TV Tuner for laptop

Hi all,

I'm looking at TV tuner options for my new Dell laptop. I think my only input options are ExpressCard or USB (no PCI or PCI-E). I'm wondering what people's opinions are on USB vs ExpressCard.

I'm also interested in what people recommend as good options to buy. I'd like to spend under $100, but could be convinced to get a higher quality product.

Oh, and all I have in my apartment is a coaxial cable coming in with 15 channels, no cable TV (but i do use it for COMCAST internet). And lastly, I live in the states in case that affects product availability.

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  1. I've used fairly cheap USB "cards" and they seem to work fine. I have never used an expresscard version though so I can't compare.
  2. The Expresscard interface has a much greater data transfer rate (2.5Gbps) than USB (480Mbps). Given the amount of data being transfered, I'd tend to go with the expresscard solution.

    I'd probably recommend this Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1500 if your laptop has an Expresscard 54 slot and is running Windows 7 Home Premium or better.

    -Wolf sends
  3. Thanks Wolf. I find it strange that depending on what site you go to (cnet, newegg, amazon, etc) the same product could have wildly different reviews. I did find this site helpful: but still haven't quite figured it out yet.

    2 more thoughts: I don't think I'm that near broadcast towers and so I think having a coaxial cable input is key rather than just wireless (does the haupagge card have that?).
    Edit: I now see that the card does have the coax input. Woops!

    And yes, expresscards can transfer more data. Point taken. But is 480 MB/s really too slow? I don't know and would love some more input! Thanks guys!
  4. I look at the differences between the two (USB and ExpressCard) as "More than likely fast enough" and "Definitely fast enough". It's kind of like asking yourself, "Why buy a PCI card when you have an available PCI-Ex1 slot?". On the other hand, the site you linked does seem to imply there aren't any problems going with the USB tuners, so you'll likely be fine with one.

    Unfortunately, my only experience with a TV Tuner for the laptop was an old PCMCIA card I had and yes, it worked well enough.

    You can go to and check if there are any broadcast towers near by.

    -Wolf sends
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