With a PC HDTV tuner card, you can watch TV using an antenna or from a cable or satellite signal. Most of Tuners are also available that are compatible with analog, digital and high definition (HD) signals but currently, HD signals from an antenna are the only ones that tuners can process.If you plan to watch a lot of HDTV programs, an upgraded HDTV Tuner card would be a good idea.
A PC HDTV tuner card can be installed in a PCI or PCI-e slot of your personal computer or in an external box connected to your computer by USB. After you load the tv tuner card software to your PC, the PC HDTV tuner card will allow you to watch television programs in high definition on your computer. Most of HDTV tuner cards range in price from $50 to $250.
The cards, which also will typically allow you to see analog shows, work a lot like a DVR, allowing you to pause live programs and record programs that can be watched later. When programs are paused or recorded, they are stored on your hard drive. Some tv tuners are controlled by your mouse and keyboard, but many come with remote controls. You can even record two HDTV shows at the same time or watch one live while recording a second show if you have multiple tuners or if you use a dual digital tuner like TBS 6981 pc tv card.
HDTV tuners are popular in the format of PCI cards, which cut down on clutter because once the cards are installed; they are out of the way. But several USB-connected external HDTV tuners are available. Although USB tuners tend to cost more than the cards, they are useful for people who don't have open PCI slots on their PCs and for people who want to watch high definition TV on their laptops. Some usb tv tuner cards, like TBS 5980, also are design with CI slot, which enables you insert smart card and watch pay tv directly.
Before purchasing, Make sure you check out the PC hardware and software requirements of any Tv tuner cards. Many work with Media Center,Vista ,Linux and XP. Most cards require a minimum of 128 MB memory and an 800 Mhz processor. Keep in mind that a recorded high definition program will use about 9 GB per hour.In addition, the built-in video on your PC may not be enough to support the use of your tuner. You will likely need a video capture card with at least 64 MB memory.