Hello....I am a brand-newbie and thanks for letting me post here. I am looking to get a USB TV tuner for my laptop in order to watch over the air programming when not at home. Mainly local channels for football/baseball games and prime time viewing....I live in the SF Bay area so lots of channels available. My main concern is getting good reception and picture clarity....DVD options are good but not critical. I'm trying to choose between the Diamond ATI TV Wonder and the AverTV Volar Hybrid.....I wasn't impressed with the reviews I saw on the Hauppage unit....can anyone please give me some good advice/opinions??? I have a Windows 8 laptop....thanks!!!!
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Without buying an antenna too, which is a huge inconvenience, you may not get many or any channels OTA. You may find OTA reception to be not all it's cracked up to be. I too live in a major US metropolitan area and I live within the magic 15 mile radius of almost every TV transmitter in my area and I can only get 1 major network reliably OTA, 2 I can barely get and they aren't reliable at all, and the 4th one I can't get under any circumstances, no matter what I do. It's why I don't fool with OTA TV and I pay my cable provider extra to get them to give me HD channels.
Those who actually do what you propose will have to provide feedback. I can only advise you that this may not be as simple as you hope.
I would recommend one of these instead for use in the USA because they have a good known track record.
The AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q may be fine, but is a relatively new product without much of a track record to go by. The Diamond TV Wonder 750 USB might be advantageous if you travel overseas because it tunes DVB-T, but I have read reports indicating that it is prone to overheating.
A bigger problem will be finding a portable antenna that can provide a decent signal to tune. The antenna (if there is one) provided with these USB-stick type TV tuner products tend to be insufficient, especially indoors.
Since you have Windows 8, that probably means you don't have Windows Media Center installed, so if you don't care for the manufacturer-provided software, you'll need third-party TV software. You will want one that is not hard to set up if you travel beyond a single metro area. NextPVR is good, and not especially hard to set up, although not as easy to set up as Windows Media Center.
If you already use Pot Player, it can be used with ATSC TV tuners. I have tried it, and it was OK for watching TV, but not for recording TV. I had no luck getting VLC to work for me with my ATSC tuners. It apparently worked for ATSC tuning at one time, but seems broken now.
Thanks all so far for the valuable information.....much of what you say is not commonly available out there on line so that's good to know....the Aver unit was one of the 2 I had narrowed down to.....I had checked into the Hauppage unit as well, but the reviews seemed to indicate that it is slow tuning and the picture quality is relatively poor.
On the subject of antenna's, yes these units do include an antenna but I agree these may not be good enough....can anyone recommend an antenna that I may be able to buy separately that is portable so that I can use with my laptop??? Many thanks!!!!
I can't really suggest anything that I know for sure would work well for you. I use indoor antennas at home, and the model I have now, which works well for me with strong to moderate signals, is too bulky to be portable and requires a wall outlet to power the amplifier.You may have to experiment to find something that you like and it is possible that nothing that is portable enough to use while traveling will work well enough. Orientation and location are crucial for any antenna, even the flat ones that you may have seen on TV, so it is possible that in some cases you won't have a good place to put one. Larger antennas would generate the strongest signal, but would be less portable than the smaller ones.
I've had this Diamond AMD 750 based one for a few years now:
There are complaints that it over heats and locks up but I have never had that problem. My wife and I used for the the 8 days we were without power during hurricane Sandy and I've used it out on the patio most of this summer as well.
Big bang for the buck!
--dES"You can observe a lot by watching." - Yogi Bera
I own an older Winfast model and haven't had any problems with it. They also have a dual tuner model (watch one program, record another etc). I live in Australia though, so I have no idea what they'd be like in the US. http://www.leadtek.com/eng/product/6/623/intro.aspx
They come with a portable antenna which was just okay for analogue when it was operating, but a waste of time for digital (unless they supply a better one these days). I think I tried a better indoor antenna at one stage which was reliable enough for general viewing, although I'd often have to move it after switching channels for better reception. The old antenna mounted on the roof does the job perfectly, but based on my experience you'd need a decent indoor antenna.
DVB-T only tuners are not going to work in N. America and Diamond's TV Wonder 750 products are the only ones I have heard of that tune both ATSC and DVB-T.