USB devices like TV tuners have made it possible to directly record your favorite TV programs on your computer. You don't need a TV anymore for watching or recording your favorite TV sitcoms and soaps. All you need to buy is a small USB TV tuner device that converts your desktop or laptop computer into a television.
There was a time when the only way you could catch an on-air TV channel was by owning a television. With advances in wireless communication and data transfer technologies, you no longer need a bulky television set. All you need is a small USB TV tuner and a laptop computer to connect it with. The TV tuner is a small radio receiver, that is built to tune with TV channel signals broadcasted on air.
The latest devices let you record broadcasts, directly to your hard drive and also convert the recorded video into various file formats. Though most TV channels like CBS in North America offer all the programs online, streaming may take time, in case you have a low Internet bandwidth. However, with TV tuners, you get fast transmission, without streaming lags. Here are some reviews that may help you decide which one to opt for. Choose any one of these and enjoy live TV on your laptop.
Elgato EyeTV Hybrid
Designed to exclusively broadcast unscrambled analog and digital cable TV signals to your PC or laptop, the Elgato EyeTV is indeed one of the best hybrid USB TV tuners out there. It also provides the unique facility to capture video content from a camcorder or VCR device. This provides you with an easy technique of preserving the content on your old video cassettes and convert it into digital form.
You may also watch digital channels that broadcast via an antenna. It is compatible with Windows 7 and Mac OS X. It works particularly well with Macs. It's ideal for people who have Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) standard broadcast in their region. The price range varies from $130 to $150 approximately.
AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q
With a price tag of $59.99, this AVerTV product lets you watch Clear QAM, ATSC and analog TV channels on your laptop or PC, besides letting you tune in to FM radio. It offers encoding in H.264 HDTV and MPEG-2 format, while providing simultaneous dual channel recording. Pause and play live TV, schedule recording and encode videos in iPhone format using this amazing hybrid TV tuner.
Diamond TVW750USB ATI Theater HD 750
If you read any review, you are bound to notice Diamond TVW750USB ATI Theater HD 750 USB TV Tuner listed as one of the best products. This is the best tuner for Windows 7. It supports ATSC, DVB-T and other types of TV broadcasts. It offers support for Clear-QAM digital TV too. With a 12 bit audio and video decoder device and intelligent image enhancement technology, it provides great picture quality.
The only thing missing here is a dual hybrid tuner, which means it cannot let you watch digital and analog signal broadcasts at the same time. One unique feature of this product is that it offers a facility to record your programs in AVI, MPEG, DivX and MPEG4 video formats. This product was highly recommended by many reviews posted on consumer electronics retail sites. With all these features, the price at which it is offered is only $69.99.
Sabrent TV-USB HD TV Tuner
Sabrent TV-USB HD TV Tuner lets you watch HDTV channels, as well as ATSC broadcasts on your laptop and record these programs simultaneously. With the remote control sold with the device, you can sit back, change channels, pause and play the broadcasts. With these range of features, the cost of this device is listed to be only $48.45. The USP of this device that I would like to point out through this TV tuner review is its extremely reasonable cost. If you make an overall TV tuner comparison, this is the cheapest of the lot.
Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner
Another remote enabled tuner, the Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner has all that you expect a TV tuner to have. It can tune to any digital or analog signal transmitted on air with the facility to display cable TV too. With a built in MPEG-2 encoder, it can record your favorite TV shows directly to your laptop hard drive. This is one of the best tuners for a laptop. Its listed price is $94.99.
All the above products offer a range of features that let you watch and record over multiple on air channels. The beauty of these TV tuners lies in the fact that they let you record your favorite TV programs anywhere and anytime using your laptop.