Hauppage 2250 is the one of the best card on the market to date. It has 2 HDTV tuner. You can preview while the other one is recording. You can watch another TV channel while the other is recording.
It works well with Windows Media Center. Its own software also works great. I had mine running for close to a year on Vista-64 Ultimate.
Recorded video files can be played by any player such as Windows Media, Windows Media Center, PowerDVD...etc.
Make sure you have big drives for recording. The biggest recording i had is ~ 27Gbyte for a single >3hrs show in HD(one file).http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116036
You don't need the TOP DOG video card to do this. I can't comment on actual performance experience for lower card since i always use the high end card(i.e. now crossfire 4890). TO EMPHASIZE YOU DON'T NEED HIGH END CARD FOR THIS.