The first point to consider for you here is the type of TV tuner card that you require. The standard TV tuner cards get fitted into the PCI slots of your computer and they are able to catch the signals from your TV. But for real portability, you need an external TV tuner card that can fit into one of the USB slots of your PC. The big benefit from an external TV tuner card is that you can watch your TV anywhere. You can even carry it outside your home, slot it into your laptop and watch TV.
The four types of TV tuner cards
There are four types of TV tuner cards that you get in the market today. It is best to know about these four types in details before you make your purchase.
Analog or digital-only TV tuner cards can record only one type of broadcast. The signals are picked from your digital antenna and this is the reason these are the cheapest products in this category. However, you cannot use these cards if you are on cable.
A hybrid tuner can be used as an analog or a digital tuner. You can switch between the two modes depending on the type of signal you want to receive. Just note that the switching process can be complicated at times.
A combo TV tuner card has two tuners on the card, one for analog signal and the other for digital signal. With this card, you can watch one digital channel and record from an analog channel at the same time and vice-versa.
A dual TV tuner card is the most versatile product in this category and the most expensive too. This card can allow you to record from an analog and a digital channel at the same time. Or if you want, you can record from two analog or two digital channels at the same time.
TV tuner cards with recording facility
Most of the TV tuner cards offer you a recording facility. However, it can be interesting to check for this feature when you are in the process of selecting your device. In that extend, read the reviews online and you’ll be set on the issue.
TV tuner cards with FM radio
Are you fond of listening to music on your radio? The good news is that some of the TV tuner cards allows you to listen to FM radio too. This is not a feature that is widely demanded by a majority of the customers, but if it is FM radio that you want, you should select a tuner card that is equipped with this option? Hauppauge's WinTV HVR 2250 (photo1) is one of those, and has even a recording FM-radio recording feature!
Not every TV tuner card is compatible with every PC or Mac, especially if you are interested in purchasing an internal TV tuner card. Hence, a prudent decision is to make sure that you note the configuration of your PC or Mac and look for those TV tuner cards that are compatible with it.
Installing your TV tuner card
Once you have purchased your TV tuner card from an online store, it is important that you are able to install it. If it is a USB-based model, there is nothing to worry. Just plug it in and the software will get installed automatically. If, however, it is an internal TV tuner card, you will need to open up your system. Make sure you get this right. Use expert help if required.
Which TV tuner cards for which use?
As far as TV tuner cards are concerned, it is best to go with the tried and tested names. Look for the bestselling products in this category and make your choice. For your reference, the names of the bestselling products in this category include Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250, AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 Dragonfly 2.0, Diamond ATI Theater HD 750 USB, Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1950 and AVerMedia AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q.
If it is PCI TV tuner cards you are interested in, make sure you know how to install one.There are some fantastic products to choose from Hauppauge TV tuner cards such as WinTV-HVR-2250, Hauppauge WINTV-HVR-1250, Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250-MCE and Hauppauge PCTV 800i TV Tuner PCI ATSC NTSC. You can also trust tuners like AVerMedia AVerTV HD DVR.
The best USB TV tuner cards include Diamond ATI Theater HD 750 USB (photo 2), Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1950, Sabrent TV USB20 Video Grabber and Encore ENMVG 3 USB Audio Video Grabber III.