Monday, March 30, 2009

Free after rebate software : Corel Media One vs Hauppauge Win TV HVR-1800 video capture card

It pays to resist the temptation to acquire and install more software, especially software that is free after rebate, like my neighborhood Fry's Electronics likes to do to empty their shelves.

Assuming you do get your rebate - and so far I have gotten nearly all of mine, although not in the delays advertised, the costs of "free after rebate" software can be far higher than your time spent filling out, scanning, OCR'ing, and mailing out the rebate forms, the interest on your money during the 6 months period you can expect to be out your cash, or the amount of the sales tax which isn't refunded by the rebate.

Buying retail software was something I had rarely done - I used OS/2 as my home OS from 1992 to 2007, and I never found much of anything in stores. But in 2007, I switched over to the dark side - I started using Windows Vista x64 instead.

I have since bought many, many software programs for minimal cost due to "free after rebate" deals. Some of which I needed, and many others that I never actually used.

I needed a good photo editing program, and I thought Corel Photo Impact Pro 13 would be it. Very big mistake. This program has conflicts with many others, not the least of which is with the programs from the Hauppauge HVR-1800 WinTV capture card. Everytime I started WinTV, it would display the message "Please wait while Windows configures Corel Media One". One would click cancel, and the dialog would come again 3 times, until WinTV would actually come up. And then the picture was square instead of 4:3 format, not filling the whole windows, even if maximized.

Since the error message seemed to point out the source of the conflict, I decided to uninstall Media One. Unfortunately, that did not solve the problem with the shape of WinTV. After reinstalling WinTV also, the picture now came in the right shape at startup. But there was no longer any sound, or video motion. The software only displayed the initial from the VCR hooked up to the composite input, and nothing more.

It was time to boot to my "test" Vista partition, setup for the purpose of checking compatibility issues only. That partition never had either Corel or Hauppauge software installed. I installed the Hauppauge WinTV. It worked fine the first time, with sound.

The conclusion - there is still another software conflict somewhere remaining on my production Vista partition, which prevents me from using WinTV. But I don't know what it is.

Maybe after my next full system backup, I will delete a few of the 100+ programs that are installed and try to figure it out. I will be sure to update this page. Stay tuned - I won't be on my WinTV.

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