arranged and easily memorized by touch. Tactile feel is
good and firm. Response from the receiver is excellent with no little or no lag at
about 12 feet. You can even set it up via the application to turn off the pc when you turn
off the myHD software. It is a full function remote control which doesn't simply
change channels, you can also select input, control volume, and even has DVD
controls. Yes, myHD was designed to play DVD vob files also but that feature
has been disabled at this time due to issues being wrestled by the licensing consortium.
The myHD MDP-100 is a strikingly impressive product. It is not only a STB on a
card but also an HD PVR, what a combination. It is a versatile tuner that
receives both analog and digital stations and does it with aplomb. Of course, it
shines best with HD since that is what it was designed for. And shine it does when
fed an HD signal. It delivers crisp, clear, and colorful images in various HD
resolutions. As a PVR, it records HD with ease to the HTPC hard disk or an outboard
D-VHS recorder. And with a built-in feature in the application, one can synchronize
the recorder through an internet connection with the free HD program listing at
TitanTV. But not only can it record video, it can also record stills. From a
pc hardware perspective, it gets the nod for requiring only a single pci slot. And
best of all it costs less than $300 .. cheaper than any new off the shelf STBs and
probably the cheapest of all PCI tuners currently on the market.
Given its features, performance and price, I highly recommend this product. It
just plain works and its works very very well.
For more information about the myHD card, please visit DigitalConnection.com.