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How To Pick The Perfect Tv Tuner Card
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 photos. 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 can watch a channel and record a different show, or record two shows at the same time! Never miss your favorite show because your spouse (or kids) insists 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 additional cables or connections.
Simply screw your power cable (or antenna) to the appropriate 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 an HDTV TV tuner card. Similar to regular TV tuner cards, but capable of receiving and displaying high quality HDTV signals. These cards are perfect if your Media Center PC is connected to an HDTV-capable television (i.e. a 50-inch plasma television) or a computer monitor.
Be aware that some HDTV cards only support OTA (Over-the-Air) broadcasts, which means you’ll need to connect an external antenna to your card and live in an area that has HDTV broadcast stations.
Please note the difference between HDTV and digital cable (or digital satellite). Some HDTV tuner cards do not support digital cable or satellite.
An external TV tuner card connects to your Media Center PC via a USB or Firewire cable. These devices generally offer the same features and functions as their in-house counterparts and can be analog or HDTV compatible.
How to choose the perfect card
First of all, you need to know your main usage of the TV tuner card.
Want to watch and record non-digital TV, cable or satellite shows? Are you going to watch these shows on a non-HDTV TV? If so, a standard analog TV tuner will work for you.
Do you have digital cable, satellite or HDTV? Perhaps you will do most of your viewing on a large screen HDTV or large PC monitor. Choose a quality HDTV tuner card.
Want to use a laptop as a media center? Maybe you don’t feel comfortable opening your computer case to install an internal card. Grab an external USB TV tuner for easy connectivity.
OK… you want the full TV experience. You want to watch one HDTV program 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!
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