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TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
03-23-2013, 04:33 AM,
#1
Video  TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
Hey all,

So I'm waiting for parts for a SFF/HTPC build to arrive in the mail, and have been considering getting a TV tuner. Searching a bit around the site and forums, I haven't found much on this topic... In lieu of a full article, I hoped people could post info here. I was hoping to get 3 big questions answered:

1) The big one: what is the best TV tuner for your money? What about PCI vs USB?
(I'm probably going to go PCI, as I'll have the room on my mobo due to using an APU)

2) What exactly does a TV tuner do?
(My understanding/assumption is that the tuner does the following 3 things: allow me to watch TV on my computer*, allow me to record TV to my hard drive, allow my TV to integrate into a WMC-like setup. How off am I in this?)

3) IR Remote?
(It costs more to buy the same tuner with an IR remote (about $15**). How well do the remotes work, and are they all that useful? Can I get another later on if I want that will still work with a/any given tuner?)



*Some reviews I've read note that you can use an antenna to receive signal. However, over New Year's I discovered that antennas no longer work (something about restricting air wave to government use). So strictly, how well does this work when routed through a cable box, or instead of one?

**A toptenreviews Jan 2013 article on TV tuners lists the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 as a best buy, but it's a bit more $$ than I'd wanted to part with, even though there's currently a $10 rebate on the OEM (non-remote) version ($83 w/rebate). Their second place, which is probably about all I'd need, was the now discontinued (but still available on Amazon) AVerTVHD Bravo ($50). Any suggestions/input/advice on these two?

Thanks!!
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03-25-2013, 12:13 PM,
#2
RE: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
depends on the signal source you will be capturing. i would go PCI unless you get a standalone dual network tuner.

if your using a VHF/UHF antenna, even the old analog antennas are still supposed to work, all you need is something like the Avermedia. AverMedia are discontinued but are suppose to work really well with WMC. you are correct, you would use the tuner to capture the now digital signal and the pc will send it to your HDTV, and using WMC you can dvr to your hdd on your HTPC. depending on how far you are from the broadcast antenna, depends on what type of antenna will work best.

now if you want to watch a show and record at the same time you will need either another tuner card or something like HD Homerun with a dual tuner, or the Hauppauge. the also can be used as cable card tuners which you will need if you want to connect them to cable tv access. some people do this in order to keep from having to pay the cable company for dvr services. they simply hook up the cable to the box and use the HTPC as their dvr device. just make sure your cable company supports it.

or, the ceton infiniti is a quad pci tuner that seems to be popular and expensive.

also with something like hd homerun, it is a network tuner that once connected you can access it with any computer on the home network.

*the answer to this went back about 4 years ago when the FCC mandated all broadcasters to convert from analog to pure digital. thats when some folks with older tv sets had to get a free converter box in order to keep their tv sets. all tv sets after that time are supposed to be equipped with the new tuners so that no converter box is needed. but like i said above, the FCC said that all those old antennas will still work to pick up the digital VHF(CH 2-13) and UHF(ch 14-51).

thats it in a nutshell, you seem to be on the right track and will have to choose depending on your needs.

good luck
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03-25-2013, 01:04 PM,
#3
Re: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, my recent experience with antennas was to try to get a digital antenna to connect to an HDTV, which should auto decode in the correct fashion. Turns out ALL antenna traffic had been discontinued, HD or otherwise. At least, that's how it its in California...

But yes, I'm probably going to route through a cable box, and it's mostly to use as a dvr. I'm looking for a quality, but budget option, so nothing that's as expensive as a home network tuner.
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03-25-2013, 01:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-26-2013, 06:57 PM by PwnBroker.)
#4
RE: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
(03-25-2013, 01:04 PM)fillasophy Wrote: Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, my recent experience with antennas was to try to get a digital antenna to connect to an HDTV, which should auto decode in the correct fashion. Turns out ALL antenna traffic had been discontinued, HD or otherwise. At least, that's how it its in California...

But yes, I'm probably going to route through a cable box, and it's mostly to use as a dvr. I'm looking for a quality, but budget option, so nothing that's as expensive as a home network tuner.

they probably shut down the OTA programming. Congress was talking about it a few years ago but i didnt think they would actually do it unless it wasnt being utilized. probably in Cali you guys have a lot of access to providers, so they turned it down. they will probably sell off that spectrum for cell broadband access. we still have it here in the south as a lot of folks depend on it because of limited access to cable providers.

in your situation, you will probably have to have a tuner, that accepts a cable card from your provider, such as the hd homerun. if your cable company gives you any hassle about providing a cable card, tell them they are bound by the FCC to provide it. of course they are going to charge you a nominal fee for the cable card, but that will be offset by not having to rent "their set top box". keep in mind that with a cablecard you wont be able to purchase ppv, some sports packages wont work and maybe some "on demand".

good luck
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03-25-2013, 07:52 PM,
#5
Re: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
Ok, if I go through with this, I'll be getting the ceton, as I want everything actually contained in the htpc. I do wonder if it's worth it considering the $170 Amazon price tag... That said, I'm starting to realize I may have hardware issues...

Pwn, you helped me figure out a build last week, which is in the mail right now. I'm using an AMD a6-5400k trinity APU, with 2x2gb of 1866 ram, plus a 1.5 tb wd green hdd. Should the ceton, or any tuner, work well with this setup for recording/viewing in HD?
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03-26-2013, 07:10 PM,
#6
Re: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
Hey guys, what's your take on buying parts, specifically something like the ceton infinitv 4, from Ebay/used? Something like this I could see someone parting with because they no longer have cable, etc, even though it works fine...

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
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03-26-2013, 07:12 PM,
#7
RE: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
(03-25-2013, 07:52 PM)fillasophy Wrote: Ok, if I go through with this, I'll be getting the ceton, as I want everything actually contained in the htpc. I do wonder if it's worth it considering the $170 Amazon price tag... That said, I'm starting to realize I may have hardware issues...

Pwn, you helped me figure out a build last week, which is in the mail right now. I'm using an AMD a6-5400k trinity APU, with 2x2gb of 1866 ram, plus a 1.5 tb wd green hdd. Should the ceton, or any tuner, work well with this setup for recording/viewing in HD?

i think you will be fine as far as pc hardware and if you notice in the pc perspective articles i linked, i think they used 2 avermedia tuners to record and watch at the same time. they had no problems with that build and it worked great with WMC.

as far as the tuners go, the above where just examples of what route you may have to take. you didnt list what your current cable/tv setup or what services you plan to use so you will have to find out what type of signal your provider delivers in order to figure out what type of tuner setup you need.

if you use a cable card tuner your going to have to find out if your provider uses SDV as well.
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03-26-2013, 08:59 PM,
#8
Re: RE: TV tuner suggestions/best bang for your buck
(03-26-2013, 07:12 PM)PwnBroker Wrote: i think you will be fine as far as pc hardware and if you notice in the pc perspective articles i linked, i think they used 2 avermedia tuners to record and watch at the same time. they had no problems with that build and it worked great with WMC.

as far as the tuners go, the above where just examples of what route you may have to take. you didnt list what your current cable/tv setup or what services you plan to use so you will have to find out what type of signal your provider delivers in order to figure out what type of tuner setup you need.

if you use a cable card tuner your going to have to find out if your provider uses SDV as well.

I'd missed that mention in the article. Thanks, that puts my mind at ease (although they did have twice add much ram...)

Also, my intention is to use a basic cable service like Comcast (i currently use one called Wave in my area, but may move soon) as the source, and I want everything to be internal to the PC, so no boxes. As far as I can find, the ceton you mentioned is the only hardware that does both. As for sdv, it sounds like they provide what you need from the cable company, but I'll look into it.

Thanks!!

Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
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