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How do tv tuners for PC work? and how to choose?

by hary536 / May 6, 2008 12:26 PM PDT

Hi, i came across this USB HDTV tuner today: http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=206785668

I am wondering, how do the TV tuners in general work? Do i need any extra hardware/software installed on my computer for this kind of USB tuner?

How can i watch TV programs on my computer? Do i need to have cable connection at home to watch on PC? Is it possible to watch over the air programs on PC with such tuners?

I have a Windows XP, 1.6GHz, 1.5GB RAM, Toshiba laptop.

Any kind of inputs are appreciated.
Thanks a lot!!

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It's plug and play. . .
by Coryphaeus / May 6, 2008 8:35 PM PDT

Install the included software, plug it into a USB port and connect an antenna for over the air reception. Or connect your cable. Or connect a satellite. Select channels with the installed program.

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You might want to consider the requirements
by lacsr / May 6, 2008 9:30 PM PDT

which are exceed on your laptop. It may provide a watchable picture but you probably will not be able to record HDTV for sure.

For ArcSoft TotalMedia Center, Time-shifting and Recording

Intel Pentium-IV 2.4GHz or equivalent AMD CPU or higher
512 MB RAM of system memory or above
USB 2.0 Compliant Slot
Graphics Card (Recommended with DX-VA feature for HDTV programs)
Sound Card (AC97 compatible sound card)
1GB free HD space
CD-ROM Drive (For software installation)

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Can TV tuners be wireless???
by satish_997 / May 7, 2008 2:16 AM PDT

? I have cable. This computer is located in my room though so there is absolutely no way I can get any kind of cable from the TV to the computer. Are there any tuners that are wireless? Does wireless mean the quality won't be as good? Basically, I'm looking for a tv tuner that is 1) wireless 2) can record 1 channel while watching another 3) absolute best possible quality (HD not required) and 4) less than $250; it can be PCI, PCI express x1 or x16. I would be really, really grateful for any suggestions! Happy

Oh yeah, I have XP Pro SP2, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66Ghz, 8GB RAM (totally overkill I know), Western Digital 150GB 10,000RPM Raptor, and a Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM HDD. Does hard drive RPM speed affect recording quality? Would the Raptor be better than the Barracuda in recording?

Thank you!

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Wireless TV tuners
by cbraymen / May 16, 2008 2:38 PM PDT

A few things to mention from the above post:

If you want to watch TV and record TV on your computer then you will need two tuner cards (or a card with two tuners on it). If you want to watch TV on your TV then you can simply use the TVs tuner for watching and the tuner card in the computer for recording.

There's a mention above of 8gb of RAM. Make sure that the card you buy has 64 bit drivers.

There's not a wireless TV tuner... this really depends on your goal. If you are planning on recording TV on your computer and watching it on your TV in the other room you could do something like like Sage TVs media extender. This would allow you to do that (although between the Card+Sage software+media extender, you'd blow your budget by $100 or so).

Alternatively, you could go with Beyond TV as the software interface, a tuner card, and Apple TV connected to the TV. Again this solution is outside of your budget but it would be viable.

It's been my experience that the TV software (not drivers but GUI) that comes with typical tuner cards is less than desirable. This gas led me to try Sage TV and Beyond TV (Sage has better Clear Qam options...google this if HDTV quality is an issue for you) Beyond TV is easier to set up and use.

The seagate drive should be fast enough for recording without issues unless you do something like 4 simultaneous streams.

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Number of tuners
by senorjames / July 19, 2009 3:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Wireless TV tuners

"If you want to watch TV and record TV on your computer then you will need two tuner cards (or a card with two tuners on it). If you want to watch TV on your TV then you can simply use the TVs tuner for watching and the tuner card in the computer for recording."

Do you mean at the same time? Do I need to separate tuners if I don't mind recording one program, then waiting for it to finish before I watch another?

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How do tv tuners for PC work? and how to choose?
by cmjcmjcmj / May 16, 2008 2:34 PM PDT

Really depends on your plans if you intend to down the road go HDMI and do the digital HDTV as it requires a external tuner right now for Hauppauge WinTV like Windows Vista does support digital cable but regular cable it does not so a computer with the connection for digital cable is what your looking for. Hauppauge WinTV does large channelizing numbers but you again have to have a digital cable connection not regular cable, Charter offers both types but most people do not pay attention to the installation plan so everyone is getting regular cable and Charter calls it DSL Cable but it is a channel choice by them of satellite broadcasts which they give you the option to choose for a plan, digital cable costs more yet does not have anything to do with the Internet speed choices they give you. You know cellphones do not have HDMI and are not HDTV capable, AT&T has a new cellphone which receives Cable Television broadcasts. You can find WiFi Hotspots here: http://www.wifiareas.com/. Ever seen a Buddhist Cell Phone here: http://www.therawfeed.com/2008/04/buddhist-cell-phone-one-with-everything.html. There is a new wireless memory card for digital cameras, Eye-Fi card, which tags each image with its GPS location (latitude and longitude coordinates) that can then be used to search for and categorize images. Eye-Fi Explore, is due out next month, taps into a database run by Skyhook Wireless. Like previous Eye-Fi models, Explore can also automatically send photos over Wi-Fi from your camera to your computer or photo-sharing sites when within range. The $129 Eye-Fi Explore comes with 2 gigabytes of storage and works with any camera using SD memory cards. Jef Holove, chief executive of Mountain View, Calif.-based Eye-Fi Inc. is proud to offer a less time consuming product for every digital camera enthusist. Wi-Fi access points are auto sensed so if your digital camera did not come with this you can add it simply by inserting the Eye-Fi card.

You will find that most newly designed electric hybrids support wireless and some laptops support a wireless LCD display. But a hybrid can come equipped with satellite if you have big bucks to have it installed. When your talking wireless it is only a short range feature, like in a Lexus Hybrid the wireless feature is for headphones for use by the rear seat occupants. I did not see them have a option for satellite and that I wonder if Paul McCarthy really has another to install that for in Britain other than the Japanese maker. Story here: http://webpages.charter.net/cmjaltx/docs/LexLS600H/Paul_McCartney_Lexus_LS600H.html

The switch from analog to digital signals will be in 2009 so you got plenty time to decide. You can call 1-888-388-2009 to order the two converter coupons, applicative for antenna reception of digital signals worth $40 each. One is for the TV and the other is for the antenna.

Rabbit and some other transmitter/receiver devices are available so you can do without wires but this is analog with composite video signals likened to what you get from your CAM and to date nothing digital exists. Search for those which you might can obtain at Circuit City or Office Depot. Newer models may have Bluetooth technology like iPod. The FO2800 capable of transmitting high definition video, audio, and control signals simultaneously down one thin, transparent, fiber cable at distances up to 300M. Circuit City has it so if you would rather make your home fiber optical this is the product you need to check into: http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/OWLink-FO2800-Digital-Light-Link-FO2800/sem/rpsm/oid/199720/catOid/-12866/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

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How to use my tuner ??
by InternetPirate / October 11, 2010 10:52 AM PDT

I have an Acer Aspire AM5100 Desktop.
The specs say it has a TV tuner built in. I see on the back on the tower it looks as if there is a yellow video patch plug like a cable box(Satellite,VCR,DVD player etc.) would have but no red and white audio. I should also add that this computer was given to me not working and I had to take it to a shop and have the hard drive formatted and have Windows Vista put back on it. So all drivers and other software is not on the computer.
I went to Acer website and found the driver for the tv tuner but when I download the zip file and open it,.I do not see an install option. I also can't seem to find the tv tuner listed in control panel or under "my computer". I am not familiar with Windows Vista.
If anyone can give me any help I would greatly appreciate it.
Is there a software I need to download as well ?

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need antenna (probably)
by guywayne / May 18, 2008 5:58 AM PDT

I bought a Plextor USB tuner that works quite well. But, the antenna that came with it was junk. It works really good with my outdoor antenna though.
You need to read the fine print when buying, too. Some of the tuners required an amplified antenna, they don't work on thier own, so they might look like a bargain, but require additional expense.

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