Choosing the right TV tuner card is harder than ever. Simplify your life with this easy guide!
A Media Center PC without Live TV capability is just another computer that stores your music, movies and pictures. Bring it to life with the simple addition of one (or more) easy-to-install components!
With a TV tuner card (and the right software), you can:
* Watch and Record Live TV
* Pause and rewind (then Fast Forward) Live TV
* Browse program listings and schedule recordings days in advance
* Store your favorite shows on your computer, then burn them to a CD or DVD
If you have two (or more) cards, you are able to watch one channel and record a different show, or record two shows at the same time! Never miss your favorite program because your spouse (or kids) insist on watching ‘their’ show.
Types of Tuner Cards
Internal TV tuner cards. The most common type available. These cards plug into a slot inside your PC. They do not require any extra cables or connections.
Simply screw your Cable TV feed (or antenna) to the proper port on the back of the card. Many also accept other types of video inputs (S-video, component-video), and some include FM tuners.
For ultimate TV quality, choose a HDTV TV Tuner Card. Similar to regular TV tuner cards, but able to receive and display high-quality HDTV signals. These cards are perfect if your media center pc is attached to a HDTV capable TV (ie. 50-inch Plasma TV) or a computer monitor.
Be aware that some HDTV cards only support OTA (Over-the-Air) broadcasts, which means you will need to attach an external antenna to your card — and live in an area that has HDTV broadcasting stations.
Please note the difference between HDTV and Digital Cable (or Digital Satellite). Some HDTV tuner cards will not handle Digital Cable or Satellite.
An external TV tuner card connects to your Media Center PC through a USB or Firewire cable. These devices generally offer the same features and functions as their internal counterparts, and can be either analog or HDTV capable.
How to Choose the Perfect Card
First off, you need to know your main use for the TV tuner card.
Interested in watching and recording non-digital TV, cable, or satellite shows? Will you view these shows on a non-HDTV TV? If so, then a regular analog TV tuner will be right for you.
Do you have digital cable, satellite, or HDTV? Maybe you’ll be doing most of your viewing on a big-screen HDTV or large PC monitor. Pick a quality HDTV tuner card.
Want to use a laptop as a media center? Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable opening up your computer case to install an internal card. Grab an external USB TV tuner for easy connectivity.
OK…you want the full-blown TV viewing experience. You want to watch one HDTV show while recording another. Simple…get two (or more) TV tuner cards! Add as many as you want (or have slots for). Hey, it’s your life. Watch TV on your terms!