I tend to ramble on about treasure hunting at my local Goodwill. It’s fun hunting for stuff, and when you come across something cool, it’s quite a thrill. The truth is that most of the time when I go there I leave empty-handed. But every now & then I find an awesome piece of tech gold and it puts a smile on my face.
I keep a mental list of things I like to look for, and cord-cutting tech is high on the list. Well, just a couple of days ago I stopped by to see if anything mildly interesting was around, and guess what I found:
That’s a tv tuner/recorder from Hauppauge, specifically a WinTV HVR-1950. There it was, complete in the original box. It was still in the plastic and came with the original remote, fm antenna, remote blaster, AV cables, and AC adapter:
It looked as though it had never been used. A quick online search showed me this was a popular HD tuner, one version out of current, and was still available for purchase on Amazon. Goodwill wanted a measly $8 for it. The lowest online price was $100. Couldn’t pass that up.
The risk you take when buying tech at Goodwill is that it may not work. They do give you 24 hours to return it, just in case, so I bought the tuner and headed straight home to see if it would work. I connected it to one of my NUCs and was a bit disappointed to find the included drivers and video software didn’t work in Windows 10. Fortunately, Hauppauge had Windows 10 drivers available for download on their website. I installed the drivers and the tuner was recognized. Unfortunately, while Hauppauge did have an up video software package, it wasn’t free. So I Googled free tv software alternatives, and ended up downloaded NextPVR. It’s a 100% free program (for personal use) and has a nice interface. I installed it and it immediately found the tuner and let me scan for channels. It found most of my local channels (I was using a small antenna in my garage, not my main antenna in the house) and I was off and running with live tv. Playing around with NextPVR I found I liked it very much, and it makes a nice alternative to paying Microsoft for the privilege of using Windows Media Center.
Not much else to tell; I got an excellent Hauppauge tuner for next to nothing, and it’ll come in handy with all the Libreelec testing I do. Plus, the tuner I’ve been using for testing is actually falling apart, so it’ll be nice to have something not held together with a rubber band. The included software is pretty much useless given its age, but the free apps available have me covered, and Libreelec should like it just fine.
Score another win for the bargain tech hunter! (that’s me)