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TV tuner card, what to look for?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Maban, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Maban

    Maban

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    I'd like to get a tuner card, needs to be PCI-E (USB if good quality) and needs to accept analog cable. I assume all modern tuners accept digital cable/OTA. An FM tuner is a plus but not required. I was looking at this Asus since it's on sale. (I'm not strictly Newegg.) Guide me all mighty TPU-goers.
  2. Maban

    Maban

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    Surely someone has some insight as to what's a good tuner. I don't need a dual tuner but I am willing to pay a little more for better quality/features.
  3. DRDNA

    DRDNA

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    Maban says thanks.
  4. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    Your assumption about all modern tuners accepting digital cable/OTA is incorrect.

    First, I think you misspoke when you said digital cable. Why are you interested in digital cable when you have analog cable? Second, no current tuner can record digital cable unless you rent a Cable Card from your cable company and buy a tuner that can accept a Cable Card. Third, some tuners are ATSC only (OTA only) which means they will not be able to record analog cable.

    So, in summary then, if you want to record analog cable and OTA, you will need to look at the available tuners very closely to make sure they can record both. The ASUS card that you linked to appears to be capable of recording both analog cable and OTA, but can definintely NOT record digital cable channels (ones you need a box to decode).
    Maban says thanks.
  5. Maban

    Maban

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    I misunderstood what ClearQAM is. I researched it a bit and I think I understand it now. I am making sure the ones I consider can do both ASTC and analog cable. This is mainly so I can watch TV in my room, but I'm hoping to do an HTPC when I move out where I'm still expecting to have analog cable.

    Newegg only has 5 different PCIE tuners (excluding the Ceton and 2 white box). Is there really that few out there or does Newegg just have a terrible selection?
  6. Norton

    Norton WCG-TPU Team Captain

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    I have a Hauppauge 2250 and that works fine for analog and clear QAM channels (records them too). Your issue is going to be if/when the cable company switches over to digital and you need to put in a DTA box in order to get your regular analog channels back.

    In order to get both I needed to use a splitter (actually 2) and an A/B switch. I have dual tuners but only 1 connection on the card. I configured the setup so that one line had the DTA in it and the other straight to the wall (thru the splitters and such). Straight thru gives you whatever QAM is available and thru the DTA gives you your analog channels back.

    It's a little confusing but it works fine for my setup :rolleyes:
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    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  7. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    There are not a lot of different tuners to choose from. When shopping, just remember that:

    NTSC = analog cable
    QAM = HD carried on analog cable
    ATSC = North American OTA HD

    Cable Card needed from your cable company for digital cable recording.
  8. Maban

    Maban

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    I'm torn between the Diamond because it's cheap and the Asus because it's not cheap.
  9. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I have that cards little brother (combo hybrid version). My only complaint about it on Windows 7 64-bit is that the FM tuner has buffering issues when playing live. If I pause it for a few seconds to let it build up the buffer, it works fine for hours. There is absolutely no issues watching TV with it except the remote was difficult to get working and when I did get it to work, the range is ridiculously short (under 6 feet).


    Keep in mind that no TV tuner not provided by your cable provider will be able to decrypt encrypted channels (QAM). You'll likely only be able to watch local stations that would otherwise be watched over the air. Channels like CNN, Fox News, Discovery, History, Food Network, etc. will all likely be inaccessible.


    NTSC = analog over-the-air
    ATSC = digital over-the-air
    QAM = digital cable (unencrypted only as far as computer tuners are concerned)
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    Crunching for Team TPU

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