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Need a good TV Tuner Card

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April 19, 2012 11:15:49 PM

built the system below last Summer with helpful recommendations from other members here on TH forum. It has run like a top without a single issue since completed.

Now I'd like to install a TV Tuner Card and would appreciate advice on what cards are compatible and good quality. Does it matter if I'm using a digital antenna or digital cable as my source, btw?

Assume I still have room on my MB to just plug one in. Got to admit I don't know much about the technicalities. I just followed a few basic guides to build the PC and it snapped together almost like Legos and worked.



My system:

Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

XFX HD-685X-ZDFC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBXL

Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

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April 20, 2012 1:06:27 AM

Yes, your video source is going to matter, but only if you currently require a set top box from a cable provider (not just a digital to analog converter, but an actual tuner box). The set top boxes from cable companies do more than just tune whatever channel you're trying to view. In service tiers above just basic cable, some, if not most or all of the higher channels, are encrypted. The set top box also acts as a decryption unit for these channels. A standard TV Tuner card cannot decrypt these channels and would have to be used in-line with a set top box; often lowering the clarity/resolution of these channels.

A cablecard ready TV Tuner card is capable of doing the decryption that a set top box would normally do (with a cable system provided cablecard). In essence, it turns your computer into a full fledged DVR with no loss of clarity/resolution. You would lose some functionality, though. You would no longer receive the TV Guide channel, but your guide would be downloaded automatically with your media center software. You would also lose the ability to order PPV movies/specials. Cablecard communications are currently only one-way

So. If you are a cable subscriber with more than just the basic tier of service, I'd recommend any of the following CableCard devices:

1) Ceton InfiniTV4 Quad TV Tuner PCI-E - Internal card (requires an available PCI-E slot), Replaces your set top box (with required cablecard from your cable provider).
2) Ceton InfiniTV4 Quad TV Tuner USB - External box, Replaces your set top box (with required cablecard from your cable provider).
3) Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 - Same as above, but only has two tuners.
4) SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 3CC - Same as above but three tuners.
5) SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 6CC - Same as above but six tuners and requires two cable cards.

Recommendations for Digital OTA (Over-The-Air) broadcasts:

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1850 - Internal card (requires an available PCI-E slot). Watch one cable-ready channel while recording an ATSC/QAM channel
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 2250 - Internal card (requires an available PCI-E slot). Watch/Record two channels simultaneously.
Both of these devices come with a Windows Media Center Remote Control.

There are also a couple other new technology devices supposedly just around the corner that do not require a computer at all:

Ceton Q and the Echo
Whiteman Technology Delta DVR

-Wolf sends
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