HTPC

CableCARD Tuner Comparison

2011 has been a great year for CableCARD tuners. We’ve seen Ceton slash the price of their quad-tuner InfiniTV 4, and expand  their offerings to an external USB tuner. SiliconDust and Hauppauge also released devices of their own. While the new products have helped to bring the costs down, it has also made picking the right option a little more complicated. To help we’ve put together the following to help you make the best decision for your CableCARD equipped home theater PC. All of these tuners will give your home theater PC access to every channel your cable provider offers! If your provider uses Switched Digital Video these tuners will all support that too. While our comparison chart displays the MSRP, you can see from the Amazon prices below that most of these devices are now selling below their list price, making this an ever better time to grab one!

Ceton InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Quad-tuner Card PCIeCeton InfiniTV 4 PCIe (Review)The InfiniTV 4 was the first multi-tuner CableCARD tuner on the market, and because of that it is regarded as the most stable option. Ceton’s tuners offer rock-solid performance. While this card is an internal expansion card, they now offer software that enables the tuners to be shared across the network with other computers.

 

Ceton InfiniTV 4 USBCeton InfiniTV 4 USB (Review)The InfiniTV 4 USB was released this year, and it offers all of the same reliability and features of its PCIe cousin. This device is a great option for small-form-factor (SFF) PCs that don’t have an internal expansion slot. It can also share its tuners across the network utilizing a Windows Media Center plugin like the PCIe version.

 

SiliconDust HDHR3-CC HDHomeRun PRIME CableCARD Premium Digital Cable Television with 3 Digital Tuners, BlackSiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (3) (Announcement)SiliconDust earned a great reputation with their original HDHomeRun. This year they released their first CableCARD tuner. This is a 3-tuner version that, like the original HDHomeRun, connects to PCs through the network by plugging an Ethernet cable into the device.

 

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime Premium Digital Cable Television with Six Digital Tuners - HDHR3-6CC-3x2 (Black)SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (6) (Announcement)The 6-tuner HDHomeRun Prime is essentially two of teh 3-tuner model in one case. Unfortunately that means that you’ll need two CableCARDs, two Ethernet cables, two coax cables, and two separate Switched Digital Video tuning adapters (if required by your cable provider).

 

Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 Dual Tuner Cable Card TV TunerHauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 (Review)Hauppauge is another company that has been selling TV tuners forever, but the initial release of their CableCARD tuner didn’t offer the same features and reliability of the company’s previous offerings. There have been multiple firmware/driver releases since it’s original release though, so it’s reliability should be improved. It does have the advantage of being the cheapest option available.

 

InterfaceTunersCableCARDs
Required
Network
Sharing
PricePrice PerTuner
Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIePCIe41Yes$299$74.75
Ceton InfiniTV 4 USBUSB41Yes$299$74.75
SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (3)Ethernet31Yes$249$83.00
SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (6)Ethernet62Yes$499$83.17
Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650USB21No$149$74.50

 

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About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.