homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Local / Foo
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: incrediBILL & lawman

Foo Forum

How to get TV broadcasts on computer monitor?
Either cable or satellite

 1:24 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I seldom watch TV except for news (which I do online), so rabbit ears have been fine. But it's an older analog TV, and I'll be getting either satellite or cable installed for local broadcast only.

I've got a spare computer and can get 2 rooms included in installation - but what kind of hardware would I need to get to use the computer for reception? It's a desktop, not a laptop, and has to be something external.

Also, which is better, satellite or cable? They're about the same price for local broadcast only.

[edited by: Marcia at 1:31 am (utc) on May 9, 2009]



 1:57 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I got satellite late last fall and live in snow country, not a good combo. If the snow sticks to the dish, no TV. But the contract says weather can be a problem, so I shouldn't be surprised by that.

Also, I'm pretty disappointed with the small breaks in reception, which seem to happen several times a day, even in good weather. Usually that's just a few seconds of lost audio and video, sometimes just audio or a pixelization of the video. Frustrating.

Customer service is a mixed bag, sometimes great, sometimes terrible. Oddly enough, the terrible service usually revolves around billing, imagine that!


 9:29 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)


The answers depend on where you live (from your profile I see USA)

What you seek is a "tv tuner" for your computer. They come in a number of different kinds. Looks like you seek an external device, hence a "USB TV tuner" or even "USB TV stick" would do the trick for you.

I'd suggest a trip to the local computer supermarket, they should have a small collection of this stuff, if the above search keywords don't help enough.

As to inputs: you want to hook it up to your cable and your satellite decoder.

The more expensive models are going to focus on either more inputs or either more hardware to turn your computer into a "tivo" without putting much strain on the computer's CPU (hardware mpeg encoding).

Top of the line models typically go for a firewire connection to the computer, overkill for what you seek to do.

In the US:
- Your digital free over the air tv is encoded using "ATSC"
- Your analog tv encoding is "NTSC"
- Cable (unencrypted) uses "clearQAM" I think

[Caveat: I don't live in the US]

If it covers those, you should be set.


 7:30 pm on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a tv tuner installed on the home pc. Works pretty fair for over the air HD (ATSC). The analog stuff works better, but that will be phased out in June.

I had to go through three different tuner cards before I found one that actually did the job. If possible have your computer shop hook one up and SHOW YOU IT WORKS for your area, or have a guarantee of return to try a different model. Some of these critters just don't work.


 9:56 pm on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I use a hauppage (spelling?) TV tuner in my computer. Its great, i would never go back. You can have full screen, or confine it to a small box of your size.

For me it means that when I am working, I can watch TV at the same time, instead of having to take the attention away from the screen to the TV. Also turns my 22 inch lcd into full screen TV


 1:08 pm on May 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can't do without my 51-inch big screen :)


 4:11 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

>In the US

swa66, thanks for all the information. Those are the protocols, and when I called the customer support from the website of the electronics store, she recommended one but said it'll do cable, not satellite; but I wonder if she meant cable input or coaxial cable.

In reading reviews, I've read a number of people saying they had to try different models and brands before finding one that worked for them.

tangor and netchicken, what kind of processor do you have? Brand/model?


 8:22 am on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

To get satellite TV into it, make sure it has inputs for composite video (single yellow RCA jack), s-video (jack with 4 small pins inside it) or even component video (3 RCA jacks) and audio.

That way you can hook up the satellite decoder's output onto it.


 5:37 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

For starters if you're just looking for reception of TV over analog (RCA/coaxial/antennae*). See if you can find an old Leadtek Winfast tuner, I'm not sure if it's compatible with Vista. You can probably find one for less than $30.

The model I had came RCA/Coaxial. It would tune analog channels over cable. also had an antennae for both TV/FM. Picture was good enough, it could also be used to record however I would not be using it for that purpose for capturing from VHS or anything important. Even had a remote....

*of course you'll need a converter box for this model as they are pre digital broadcast era.


 6:08 pm on May 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

tangor and netchicken, what kind of processor do you have? Brand/model?

AMD dual core 64, 4 gb ram, xp 64 pro. For me it was the ram that got in the way with one product... wouldn't support > 3 gb. Card I use accepts all cable/sat input as well as over the air, which is what I use... I don't "pay" for TV. In my local area there are 51 channels of over the air... and so little time to watch 'em all. :)

What makes the difference is 24" or better widescreen lcd at 1680x1050x32 for that true HD experience. Also helps to have kick a$$ sound, which I do since I am a musician when I'm not piddling with webworking.

Ultimately I ended up on the "high end", but even so, that was way less than the price of a similar size lcd hdtv.


 8:01 pm on Jun 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I ended up calling Fry's (where I got one of the computers) and the gal in the computer department said my computers' processing speed wasn't fast enough to pull in TV reception.

What I ended up buying is a flat panel TV from a chain store that pulls in the TV from TW cable (which I signed up for), and can also use a computer as input - as a monitor. Most TVs nowadays also have monitor capability, but the specs have to be checked to make sure.

So it's doing the same thing, but not relying on the computer's "power" to get TV broadcasting.



 8:07 pm on Jun 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you can find a VCR or something with S-Video out then you can pick up signals with the VCR and output them to your computer with S-video..

Assuming you have s-video in on your computer.


 4:01 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

the gal in the computer department said my computers' processing speed wasn't fast enough to pull in TV reception

Huh? They probably misunderstood that you wanted to record it in a highly compressed format. Just showing the stuff: I did that on an original Pentium think it had 75Mhz or so ..., and I doubt you still use one of those.


 4:29 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

It isn't recording, it's watching live broadcasts - and I don't have capability to record anyway - plus, live in a very bad reception area.


 6:49 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Marcia... glad you get a resolution suitable. I (these days) put the money in computers/screens rather than TV only (or TV/Monitor) system solutions. That is because of desktop space and a desire to "burn" things from time to time. :)


 9:54 pm on Jun 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

SoftModded original XBOX. You'd be surprised what it can do for CPUTV.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Local / Foo
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved