After a few hours of shaking my head in disbelief I finally gave up and left my friend with a barely working solution. I'm writing this here in hope that someone may have some helpful advice, but also to give some perspective on how many things simply seem to suck when it comes to Windows software.
1. You can't sign up to the Argus forums (the activation e-mail never arrives). If I could I probably wouldn't be writing this here.
2. It takes about 8 seconds to zap channels, even with Margro's latest beta build. I don't even want to know how long it would take with vanilla XBMC. The tuner's light is green when a channel is tuned, but when switching channels it stays yellow for about five seconds. Has anyone experienced this? I would never buy a Hauppage product myself but this is ridiculous. How are these people still in business?
3. Argus apparently doesn't understand that channels have numbers. This means when you scan for services and map them to channels they all end up in alphabetic order. Quoting http://www.argus-tv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=4066:
Quote:Why don't you order channels in the Argus scheduler console, then if BBC1 is fist in list pressing 1 should change to that channel, pressing 3 to ITV etc.
How about no? Does anyone know of some way to get Argus to detect the channel numbers automatically or am I out of luck here?
4. I wasted about half an hour trying to get the CAM device to work until I noticed that Argus by default puts a limit of zero on the amount of channels that a CAM can decrypt. Who the hell came up with that default? How could anyone possibly have a device that can decrypt 0 channels at a time?
5. I don't know if this is down to the bright minds at Hauppage or if it's a fault in Argus, but there is one frequency that simply cannot be scanned. I added the correct frequency to the Cables.xml file but it always says "No signal" on it, like it's not there. Has anyone experienced this?
While searching for some answers I stumbled upon http://www.argus-tv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=4795. The guy had to explain five times that the exact same setup worked with another operating system with another backend. "but it could be your codecs". The possibility that Windows as a platform is one of the worst imaginable for a PVR doesn't even seem to cross some peoples minds.
6. Speaking of scanning for services, Argus can't seem to auto-discover multiplexes at all. If the provided presets don't work for you (they usually never do since things change) you have to manually edit an XML file, which naturally contains cryptic substitutions for critical information (QAM256 is 5, QAM128 is 4 and so on).
Frankly I'm amazed by the level of suckage Windows users put up with. This truly is the last time I ever do anything PVR related on Windows. I already said the same thing when I tried NextPVR for the first and last time a few months ago, but this time I'm convinced it's true. It's 2014 and basic features like discovering services and channel numbers are non-existant (and colors in the EPG for that matter, though that may be up to the XBMC addon). I could write a page long rant about how ridiculously complicated and slow software descrambling is on Windows but that'll have to pass.
In defense of Argus users, at least NextPVR takes suckage to a whole other level. It simply doesn't work.