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.
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:
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: