What should I get?
I have recently build a Media Center PC and am looking into buying a tv tuner. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what I should get. I'm looking for something preferably digital, with a hardware mpeg2 encoder, with good video quality, and under about 150$. (No FM tuner or remote) Any ideas?
If you are undecided about whether you want analog or digital TV, you should first determine whether you can get digital HD TV at your home. It may be that HDTV broadcast signals are too weak for quality HDTV. So, go to CheckHD.com or AntennaWeb.org for location of your available local TV stations.
It used to be that Windows Media Center Edition 2005 did not support a digital TV tuner card unless a analog tuner with hardware encoding is already a part of the system. However, there are fairly credible rumors that the latest Windows Updates for WMCE permits a combo SD-HD tuner to install in WMCE, even though the SD analog tuner does software encoding. As I have no experience on this particular issue, I can not deliver an opinion on it.
Many folks get separate tuners anyway, instead of the combo cards like the ATI HDTV Wonder and Dvico Fusion 5 Gold cards. Avermedia's AverTVHD A180 is a good performer, and can be pared with a hardware encoding analog tuners like the models from Hauppauge, and Pinnacle. Other tuner brands that have good reputations are DVico, Vbox, and OnAir.
Check out AVSforum.com for extensive discussions on a great many brands of tuner cards in different form factors, including PCI, PCI express, and USB.
I just got an OnAir GT USB tuner. It is a portable combo SD-HD tuner. After a very easy and problem free installation of the hardware and latest software, the OnAir GT worked marvelously with my HP Pavillion dv1000 notebook. This means that I can go anywhere they broadcast digital HD or analog SD TV, and watch it on the dv1000. As the dv1000 has Window XP, I don't know whether it will work in WMCE.