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Thread: TV Tuner




  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default TV Tuner

    Brief run down on my system....
    P4, 2.4 Ghz
    intel mobo with integrated lan and 6 USB 2.0 ports
    2 GB DDR Ram
    128MB DDR nVidia GeForce FX 5200 - changed fan to a copper fan
    40 GB HD (Running XP Pro SP2 and programs)
    120 GB HD for storage
    16x Lite-On DVDRW drive (4x Dual layer)
    16x Lite-On DVD-Rom
    four 80mm system fans (LED)
    9 format multimedia card reader
    5 port (1 internal) usb 2.0 card
    some old soundblaster sound card from my old dell tower back in the day
    clear side
    blue cathode light
    round cables
    17" LCD monitor with speakers
    altec lansing speakers with sub
    logitech cordless desktop lx 700
    blah blah blah

    Well, I'm kinda running out of things to add/change/upgrade.

    I'm not much of a gamer, so I don't need to change the video card at all, as this has more than enough for everything I do. Adding the DVDRW drive recently (about a month ago) I can now see a use for a TV tuner.

    I'm looking for advice on what features I might need/want, what to look for, and what brands are good for this type of device. I do most of my shopping on newegg.com, so links there are especially appreciated.

    Money isn't a huge issue, but I prefer not to spend more on features I don't need.

    In terms of television service, I have comcast cable with the HD/DVR box.

    Is it best to have it split before the box and run the normal cable wire in to the tuner card? Or have a composite or cable or other type of output (DVI or component etc...) come from the cable box to the tuner card?

    As I said, I'm clueless when it comes to tuner cards, but I think it would be cool to have.

    Or, having the DVR box, is there a different way to get the TV stuff onto the PC for burning?

    Thanks in advance for all the advice.
    Stewie is a 1-year-old baby with a single goal: Total World Domination. He has the voice and manner of an evil Rex Harrison, but he's only recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his escape from his mother's "cursed ovarian Bastille," in which he was incarcerated for nine gruelling months. Stewie has vowed to defeat his mother's matriarchal tyranny and topple the "gynocracy" she rules.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: TV Tuner

    :bump:
    still looking for feedback, same components in my system
    Stewie is a 1-year-old baby with a single goal: Total World Domination. He has the voice and manner of an evil Rex Harrison, but he's only recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his escape from his mother's "cursed ovarian Bastille," in which he was incarcerated for nine gruelling months. Stewie has vowed to defeat his mother's matriarchal tyranny and topple the "gynocracy" she rules.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Australia
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    Default Re: TV Tuner

    Personally I perfer to use ATi's AIW multimedia graphics cards but ATi also make TV tuner cards (TV Wonder line) and one of those is what I'd use if I was just getting a tuner card.

  4. #4

    Default Re: TV Tuner

    You should call your provider to see if they have FTA Hi def channels on their network and what channels are not scrambled as the tuner card will not(without hacks) be able to de-scramble the cable channels.

    I also suggest ATI tuner cards, they have a hi-def tuner card for ~100 on Newegg. Hauppauge makes some of the best tuner cards. Any card with hardware decode is preferable.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: TV Tuner

    ATI, Hauppauge, and Leadtek are among the better makers of TV tuners. In addition to more features, a more expensive tuner can produce better quality video and is much less likely to have such problems as desynchronization of audio and video. You don't need to empty your wallet, but don't skimp either. You really get what you pay for.

    There are several ways you can interface your TV tuner with your setup, and it all depends on what you want.

    If you can have a cable line devoted just to the tuner and you just want to record certain things at certain times with it, that perfect. You just hook up the line directly to the card.

    If you want to be able to record whatever you're watching, you can simply have the cable hooked up to the cable box and have the cable box output to both the tuner and the TV simultaneously. Unless you have a TV that only takes coaxial, this should work.

    If you want to have the tuner setup to record certain things at certain times and then have the videos available for you to watch on that TV, you will set it up like so:
    Cable
    |
    |
    Tuner
    |
    Computer --- TV set

    | = Coaxial
    - = RCA, VGA, or DVI, depending on your TV
    If you have CRT TV that only has RCA and Coaxial and your video card doesn't have RCA, S-Video (which will convert to RCA with a simply $5 physical converter) or coaxial out, you'll need a new video card or a powered converter (and the former is probably cheaper, believe it or not).

    The problem with this method is that you can't have the cable box come into play, meaning you can't record any digital channels. By digital channels, I don't mean channels broadcasting in digital ('cause they all do). Rather, I mean any channels that come with the Comcast digital cable package. This means everything from Stars to Cinemax. About anything above 70 won't work. Maybe there's a way around this, but I don't know to be honest with you.

    That should elaborate on matm's point. It will work fine with the regular basic channels, regardless of what they're broadcast is. AFAIK it just won't work with digital channels unless you output from your cable box. Which means (in case I didn't clarify this earlier), that you won't be able to have the tuner record certain channels with its scheduler, because the tuner cannot change the channel on the cable box. In other words (and I know I said this), you would only be able to record something that you've manually put on the channel.

    I have my DVR PC setup like this:

    Comcast Cable
    |
    |
    Leadtek TV2000XP .............|-----------------------------------------
    |.....................................|........... ..............................................|
    Athlon XP 2000/512MB/C-Media Sound*/FX5200 RCA out -- regular old CRT TV
    ... = filler space
    * I have a 3.5mm to RCA converter so that I can output sound to the TV. If you have seperate speakers, ideally a surround sound setup (I'd do so if I could afford it), you won't need a converter.

    The TV acts as the monitor and speakers and I have the tuner setup to record certain shows at certain times on its own. My one problem is that I get some slight, but noticable desynchronization in most recording, especially the longer ones. This might be that the processor is too slow, or it might be that Folding@Home is taking up too much processing power. It could also be my sound drivers or just the card itself. It could be the tuner, but by most accounts it's a great tuner, so I doubt it. Point is, it's a slight enough problem that I haven't bothered to fix it. If you get a nice tuner and don't have much running in the background, it won't be a problem for you.
    Last edited by Yawgm0th; 05-03-2006 at 10:42 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: TV Tuner

    Wow, talk about great feedback!
    Thanks to everyone for their help. Perhaps I might be better asking about and pursuing a different option.

    I'm in a condo and have two 50" DLP HDTVs (I have Comcast Cable). These obviously are in different rooms. One has a HDTV box and the other has an HDTV DVR box. In another room, where my desktop computer is, I have my old 20" regular CRT TV. Eventually I'll probably upgrade that to something like a Samsung Slimfit HDTV or something (given the setup in that room there is no need for an LCD or Plasma) in the 32" range. At that point it would need a box so I can have HD channels on that TV. But in the meantime, with the old CRT TV, that room doesn't have a cable box, as I don't watch much tv in there at all.

    So, to my point...is there a good and easy way to transfer things, including HD shows, from my DVR box to my PC?

    FYI, the cable box goes to the TV using component cables and rca sound cables. The DVI port on the box isn't active and it doesn't have HDMI output. Even if it did, my DVD player is using my TVs only HDMI input (TV is almost 2 years old).

    I know this is now basically a whole other question, but thanks in advance for any help.

    I'm just trying to find the easiest way to put things from TV on my PC. If direct is easiest, ok. If taking it already recorded from the DVR is easiest, ok. Also, I'm not necessarily looking to burn things, so a stand alone DVD burner isn't what I'm looking for...I just want things on my PC for storing/burning/whatever.

    Again, thanks.
    Stewie is a 1-year-old baby with a single goal: Total World Domination. He has the voice and manner of an evil Rex Harrison, but he's only recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his escape from his mother's "cursed ovarian Bastille," in which he was incarcerated for nine gruelling months. Stewie has vowed to defeat his mother's matriarchal tyranny and topple the "gynocracy" she rules.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: TV Tuner

    I have no idea if the DVR box can transfer to the PC. Ask Comcast or the manufacturer. Lots of third-party ones do, but I wouldn't know about specific ones. I'd rather just interface directly to the TV. I think that would be easier, but as I said you can lose some functionality in comparison to a DVR box.

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