I have the HVR 1600 and I'm happy with it. I use Beyond TV to capture, VideoReDo to do quick edits and burn to "HD-DVD on DVD-9" or DVD. The choice to buy one over the other should center around whether you want an FM tuner and whether you system board has PCI-E or PCI slots available. Either interface is more than adequate for capturing video.
Personally, I would rather have a card with no analog tuner since I never use it.
personally i would suggest neither. i have a 1600 and i hate it. i have used it in several different computers and in a few different places and the quality of the images and sounds are terrible. i have used it with mce on xp and vista and with win tv and no matter what program or location i use it in, the quality never improves. that being said it come with an excellent remote which is nice.
thing is these cards are in my price range and happen to be the best analog + digital combo cards according to a lot of people. my system wont have any pci-e 1x ports but will have 3 pci-e 16x (2 of them are at 8x) and 2 pci slots. so i could go either way as i dont plan on using the third pci-e 16x for anything.
and to bdlite1bb have you tried installing the beta drivers or what not? i heard alot of people with your problem with quality then when they installed the beta drivers quality was awsome. also the hvr tv tuners dont work with QAM (digital cable) in MCE. only with the supplied software.
Hauppage software is good but the hardware is inferior...
I tried different TV HD tuners and happauage is not good at all:
Pinacle HD TV: If you are running XP then this is good. HD reception and video is one the best that i have tried.
The bug on this tuner is there is a delay between Video and Audio. No fix available from Pinacle.... You can check the FAQ on the pinacle webpage.
On Vista-64 pinacle drivers don't work. Microsoft Media Center run this card. HD video is great but the audio is delayed.
Avermedia: Dual Tuner / HDTV and Analog / PCIE
The board that i got did not work on Vista-64. I was presented with a lot of installation notes pertaining to issues with Vista.
Hauppage: 1800 PCIE:
Dual Tuner: (HDTV and Analog)
Most stable software and remote-control package that i have tried. It also works in Vista-64 Media Center.
The Analog TV video is worst than the built in Analog Tuner of my TV. Its a degraded version. I tried two 1800 boards and got the same results.
ATI-650 PCI: This is the board that is currently installed in my PC. It works on vista-64 and XP. The drivers have issues with Cyberlink which i used for Blue-Ray and HD-DVD movies.
Other than that, the HD-Video and Analog Video is the best among the video cards that i tried. HD can be closed to Pinacle.
I prefer the Hybrid-Tuners. These are TV tuners that can do both HD and Analog. The advantage is Hybrid Tuners improve the Analog TV reproduction.
These tuners come with remote controls. None of it work to my satisfaction. I'm only interested to the TV tuners only.
With respect to remote control I'm using a bluetooth keyboard/mouse which give me absolute control on what i need to do. I intend purchase logitech Denovo-Edge Mini as my ulitimate multimedia control. It's a palmsize keyboard with slide-pad. Check with logitech.
Take note that I'm using a 70 Inch HDTV as my display. Pixelation or video degradation is very clear and amplified in my set-up.
Thats my input base on actual experiment. Other guys/gals in this forum may have a different view. It's your choice...
The ATI card is bettern in both Digital and Analog. My Digital source is an Amplified Antenna to receive digital HDTV transmission. My analog source is cable.
The ATI tuner have 3D filters that improve the edges of the images. It works on both digital and analog.
The hauppage Analog reproduction is a degraded version. My friends who saw asked what have i done to my TV. I evaluated 2 1800 tuner from hauppage and end up with the same results.
One way to evaluate even before making the final-buy....
Get the tuner from local stores like Frys, Compusa, Microcenter, bestbuy... Check them out before the 14 day or 30 return policy. Thats what i did since Jan-08 i purchased and returned TV tuners from Fry's , and Best buy. It gives you a lot of flexibility to evaluate. Its perfectly legal and within the policy of the stores. Then you find what you want then buy it from newegg.
Spend sometime to try out the boards and find what will meet your requirements.
None of the existing Tuners i tried are perfect. You will see issues left and right. Its better to be able to try these tuners on your setup. It will help you make a better judgement.