Imagine if you could catch your favorite show while chatting with your friends about it. Wouldn't it be great? Well, a TV tuner card can make this happen for you. Now, you don't have to fight with your family member for the TV remote anymore.
Just plug in an external TV tuner card or install an internal one and enjoy watching the idiot box right in the comforts of your bedroom. And that too, without letting anyone know. If someone happens to catch you watching something on your computer screen, then just say, it's downloaded stuff or something that you are watching online.
Now you must wondering what this TV tuner card thing is all about and how soon can you get your hands on it. So here's some important information that you should know before purchasing a TV tuner card.
Till the 20th century, a computer was thought of an analytical machine. Gradually, a few entertainment features were added to it, therefore enhancing its capability and use. A TV tuner card is one such invention that has changed the definition of a computer.
It is a processing machine, but also extends further to provide more entertainment than a television set. For choosing the right TV tuner for computer, one has to know the exact configuration of the computer system.
What is a TV Tuner Card?
A TV tuner card enables the computer to capture the TV signals. An external source of TV signal has to be essentially plugged in the TV tuner card so that it can receive the TV signals. This external source can be an antenna, a cable or satellite receiver box. The tuner card is an assembly of tuner, receiver, demodulator and an analogue-to-digital converter.
How Does a TV Tuner Card Work?
The tuner tunes the receiver to the correct frequency for receiving TV signals. The receiver receives the signal from the external source and transfers it to the demodulator. The demodulator separates and extracts the relevant signals from the carrier signal.
The analog-to-digital converter, as the name suggests, converts the analog signal to the digital signal. In order to watch TV on PC, a suitable TV tuner software has to be installed on the PC. The TV tuner software renders an interface for the PC that provides all the features of a normal television and also allows you to change the channels using a remote.
If you have a satellite TV service, install a satellite TV software to avail this facility on your personal computer. Some TV tuner cards also function as video capture tuner cards and save the TV programs on the hard drive.
Difference Between an External and Internal TV Tuner Card
There are internal as well as external TV tuner cards. The internal TV tuner card is fitted inside the CPU, onto the motherboard. The external TV tuner card is a removable device such as the USB (Universal Serial Bus) device. An external TV tuner card is easy to handle as it can be attached to a peripheral port using wires.
An internal tuner card has to be fitted by opening the CPU and inserting the tuner card in the PCI slot. However, an internal TV tuner card is preferred, as it is faster and gives better performance as compared to the external tuner card.
Types of TV Tuner Cards
Analog TV Tuner
They are the most cost-effective tuner cards available in the market. They output raw video stream, hence some tuners require a compression technique to be implemented to improve the quality of the picture. Some analog tuners can also capture FM radio waves.
Digital TV Tuner
It outputs MPEG-2 video stream, which displays high quality video and the quality of audio is also good. There is no need of any encoding, hence there are no encoder chips on the tuner card.
Hybrid TV Tuner
It can be transfigured to act as an analog tuner or a digital tuner. However, after transfiguration, the changes do not take effect immediately.
Combo TV Tuner
They are similar to hybrid tuners in functionality. However, the analog tuner is physically separate from the digital tuner, though they are embedded on the same card. Both tuners can function simultaneously without obstructing each other. While the digital tuner is broadcasting, the analog tuner can record; the vice versa is also possible.
By the use of a simple TV tuner card, it is possible to get all the facilities of a cable television as well as the added features of a computer in your desktop. All you need to do is to select the right TV tuner card and have fun watching TV day and night in your own room, without anyone getting wise up to it.
Get a pair of headphones too which will take care of the TV sound. But remember watching TV from too close can lead to eye problems. So, be safe and enjoy!