"Great alternative to native software TV tuner software"
Version: GB-PVR 1.3.11
Very reliable and very stable.
Records to a .ts file format, which is annoying. The auto-convert is broken. Somewhat difficult to set up.
I almost lost my mind trying to use Pinnacle's horrible TV Center Pro, because it crashed constantly and it had a ridiculously bad interface. I looked everywhere for a replacement, and I found GB-PVR. I avoided it for a long time because it records exclusively to a .ts format. The biggest problem with it is that it cannot record to anything else, and its auto-convert cannot synchronize the audio and video. That's the reason I give it 4/5 instead of 5/5. I finally found a way to convert the files using Handbrake, another program available on download.com. It has a great interface once you get it set up, but it's kind of difficult to do that. It has a great TV Guide, but it's hard to set that up for free (I finally did it using mc2xml, google it if you want more information).
I compare this to Pinnacle TV Center Pro and Hauppauge's WinTV. (I don't compare it to Windows Media Center because last I checked I couldn't find a way to convert Windows 7's wtv formats to something usable.) Both of those are nightmares to use. They have unbelievably bad interfaces and freeze up constantly. And, in addition, their TV Guides suck, even if you pay for a TV Guide service. GB-PVR is free, can be used with a free (or, if you're willing to pay for it, another one that's NOT free) TV Guide service, and it is vastly superior to Pinnacle. The only advantage that Pinnacle has over GB-PVR is the ability to record to divx. Hauppauge doesn't have that ability without paying extra for Wing, so they have no advantage over GB-PVR at all. GB-PVR works better with the Pinnacle and Hauppauge hardware than TVCenter and WinTV do.
To my knowledge, it cannot do closed captioning. I've never really even tried, though, so I could be wrong. I just thought I'd mention that off-hand because that might matter to some people. I personally hate closed captioning, so it's not something that bothers me.
Furthermore, it's not too great on analog recording. Both of my cards can do analog recording, but it can't detect that in either of them; it can only do digital for those particular cards.
All of the negatives being said, if you have a TV tuner and have any frustrations at all, you should try this out. It's far more stable than the native software of Pinnacle or Hauppauge.
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