I'm looking for recommendations for tuner cards. I want a card that will allow me to hook up my cable to it and view/record TV. I tried this but it only gets a few HD channels and no analog channels.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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What OS and PVR software do you plan to use? Which CPU does the computer have? Does the TV tuner have to be a USB stick or can you use an internal tuner? What is your budget?
A couple of things about cable TV and TV tuner cards. The only digital channels you can count on having available from a ATSC/QAM TV tuner device are likely to be your local broadcast stations, and a handful of others like the Weather Channel, C-Span, local access/information channels and some shopping channels. Increasingly the bulk of digital cable channels are being encrypted or provided as SDV (switched digital video), which works somewhat like on-demand, and only the cable box (or a CableCARD tuner + tuning adapter) can access these channels.
Also, PC TV tuners typically need a stronger signal than either a cable box or a HDTV needs to work properly.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 30th Jan 2011 at 22:39.
Thanks for your reply. Got busy with something else and forgot to come back to respond.
My budget is around $100-150. I'd actually prefer an internal card but I don't care. I'm looking for something that will allow me to view and record the same channels that I get on my TV. I have cable but no cable box. I can plug the cable into my HD TV and get about 50 or so channels. About 10-15 of them are HD and the rest are analog (right term?). However, with the cheap usb tuner I got all I get is about 5 HD channels and they're just the local channels.
From the little reading I've done it looks like there are tuners capable of picking up digital and analog channels.
I don't have a preference on PVR software. Right now, I'm just using Windows Media Center but I'm open to suggestions.
Here's my configuration:
Operating System - Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Motherboard - MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870
Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz
Memory - Corsair-3-Pack 2GB PC3-12800
Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB
PSU - Rosewill RP550V2-D-SL 550W ATX12V v2.01
These cards would likely work well in your system using Media Center. They perform analog to digital conversion using software encoding, but your CPU is powerful enough to manage that without any difficulty. They have hybrid tuners (one tuner for both analog and digital signals) The plus is you don't have to split the cable between two inputs. The drawbacks are hybrid tuners can be trickier to set up, and you can only record one thing at a time.
Both these cards would likely work well in your system using Media Center too. They are combo tuners (one tuner is for analog and the other is for digital) The plus is you can usually record an analog channel and a digital channel at the same time. The drawback is you have to split the cable between the two inputs.
This card has two hybrid tuners that allow recording one analog cable channel and one clear QAM cable channel at the same time, or two clear QAM channels, or two analog channels.
If you want a remote I suggest buying an MCE remote separately. I have this one. It works fine and has an IR blaster (to control a cable box), but the buttons are small.
TV tuner cards typically need a stronger signal than tuners in a TV. If the QAM channels you have break up and analog channels are snowy, you may need to install a distribution amplifier, especially if you split the signal for a card with two inputs, or install multiple cards. This is one of the better ones.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 6th Feb 2011 at 18:41.
So I finally broke down and bought a new card. I went with this one
It arrived yesterday and I was really excited to get it hooked up and start watching and recording ALL the channels that I get on my cable. Installation went fine. Went into Windows Media Center and told it to rescan the channels. When it was done it STILL only had the same 8 digital channels I had before with my cheap USB tuner. How frustrating!
I've done this several times and verified that I've picked the right provider. What could I be doing wrong? Please help. If I am doing something wrong I want to fix it. Otherwise, I'm returning this card.
Thanks for any help.
If all else fails, a distribution amplifier may help, especially if you have splitters installed. As I wrote before, TV tuner cards typically need a stronger signal than the tuners in a TV or cable box. Also, the signal strength is sometimes not the same for all channels. Some channels may be fine and others weak. This is one of the better amplifiers: http://www.buy.com/prod/CE_LABS_6001_PROGRADE_1_GHZ_BI_DIRECTIONAL_RF_AMPLIFIER/q/loc/.../90117660.html
Thank you SO much for the link to the guide. Once I did that I got all my channels. FANTASTIC!