USB TV Tuners - are they any good?

catilley1092

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Being that I no longer have cable TV any longer (a blessing to me), I'd like to unleash the power from my desktop to receive TV broadcasts.

There are several USB tuners on the market, for a little as $25, which includes the USB modem, remote control & antenna. Are these tuners any good, and do any of the members have one and can report positive (and negative) experiences with the product? I know it's not the same as Cable TV, but I don't care about that. I'm just looking to have something to watch the news on, and if the device allows me (an antenna is included), to view local networks? I like NFL games (a Panther fan), and other general programming.

Remember here, I'm not expecting the same as Cable or Direct TV here, just a good basic connection. Any input is greatly appreciated.

BTW, since I've got my internet problem straight, my service has been great! Thanks to those who gave me support with this issue that was driving me up the wall.:)

Cat
 

Nibiru2012

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Cat - I'm not sure about this but from what I have read and how I understand the USB buss versus the PCI buss, a PCI card would be better I believe.

But I remember now that that setup you have probably doesn't have space for an extra PCI card slot built-in to it.

Here's a good article to get you started:
External and Internal HDTV Tuners for Computers

I'm sure you'll find something to work for you. Check out Newegg just to see what ratings the other users and buyers of the respective USB tuners have to say about them.

(Just remember that some of those reviews come from people who are not that techie to begin with, so sometimes the review may be skewed by their lack of proper configuration.)
 

TrainableMan

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I have a PCI-e (1) TV Tuner in my desktop, I used to use a usb but moved it to my nephews laptop. I cannot say I notice much difference in the two except after I had watched something with the USB and then closed media center, my computer would sometimes say the driver was in use and I couldn't connect again w/o rebooting (I believe this is likely a driver problem, not so much a universal condition with usb tv tuners).

An actual roof antenna is best but even in a city you will likely need to get a rabbit ear antenna - with digital the signal must be even stronger than the old analog because digital is all or nothing. I live in a rural area and only get 2 channels with rabbit ears.

I believe most TV Tuners are still digital AND analog because if you attach a VCR that is analog input.

So my answer is yes to USB TV Tuners being good, especially for laptops.
 
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I had a basic $37 USB tuner for a while. It worked remarkably well for what I paid for it, had many of the features you get with a real set top box. It WONT work (at least in my case ) with the little antennae that comes with it, if you can plug it into an external antennae you should get all the same channels as you'd get on your TV with digital tuner.
 

catilley1092

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I've been looking and have found that many of these tuners only works with Win 2K and XP (the cheaper ones). To get one that works with 7, you have to pay out some money.

I'm also looking at the software packages for internet TV that works with what you already have. I had one before, but lost it during a reinstall. Didn't cost me anything to begin with, it came with a purchase. The main thing was they required you to use the VLC Media Player. At the time, I just had too much going on to check it out. The main con to it is you have all these off the wall channels, many of which is junk.

I already have a form of internet TV through Windows Media Center. But a lot of what they offer is centered around CBS. Fox is the most watched network on the market, seems that Windows would strike a deal with them, instead of sticking with a network on the downslide. CBS has been falling for years. NBC would have been a better choice than them, in fact their home page is partially owned by NBC.
 

Veedaz

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Hi Cat, The thing is with TV Tuners is you will get what you pay for (USB or Card) go for a recognised name that states Windows 7 compat, here in the UK Hauppauge is considered one of the better makers along side KWorld but there in the higher price range (saying that ... they do work well) :)

(eg)

 
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Have used Hauppauge usb and Sabrent pci, several different units.
Installed on Windows 98se home 32 bit, Windows XP sp3 Home 32bit, Windows Vista
Home 64bit, Windows7 Home 64 bit.

The physical location and type of antennae for over air is most important.

Hauppauge, has some problems with software. In the last two months the Win7 software has been upgraded four times do to problems.
On newer units the disc is needed to authenticate, even if the software was downloaded from the companies site.
The software is slower and more complicated then Sabrent. Slow start up, channel listing and shut down. Can be resized by dragging.
Copy programs for later use is good. Cost above U.S. $50.00.

With the pci Sabrent (old card $17.00 U.S.) works with all versions of Windows.
Easy to install, fast start up. The software automatically finds channels. Cannot resize, has two screen sizes, small and full screen.
Copy programs for later use is poor.

Enjoy using both types and company products.
In my location cable is necessary.
 

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