Everyday many people ask themselves "How do I watch TV on my computer?' When you hook up your cable or antenna to a television, all you're essentially doing is connecting a signal to a monitor. All televisions are equipped with tuners that allow the monitor to decode the signal coming through the cable into comprehensible images and sound. A TV tuner card allow your computer to do the same thing. Such a card also allows you to record these signals digitally on your system. It performs much like a DVR device that records programs from your television.
Generally, these cards are not standard in PCs you buy off the shelf at your local electronics store. Therefore, you have to buy a TV tuner card from a third party and either install it yourself or have a computer-minded friend or hired IT professional to install it for you. Truth be told, there really isn't a reason you shouldn't be able to do it yourself; if you can construct a structure out of Lego's or Construx, you can install a TV tuner card into your computer's PCI slot.
We rated and ranked all the best TV tuner cards on the market today. When our review of the best TV tuner cards ended, the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-2250, the HP USB Hybrid TV Tuner and the AVerTVHD Bravo each claimed one of the top spots on our best TV tuner card comparisons and reviews. In addition, we have created informative articles on TV tuner cards that instruct you on how to install third-party and aftermarket cards, as well as on how to cut your home entertainment budget using this technology.
Using a TV tuner card to route television signals to your computer offers several benefits you just cannot realize on a normal television or monitor. Chief among them is the ability to record television signals directly to your hard drive. This feature alone allows you to negate the cost of maintaining a DVR device controlled by your cable company. You are only limited by the size of your hard drive and the technical knowledge needed to utilize this technology fully. The best TV tuner for PC features an antenna splitter so you may be able to cancel your cable TV altogether.
When choosing which TV tuner card is right for you, consider what you want to accomplish by installing this component on your computer's motherboard. You should also ask yourself the following questions: Is the computer you currently own capable of supporting the tuner? Do you have the knowledge and skill to install it yourself? Are you planning to use the TV tuner as a replacement for cable, satellite or other television services? Each TV tuner card on our lineup has different features and capabilities; we rated and ranked each TV tuner card in the following categories.
The best TV tuner cards allow you to not only capture television signals, but also AM/FM radio and other over-the-air signals.
Most computers don't have the latest and greatest operating system available. This is especially true in the Microsoft Windows universe. The best TV tuner cards not only work with the latest iteration of Windows, but also with past versions that still reside on a majority of computers currently in use.
High definition is the new standard for media in all forms. Unfortunately, a lot of technology has not caught up to this rich resolution. The best TV tuner cards pipe HD signals into your computer system in all their deep, colorful glory.
Since time immemorial, coaxial cable has carried TV signals to television and monitors. A TV tuner card are no different. The best TV tuner cards not only connect via coaxial but also have more inputs and outputs that give the card more usability.
Help & Support
Even though a TV tuner card is easy to use and install, you can run into trouble occasionally. The best TV tuner cards are supported by their manufacturers with a warranty, and those companies provide technical support when necessary.
At the end of the day, a TV tuner card performs a simple yet powerful task. It routes television signals through your computer, allowing you to watch, record and store television shows and programs.