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Are there any lightweight "TV" applications for Windows that DON'T try to be all-encompassing home media center servers, and are content to just tune a 19.2mbit/sec ATSC bitstream with a USB 8VSB tuner (like the Hauppauge HVR-950Q), grab the data & demux out the relevant MPEG-2 streams, and display it in a window?

This isn't a theoretical question. I have a HVR-950Q. I have a laptop with Vista Business. I bought the tuner so I could watch TV during hurricanes using my laptop. And Miami might be having a hurricane later this week.

Every single application I've found to date for TV-viewing under Windows with a USB tuner seems determined to launch guides, schedulers, act like a TiVo, and pretty much do everything besides be a nice, well-behaved viewer app that knows when to politely shut up and go away when I close it. Is it really asking for too much to want an app that only runs when I want it to run, and does the bare minimum necessary to render an MPEG-2 ATSC video stream to a window when it's running? I don't want anything running in the background unless I'm actively watching TV. I don't want drivers adding 10 seconds to Windows' startup time every time I boot.

(for the record, I've tried MediaPortal -- it was extremely heavyweight in terms of both total installation space and background services that run when TV viewing isn't actively taking place. I'm sure it's a great total HTPC solution, but it's definitely NOT the app to use for casually watching OTA TV from a USB tuner on a laptop once in a blue moon)

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Do you have windows media player? – soandos Aug 21 '11 at 7:23
Windows media player, or Windows media center? It's Vista Business. – Bitbang3r Aug 21 '11 at 15:33
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Have you tied VLC? It supports a number of TV tuners for TV watching.

There's a list here but it's worth trying even if yours is not listed:

A web search finds a lot of sites covering this but I couldn't find one with a clear guide I'd specifically like to mention so the setup may be a bit fiddly.

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Hmmm. I'll have to give that a try later today. I wasn't aware that VLC could interact directly with tuners. It makes sense, though :) – Bitbang3r Aug 21 '11 at 15:39
Thanks! VLC is exactly what I was looking for :-) – Bitbang3r Aug 22 '11 at 4:12

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