If you are like many other computer users, you might be watching more videos (including TV shows) on your computer. Whether at home, the office, or coffee shop, more people are ditching their TVs for their computers. One way to watch live TV broadcasts without having to connect to the Internet is with an HDTV tuner card. HDTV tuners are perfect for watching over the air Analog and HDTV broadcasts.
Types of HDTV Tuner Cards
There are two types of HDTV tuner cards. The first is the PCI card, which is slipped into your laptop. The other more common and convenient type is a USB device that looks like a jump drive. This is plugged into the computer’s USB.
Computer Hardware & Software Requirements
Generally, computers can be viewed in place of a TV if one uses an HDTV tuner card. A computer should have a graphics card with at least 64 MB, an 800 MHZ processor, and an operating system of Windows 2000 or above. When you purchase an HDTV tuner card, you will not only receive the actual tuner, but software to operate your tuner and a remote control. You may download additional (free) software to help you record TV shows on your hard drive, just like a Tivo.
Picking Up Signals from Cable and Satellite Broadcasts
It should be noted that HDTV tuners only pick up free, unencrypted HDTV signals. This means that besides the common networks, you probably will not be able to pick up any additional channels from satellite. HDTV tuners can hook directly to older cable boxes, but most only include connections to analog devices.