TV Tuner Card
December 27, 2007 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in buying a TV Tuner Card for my PC, but I don't know where to find good reviews. Does anyone have any recommendations for a cheap, decent-quality card that preferably comes with a remote?

I'd like to buy a card that I can use to watch and record shows on my PC, with an S-Video input if possible. HD support would be a nice plus, but it's not necessary. A PCIExp-format card would also be desirable. Thanks!
posted by Aanidaani to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've had good experiences with Hauppauge brand cards, the pvr150 seems to fit all requirements except HD support (which will add considerable cost to your project.)

You don't' say whether Linux or Windows, Hauppage is good for either but only comes with Windows applications (though works with MythTV.) I have no clue about Mac options.
posted by oblio_one at 4:42 PM on December 27, 2007

I asked a Tuner Card question not too long ago that had some good answers: Previously

I went with an external, USB2 solution that I'm really enjoying. My "card" is a Hauppage WinTV-HVR 950 - it's about the size of a lighter, plugs into any USB2 port either directly or via a short cable, and takes either antenna or cable input. I know it can do HD over the air, but I'm not sure about cable-based HD. It was cheap, too, only around $60. The bundled software is a little on the clunky side, interface-wise, but once I figured it out it works great as a pseudo-Tivo and is nice and responsive to whatever I want from it.
posted by Rallon at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2007

I second the vote for the PVR150. I've used it, the 250, and the 450 and never had an issue with any of them. I have their remote, but haven't used it.

The only product that I've found that comes with a good bundled remote is the ATI HDTV Wonder. I sold the card to a friend but kept the remote.

For a while I used the PVR250 and used a SnapStream remote with SageTV. Very good combination, but you'll have to buy separately.
posted by krisak at 6:01 PM on December 27, 2007

Response by poster: Do any of you happen to have a screenshot of a broadcast so that I can get an idea of the video quality? I have a 22" Samsung display running at 1680 x 1050 and I want to be sure that the quality is decent. Thanks!
posted by Aanidaani at 9:07 PM on December 27, 2007

Hauppauge PVR-150. They cost a little more than some of the crappy ones, but they're actual MPEG-2 encoders (so they don't just offload all the heavy lifting to your computer's processor, leading to dropped frames if your computer gets distracted) and are compatible with lots of software in both the Linux and Windows worlds. They generally come with a remote -- although be careful because there are some OEM packagings that don't.

They don't do HD but I think they have S-Video. They're bog-standard PCI -- since it's compressed video it's all the bandwidth they need. Anything else is overkill.

If you want HD I'd go with an external HDHomeRun, which is an Ethernet (no, not kidding) device.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:23 AM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: Nthing the PVR-150. I have it setup with MythTV on linux using the included MCE remote and IR blaster for my digital cable box. Everything works great. No HD, but then again, getting an HD signal to your computer won't be so easy. There are a few tuners out there that will catch ATSC and OTA signals but cannot decrypt them. In my region I believe I would be able to get perhaps half a dozen HD channels to my computer so it's not worth it for me right now to get everything together for that small a benefit.

Perhaps getting HD channels on your computer will be more accessible in the future, but due to the copyright flag and everything it doesn't look too good...
posted by splice at 3:21 AM on December 28, 2007

Isnt an NTSC card like a PVR-150 a bad idea since it won't work for broadcast TV in a year?
posted by jpdoane at 8:47 AM on December 28, 2007

I have the Hauppauge PVR-150, the HVR-950 and the HVR-1600. The 150 and the 1600 came with remotes. As mentioned previously the 950 is a USB model. It does do HTDV tuning (ATSC only) but taxes the hell out of my system resources, so PVR is essentially out. The 1600 is in a PCI slot on my HTPC. It has NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuners as well as a hardware encoder, so PVR is in. From what I understand, the 1700 is the same card as a 1600, just with a PCIx form factor. I have very few bad things to say about the Hauppauge cards in general other than the software the ships with the cards sucks. If you get one, look at Sage, BeyondTV or GBPVR.
posted by toomuch at 9:13 AM on December 28, 2007

Crap the sortware suggestions assumed you were on Windows. MythTV is compatible with the aforementioned cards, is free and runs on Linux. With few exceptions (GBPVR, WINTV), the Windows equivalents are not free.
posted by toomuch at 9:21 AM on December 28, 2007

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