2 offers
2 offers

TV Tuners Buying Guide

You have to love technology. Just consider something as basic as the TV Tuner. This is a device that allows you to receive, decode, view, and even record TV transmissions on the computer.

Before purchasing a TV tuner, however, you do need to be sure you are making the right choice. The following buyer's guide will ensure that you are able to purchase the ideal unit for your computer system.

Selecting the Tuner

Of course, you have to understand television and your own computer in order to choose the right tuner. For example, up until recently, the only way that a television signal was transmitted was via the analog encoding. That has now changed and the standard TV transmissions are done via digital broadcasting. These are satellite or cable signals, though there are also some terrestrial broadcasts too.

Thus, you are going to need a DVB or digital tuner that will usually be found as USB devices or as PCI cards. If you know much about your computer, you may already know that your motherboard has a slot for at least one type of video card, so that means you need to be sure that you can reasonably add a new card or upgrade to the TV tuner card if you don't intend to use a USB device. (Most experts suggest always going with the internal cards because they are usually stronger than USB devices)

Also, be sure that you have enough room for a new tuner card if you are going the internal route. While your motherboard may be able to accommodate a new card, you may not have a lot of space between existing slots. That would mean you have to seek out a "low profile" card.

When investing in a DVB tuner, be sure that it will work with more than a single signal such as a DVB-T (terrestrial) and a DVB-S (satellite) signals, etc.  Though we did mention the analog models, it is important to remember that analog is a signal that is rapidly being eliminated from all parts of the world. If you insist on using it now, you may be out of luck in terms of TV signals within a few years.

Because it is an internal card that we are recommending, it means that it is likely to be a Windows OS that you will use to operate the tuner. Modern computers with Windows 7 and higher can actually function with multiple tuners, and many come with a remote control meant for such functions.

The experts are recommending that you ignore the remote controls included with any TV tuners and instead work with a universal remote. We point this out to help you in the selection process as some manufacturers may try to increase pricing due to this included device, but it may be of little to no use to you.

Signals Explained

Remember that the cards tend to be described using the single letter that matches the source of the signal. In other words, you will see DVB-S cards that work strictly with satellite signals. You will also see the DVB-C for the cable signals. Generally, this means that most consumers will have to choose between one of three possible designs: the DVB-T, DVB-C, or the DVG-S connections.

What few people immediately understand is that there is often still the need for a subscription to the service in question. for example, Let's say that you purchase a DVB-S tuner and plug it into your home computer system. You will get it to work with your Windows operating software and the media centre too. However, you may still need to be connected via a satellite cable account to obtain the signals. Before you choose your TV tuner, be sure that you are not missing the key component - the TV signal.

Most reputable makers will indicate whether or not you get access using their equipment, and some even package a special discounted subscription offer that allows you to enjoy the service for free or at a reduced rate during an introductory period.

Also, keep in mind that anything added to the motherboard of the computer is going to draw power from it. This can make it a bit of a challenge in terms of cooling the system. Thus, it is imperative to understand what sort of demands the use of the TV tuner will put on the overall system. Finding options with surge protection and maximum current usage is usually the wisest way to go.

Some of the most trusted names in TV tuner cards and USB devices are Hauppauge, AVerMedia, Leadtek, and Pinnacle among others.

Find, compare prices and buy from NZ's best online shops.

25 Exmouth Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland, 1021