Tuners like the Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD tuner combine OTA with your desktop device, enabling you to watch live TV. The standard free OTA digital HDTV in North America is known as ATSC, and there is no monthly fee attached to viewing services from these broadcasters and networks. All you need for setup is an antenna to pick up your nearest signal. Digital cable TV is known as Clear QAM, and this allows people to watch unencrypted HDTV stations from cable television without a set-top box. Unlike ATSC, Clear QAM requires a cable TV subscription. With the Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD tuner, you can pick up ATSC OTA digital HDTV if you reside in North America at no additional cost. You will need to contact your local service provider if you are unsure about the availability of Clear QAM in your area, and if you receive this service by paying a monthly fee, the WinTV-dualHD tuner can be used to pick up these television channels also.

What is a dual tuner for TVs?

Dual tuner DVRs were incredibly popular when they first came out, as they enabled recording two shows at once, watching one while recording another, recording a show and watching as it recorded or recording two shows while watching a pre-recorded one. They were largely first introduced in cable or satellite TV set-top boxes, such as TiVo. All current DVRs will support dual-tuner requirements. If you want to keep many of the recordings you make with a dual tuner, you need to have a large hard drive, an external hard drive to connect with the DVR or be prepared to burn your recordings to DVDs. 

WinTV-dualHD tuner features

  • Dual tuner, enabling users to watch one channel while recording another one
  • Picture in picture functionality so users can watch two TV programs at once
  • Enables users to receive free over the air ATSC HD TV or clear QAM digital cable TV
  • Programs can be recorded in their original digital quality
  • Plugs into the USB port located on your desktop or laptop computer
  • Status indicator LEDs show the user that the tuner is loaded into Windows
  • LED indicates the TV signal strength at the current moment
  • An improved TV receiver with high quality over the air (OTA) TV reception
  • Remote control included for easy and convenient channel browsing or controls e.g. pause, rewind, record

Appearance and installation

The WinTV-dualHD tuner is a small USB stick with a coaxial jack on one side of it. Within the box you receive upon purchase, there is also a USB extender, a small remote with a battery, an antenna with a 10 mile range and an installation CD. The installation for the WinTV-dualHD tuner is old-school, but easy enough to navigate through. After plugging in both the device and the antennas, users need to insert the CD into their disk drive to install the drivers, followed by

the WinTV program.The tuner’s installation CD allows users to install the Hauppauge WinTV v8 application. Alternatively, you can get the latest version of Plex Media Server, as this software supports WinTV-dualHD for TV recording on Windows and Linux devices. 

By plugging in the WinTV-dualHD tuner to a USB port on your Windows computer or laptop, you will be able to watch, pause, rewind and record live television. Furthermore, you will have these controls over two channels of ATSC, clear QAM High Definition or Standard Definition TV. Because this tuner comprises two complete tuners, the hardware facilitates a number of functions. You can record one show while watching another on a different channel, record two shows at once, have picture-in-picture or view two complete TV windows on your computer or laptop screen at the same time. Essentially, by plugging in the WinTV-dualHD tuner to your device, you’re turning it into a HDTV digital video recorder, or DVR. Two programs can be recorded simultaneously while retaining their original HD quality. 

The software uses an electronic program guide called TitanTV to schedule TV recordings, and this system allows you to see both what’s currently airing on TV and what’s coming up in the future. Bear in mind, though, that the WinTV-dualHD tuner is designed for digital TV only – not analog TV. If analog TV is what you require, you can use a WinTV-HVR product, such as the WinTV-HVR-955Q, which facilitates this function. The HVR stands for hybrid video recorder, and WinTV devices with HVR in the title will support both analog and digital TV reception.

User experience

To scan for channels, simply open up the program and follow the semi-automated process. You can switch through channels using either the remote or the controls on the screen. There’s an option to rewind what you’re watching if you’ve missed part of it, as the program saves the video as it’s picked up by the signal and streamed. In addition, manual recordings can be set up, and the beauty of having a dual tuner like this one is being able to watch one channel while recording another one. Opening a recording is a similarly easy process, as all you have to do is click on the relevant button and open up a file browser to find the one you want.

Streaming quality

In terms of visual quality, the WinTV-dualHD tuner lets you switch to full screen while streaming live TV, so you won’t have to view the on-screen controls all the time. As mentioned, the antenna in the box covers a range of around ten miles. This will suffice if you live in a populated area, but if you’re in a more remote location, you may have to supplement the signal with an antenna of your own. The broadcast quality matches that seen with a traditional TV experience, and although there is a small delay when switching channels, the clear benefit with this setup as opposed to a standard television is the ability to rewind and record live TV.


The Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD tuner allows users to watch, record and use video controls on two streams of live TV at once. By simply plugging in a small device to the USB port on your desktop laptop or computer, and making use of an antenna if you live in a rural area, you will be able to record hours of your favorite shows without the need for a traditional TV. The benefits of dual tuners have been known for a while and presented in traditional set-top boxes, but now you can buy devices such as the WinTV-dualHD tuner to carry out the same functions for digital TV on your desktop.

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