Custom Search

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD Review

Sponsored Links

I have just recently purchased a USB TV Tuner from Terratec this month and it cost 99 Euros. The Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD and here are its specs:



Features
- DVB-T (DTT, Freeview), DVB-C and analogue TV and radio receiver
- Remote control and antenna included
- Breakout cable video input/audio input
- Video Codecs: MPEG 2, MPEG 4 / H.264 for HD
- Audio Codecs: AC3 Dolby Digital, MPEG Audio
- Digital video recorder
- EPG, Teletext and TimeShifting
- Picture in Picture within a transponder
- Browser TV
- USB 2.0 compatible
- Power supply via USB



General
- Plug’n’Play
- Voltage: 5V DC (USB bus powered)
- Current: 480mA
- Housing colour: white/grey
- Dimensions: 80 x 30 x 15 mm (wide x height x deep)
- Weight: 30 gramm

Infrared remote control
- 48 buttons
- Weight: 82 gramm (incl. batteries)
- 2xAAA batteries

System requirements
- 2.0 GHz Intel or AMD CPU
- 1024 MB RAM
- Windows XP SP2 / Vista
- 1 available USB 2.0 interface
- 300 MB free hard drive space for software installation
- Direct-X-compatible audio hardware
- Direct-X-compatible video card with video overlay function
- CD/DVD drive for driver/software installation
- CD/DVD drive for creating CDs/DVDs

System recommendation for HDTV reception
- Dual Core Intel or AMD CPU for HDTV decoding
- 1024 MB RAM (Win XP) 2048 MB RAM (Win Vista)
- Graphics card with hardware acceleration for HDTV
- Terrestrial digital TV reception (DVB-T, Freeview, TNT) with HD resolution

Software
- TerraTec Home Cinema
- MAGIX Movies on CD & DVD TV Edition
- Codec set for HDTV


This is my first time using a TV Tuner to both my Laptop and my Desktop so I can't really compare which brand is better or what is the best brand. So I will just compare the video quality of my 23 inch DELL LCD (with the Cinergy TV Tuner stick) and my old 32 inch GRUNDIG CRT TV.

The video quality of my GRUNDIG CRT TV is better than my DELL LCD. I am not surprised about this because in my opinion, LCDs can't beat the CRTs in terms of Video Quality as of now. If I say my GRUNDIG's video quality is 10 out of 10, I say that my DELL LCD (with the Cinergy TV Tuner stick)'s video quality is 8 out of 10. I think this is not bad for an LCD Monitor using only a USB TV Tuner.

The channel scanning only took 5 to 10 minutes and it detected all 60+ channels that my GRUNDIG shows. I also have no problems with my Remote Control. Every button works as I have expected. Pressing the power button would turn on or off the TV Tuner Software. Pressing the record button will record the show. I could also change channels while I am recording a specific channel (I love this feature ^_^).

I think that with a PCI TV Tuner Card the video quality would be better than a USB. But unfortunately I didn't find a PCI TV Tuner Card that is capable of DVB-C and DVB-T that I like. (BTW, the connection type in my place is DVB-C but I have heard from the news that Germany plans to implement DVB-T in All of Germany, so I decided to buy a Hybrid TV Tuner) I chose this product not because I have no choice but because it is just a USB Stick so I could use it with my laptop and my desktop (unlike PCI cards where you have to open your pc case) anytime I want. It is portable and handy.

The only 1 problem (which I solved immediately) was when I first installed the device. The remote control is working, the software is running fine, it scanned and detected both TV and FM channels. But after 5 minutes of viewing a channel (any channel) , the software will start to freeze and hang and then display a "NO SIGNAL" message. I searched Terratec's site for solutions and immediately noticed that they have an updated driver available. The driver version in the Installation CD is 5.8.0430.0. The updated driver version is 5.8.630.0. I installed the latest driver and it worked! So if you have encountered this problem please do not decide immediately to return the product as the solution is very simple. Just update the driver.

Overall I was very satisfied with Terratec's Cinergy HTC USB XS HD TV Tuner. I have not encountered any other problems so far (except for the problem above) and I am still playing and experimenting with its features and possibilities.

Which TV Tuner did or have you purchased? Is the Video Quality good? Have you encountered major problems with the product? Was it fixed? Please share your ideas or experiences. ^_^

[Update January 15, 2009]
If you want a sample recorded video (raw format is AVI) with Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD, please watch this.

[Update January 29, 2009]
If you want a sample recorded video (raw format is MPEG) with Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD, please watch this.

[Update January 29, 2009]
If you want a sample JPEG Image Capture with Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD, please read this post.

Other Posts:


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a Terratec PCI express Dual tuner card (Cinergy DT2400i)and the video quality is very good. It is only a DVB-T card, but I also have cable so I wanted a device which supports DVB-C.
I am downsizing my PC to a mini-itx system which has no room for PCI cards, so the Cinergy HTC USB XS HD seems ideal.
Does your video come from a standard resolution channel or HD?

PING_TM said...

Hello Anonymous and thanks for leaving a comment.

I believe some channels come from HD (but not all channels are offered in HD here in Germany).

I am using a DVB-C connection (since that is whats provided by the cable service provider)

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I was very happy when I saw this post because I decide to buy a stuff like that.
Here in Romania I didn't find any post on forums about this device. I would like to record on PC HD programs that are available free-to-air in Bucharest. My system is composed by followings: Intel CPU E8400 (3.0GHz, 6124 L2 cache, 1333 MHz bus), Asus video card that support HD (1080p), 4GB of RAM (2x2 dual channel) and a Asus motherboard P5KC. I don't know if the picture is freezing or crashing in DVB-T HD modes.
I would like to thank's all who can help me with a good advice.

EditorPinoy said...

Halu,

I am glad that you've found this site. ^_^
Sad to say this but I don't have any experience about DVB-T mode which I could draw from.
The only mode available in my location is only DVB-C (which the application crashes very rarely, maybe 3 to 5 times since I bought the device last December 2008).

Hope this helps.

Bouba said...

The only problem I'm having is that I can't get sound for HD channels because of AC3. Any advice?

EditorPinoy said...

Hi Bouba,

Sorry I don't have any experience about your problem which I could draw from. I tried searching the Internet and found these sites:

No sound on HD channels with Vista MCE
AC3 Filter's audio volume problem between HDTV and non-HDTV (SD)
No sound with AC3 passthrough
Hope this helps ^_^

Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD - Sample Recorded AVI Video

Anonymous said...

"I think that with a PCI TV Tuner Card the video quality would be better than a USB. But unfortunately I didn't find a PCI TV Tuner Card that is capable of DVB-C and DVB-T that I like."

There shouldn't be any noticeable picture quality difference between usb and pci tv-cards. The video decoding software should be receiving exactly the same bit-stream, unless one of them is more sensitive and the signal is weak enough to cause corruption/artefacts/blackouts because of failing error correction. But these errors can be detected by software (transport-stream analysers) and are probably not the things you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

I just got this card, and am a bit disappointed I don't find a way to connect it to my cable DVB-C decoder (a Motorola DVI 3120). My plan was to, somwhow, be able to pass the output of the decoder to the computer, by using one of the two connections. Can't seem to be able to work out even the RCA connection. Any suggestions?

Cheers for the info provided here :)
Ivasar, from Spain

EditorPinoy said...

Hi Ivasar,

Sorry I did not understand your situation. Actually I did not use any decoder because this is a USB device. I just plugged it right away on my computer.

Sorry if this did not answer your answer your question.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately , starting from june 2009, this device is not able to decode audio in France.
R5 multiplex Channels: TF1HD , France2HD and M6HD migrated to Dolby Digital plus, not decoded by terratec driver.

Ole said...

Hi there.
Found your page via google.

It seems to me like you have no idea whether you're actually using DVB-C or Analog.

Why do I say this?
Well you compare the signal to you GRUNDIG CRT which I doubt has a DVB-C decoder. Then you compare the two and say the Grundig is best.
To me this can only mean that your review is only a review of the analog part of this device.

DVB-C is a digital signal that is delivered along with analog signals through your cable TV cable.
You need to examine your Terratec settings (in the tuner program) and make sure that you also scan for DVB-C channels.
You cannot be sure that you have unencoded DVB-C signals in your cable. You have to ask or look at the website of your cable provider to find out whether there are indeed unencoded DVB-C signals that you can recieve.

Once you finally figure out how to watch real HD (DVB-C) signals with the Terratec I will bet you that you will give the CRT (and analog signals) a character of 5/10, while the DVB-C are 10/10.

You may or may not have configured this correctly already but I honestly find it hard to believe that you find analog signals better (even though displayed on a CRT which is indeed richer in colors but has crappier quality).

EditorPinoy said...

Hi Ole,

Why do I say this?
Well you compare the signal to you GRUNDIG CRT which I doubt has a DVB-C decoder.
[TechMata] Yes there is DVB-C decoder BUT it is not integrated with the CRT, the decoder is a SEPARATE device. That's why I bought this specific model because it supports DVB-C.

Then you compare the two and say the Grundig is best.
[TechMata] Again, the decoder is a separate device which is connected to the CRT.

You need to examine your Terratec settings (in the tuner program) and make sure that you also scan for DVB-C channels.
[TechMata] Yes I did that.

Once you finally figure out how to watch real HD (DVB-C) signals with the Terratec I will bet you that you will give the CRT (and analog signals) a character of 5/10, while the DVB-C are 10/10.
[TechMata] OK, I will try to work on this if I have time.

Thank you very much for your comment! =)

Anonymous said...

plz help. i bought this tv tuner but the picture is jumping allmost all the time.. i updatet the driver. but no help. what can be the problem. signal is 100%

EditorPinoy said...

Have you tried to install the correct drivers from here?

Anonymous said...

For romanian guy that post here, this tuner work with UPC and RDS in Bucuresti. I have 140 channels with all, analog, digital, HD and radio.
Quality is impresive on digital and HD, and ok on analog.
Analog mode could be improved at quality, it has no hardware encoder and this makes quality worst a little.
Channel Switch is slow in digital mode, like 3-5 seconds or more.

Anonymous said...

For analog tv, use Timeshifting, activate timeshift, if you do that then image quality on analog will be improved, at least in Terratec Home Cinema.

Liviu Mihai said...

@Anonymus MAY 7, 2010 12:42 AM

How did you scan and found channel on RCS dvb-c. What country did you choose from the list?

Post a Comment

Custom Search