How Good Are PC TV Tuners

My TV of 14 years died this morning…

I don’t really watch TV, I watch a few reruns and the only prime time things I watch are FOX animation.

I priced new TVs and I don’t care about High Def or anything fancy, I just basically watch a few old reruns and the news.

I just bought a new Computer in July with Vista Home edition but I didn’t get a TV tuner.

Now the smallest portable I found was about $125 for a 13" color set.

Do you think I could get the same kind of reception with a TV tuner in my PC?

I use rabbit ears for my TV and I had a digital converter box, which I won’t need now.

What are your opinions of TV tuners in PCs. They seem to go anywhere from $60.00 to $180.00. My main concern is the antenna part.


Then a TV card might not be a great idea. The interference you’ll get from your computer is enough to make the picture look a little fuzzy if you connect coax to the internal TV tuner; I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like with rabbit ears.

I would suggest watching the classified ads in your local newspaper or checking Craig’s List. A lot of people are getting rid of their not-so-old CRT TVs when they buy HDTVs. You should be able to get something good enough for your situation for $20 or $30, and you’ll be recycling at the same time!

I have a digital tv tuner card (the Hauppauge HVR-1600) and an HDTV antenna (Antennas Direct DB2), and the picture is excellent. I do have to adjust the antenna to get one particular channel, but other than that I have had no problems.

Just for grins, I hooked up the antenna to the analog tuner (the card has both analog and digital tuners) and the picture quality is nowhere near as good. Since the analog signals are going off the air in February, most stations are available in digital by now, and you shouldn’t have any problem with a digital tuner.

I don’t have a TV, just a Pinnacle USB Tuner and EyeTV software on a Mac. Works great! I have rabbit ears and pull in all the local hi-def/digital stations.

If rabbit ears worked well with your digital converter, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t work with a USB tuner. Interference doesn’t seem to be an issue, but it’s hard to tell with digital stations anyway (usually the signal is all or nothing, with the occasional digital breakup in between).

I got one a couple of years ago for $75.

I had an ATI TV Wonder on my XP box for a while about six years ago. Picture quality with basic cable was fine, if a little washed out. Ended up pulling the card when it started not playing nice with XP.

Good experience with one here. I got tired of moving a television back and forth while living in the dorms as an undergrad and bought a PCI TV tuner card. This was… erk, quite a while ago, but it worked well enough to watch cable even on the craptastic split-between-400-ports cable connection in the residence halls. I think channels over 75 were fuzzy, but the only one I ever watched up there was CourtTV, and it’s not like I need to see Forensic Files with sub-micron resolution.

Not sure if this applies to you – or even applies to newer computers – but the only real problem I had was when running video gaming consoles through the TV tuner. Monitors have a larger range of contrast than most TVs, so a lot of games that are dark but visible on a regular television were unplayable unless I turned the brightness on the screen way, way up. I died a LOT in Dirge of Cerberus before I figured this out. :smack: It may also apply if you’re running a DVD or BluRay player through a TV tuner card, although if you’ve got a Media Center PC you’ve probably got an HDMI port you can connect it to directly instead.

Roommate #1 has a USB TV tuner box (for a laptop) that works equally well. Roommate #2 has an ExpressCard 54 tuner that she doesn’t use that I’d love to steal, but HP has theirs locked down so they can only be used with HP laptops. :rolleyes: