TV Tuner : What is it?
TV tuners receive television signals and convert them into images displayed on the computer screen. They are made up of a receiver, tuner, and decoder. The receiver picks up the signals, the tuner allows users to select channels, and the decoder converts them into a viewable format. They usually come with analog-to-digital signal converters, as well as a remote control and infrared receiver. Most tuners can also pick up FM radio signals, since TV sound is transmitted over the FM band.
Kinds of TV Tuners include the following:
|PCI-based TV tuners|
- PCI TV tuners are internal cards that mount onto a free slot in the PCI expansion rack.
- They may come with an onboard hardware for encoding MPEG-2 video, which lightens the load on the processor.
- They are commonly used in desktop computers, workstations, and other stationary devices.
USB-based TV tuners
- USB-based TV tuners connect externally through the USB port.
- Most models work only with the USB 2.0 port, since older versions cannot handle heavy data transfers.
- They are easily to install and can be easily switched between two computers.
PCMCIA-based TV tuners
- PCMCIA-based TV tuners plug into the external PCMCIA slot in laptops and portable devices.
- They are shaped like credit cards and usually have fewer outlets and features.
Set-top box TV tuners
- Set-top box TV tuners connect directly to CRT or TFT monitors and do not require computers for signal processing.
- They usually have built-in speakers and connectors for external amplifiers.
|Compatibility: Choose a TV tuner that supports key video formats such as NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. Make sure the display formats are also supported by your monitor. If your area offers HDTV reception, look for a tuner with an HDTV-compatible external antenna.|
Channel selection: Choose a TV tuner that lets you select, save, and group channels into viewing categories. If children will be viewing the shows, look for one with a parental control or channel filter to block violent or explicit channels.
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