TV Tuner Cards

Software

One consideration that many overlook when shopping for digital TV tuner hardware is the software packages to drive the tuner. Because the hardware is next to useless without software, it's important to include the software that comes with the card as part of the buying decision. Poor software will make the tuner difficult to use, and a stable, full-featured and well-designed package will improve the TV viewing experience. Some of the features to look out for are time-shifting, scheduling (programming the tuner to record either a set show or for a set time period) and integration of an Electronic Program Guide (EPG). Some even include the ability to burn recorded TV directly to CD or DVD, which can be a massive time saver for serious users.

Time-shifting

Time-shifting is another compelling reason to go digital. Quite simply, time-shifting allows the viewer to pause a live TV broadcast and then resume it later on. Imagine you're watching a show and the phone rings. You press pause and answer the phone, but the computer keeps receiving the digital content while the show is paused. This information is written to the hard disk until you press pause again and continue playback. At this point, the recording will continue to buffer to the hard disk while you catch up. Using time-shifting, you can sit down to watch a half-hour show ten minutes after it started, and then press fast-forward to speed through all the advertisements while you're watching.

Time shifting also allows you to record shows and watch them later, and because digital TV is broadcast as an MPEG-2 stream, the computer only needs to decode the broadcast if it's playing it back. So, if you're not watching while you're recording, the PC can simply save the stream directly to the hard disk, which requires relatively little processing power. Bear in mind that this takes a large amount of hard disk space (approximately 1MB per second for an SD stream), so you'll want to regularly archive any recorded footage by burning it to CD or DVD. Also, keep in mind that if you are recording programs to the hard drive, you will require a significantly higher storage capacity to record HD programs as it records at between 2-3MB per second.

Electronic Program Guides

One issue that has stifled the uptake of digital tuners in Australia is the slow offering of an Electronic Program Guide (EPG). An EPG allows the user to schedule recordings based on the show listings. Instead of setting up a VCR to record a certain channel at a certain time, as in the past, you can set the software to record a certain show every day of the week. The software can be configured to start recording when the show comes on, and then turn off when the show finishes.

The program information is broadcast over the air as binary information that can be received by the software, or as a video stream that can be read by the user. There is also commercial EPG subscription-based services. Ice TV lists EPG information for Australia, which can automatically be downloaded to your PC and used for easier and detailed scheduling. They also offer a service called PIMP which allows you to schedule programs from any computer connected to the Internet or even using your 3G mobile phone.

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GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide

14 Comments

Anonymous

1

thanks really useful

Anonymous

2

this site is great, i have been looking for information all over the place and this site answered all my questions, thanks!!!

Gerry Hiles

3

TV card

Many thanks for the info. Now I know which way to go.

Anonymous

4

PC TV

Thanks, this site has made it very clear on how to set up and what to purchase to enable me to tune in to digital TV and Radio stations on my PC. Great site.

John Harnett

5

TV Card

I recently purchased a new computer and am running Windows 7. My old computer ran on XP and had a DVB TV card in it that did not work in the new computer. Unfortunately all 4 of the USB points are being used by keyboard, mouse, printer and modem. now if I want a new TV card I have to get one that works with W7 either a card or a USB TV but if I go down the USB track I need to get a USB hub to give me more USB connections. If I do get a USB TV I should get a powered USB hub because they are much more reliable but obviously require a power outlet. Can you recommend which way to go ? I am not very computer literate and would have to pay about $100 to get someone out just to install a TV card if that is the way I decide to go ?

What can you suggest ?

emily

6

have fun of statellite tv on pc

I had been used to watch TV with satellite dish like many people ,as you know, I should pay $90.00 every month, It's expensive but have to pay. Last week, my friend recommend me a software ---SatelliteDirect,which can watch TV on PC .Most importantly, it is much more cheaper and useful, I only need to pay $49.95 for one-time fee and can watch over 3,500 TV channels worldwide including movies, sports, comedy, news, music channels, documentaries and much more. All I need is a PC or laptop with an internet connection. I'm a newbie, so I worried it will be very cumbersome. Afterwards, I follow the steps they gave and finally find it is really as easy as 1,2,3.
It's really amazing, you can have a try. Download it with this link: http://softjohn.com/tv_on_pc/pctv.html

Brian

7

Bad Advice

3500 channels of useless crap. I tried it for an hour and have requested a refund.
There are no useful english (AUS, UK, US) channels that you coldn't stream for free over the internet anyway.
This product mis represents itelf too stating 3500 chennels of HD content. There was nothing HD about what I saw.
Buyers beware.

emily

8

watch tv on pc

Are you put off by the cost of cable or satellite tv? Now you can just pay49.5$,a one-time fee less than one month of your monthly cable bill, and watch your favorite TV shows all your time. It’s a big save ,no need to have statellite dish ,receiver or any other equipments ,all you need is a computer and an internet connection . Here you can check out more in this site :
http://softjohn.com/tv_on_pc/pctv.html

PARKAR A R

9

TV tuner Card

Dear Sir,
I want to buy a TV Tuner Card (External) for the following two purposes:
1) I have some old VHS movies and also my camcorder is a DV camcorder, where I need to transfer all the video to my desktop PC so that I can edit and make movies (home videos).
2) I need to use the TV tuner card for watching free to Air and also Paid TV channel thru my satellite TV box on my PC.
Please suggest me which of the TV tuner cards suits best to my requirement and where would it be available. I am a resident of DUBAI, U. A. E.
Thanks & Best Regards.

jack

10

A new MyGica brand TV tuner with DAB radio

Hi, can you tell me do you know a brand MyGica whose T803 TV tuner with DAB radio? it seems like very good for me, I live far away from the downtown and DAB radio is my favorite while I am working at home.

Marc

11

I have looked for days and can not find any concrete answer. I would like to know if a) You have to have a service provider such as Dish or DirecTv in the area. b) What type of programming can be picked up? For example local only, international only, USA only?
and most importantly c) If I live lets say in Mississippi, can I use a TV Tuner Card to pick up LIVE NFL Football from Detroit, MI, or any other state that I happen to want to watch a LIVE NFL Game from?

Also, if the answer to C is no, any ideas other than DirecTV's NFL Sunday ticket on how to watch my favorite teams games without having to move back to the state?

Thanks in advance.

Mat Walker

12

We only watch free-to-air digital and just over a year ago I purchased a Compro E900F dual tuner card for my HTPC Media Center Vista box. I also installed, and subscribe to, the by-donation EPGStream system for the program guide. With this (very easy to use) setup we dont actually watch live TV anymore as we have told it what programs we like and that it should record when it see's they are on.

By not watching live TV we can just skip all the adverts (a Godsend for Masterchef!!). If we do watch live TV then we pause/timeshift when we like.

One downside to the E900F is that the Compro software that comes with it is truely awful and badly lets down what is a very good piece of kit. I have disabled the Compro s/w, except the remote control service, which helps but the remote control service constantly eats 4-5% CPU (even when doing nothing) and often the remote stops working with CPU going up to 50% and we have to plug a keyboard in and restart the PC. Even with the dreadful Compro software, it still makes a great TV and sop highly recommend a E900F (and the EPGStream system).

Hope the comment helps :-)

tumaini mwakapoja

13

i have a tv turner card (philips) . i am looking for its drivers

JEANNE

14

IF I INSTALLED THE THE TV TUNER TO MY PC, WOULD I BE ABLE TO GET THE CANNELS THAT I HAVE ON COMCAST, IE CNN, FOX AND ETC OR JUST WHAT WOULD COME IN OVER OUTSIDE ANTENNAE?

Comments are now closed.

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