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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TV Tuner cards - DVB-C, DVB-S or DVB-T?

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Last December 2008, I bought a TV Tuner card for my desktop PC. All I know about a TV Tuner card is that it is a device which you connect in your computer, to watch TV on your computer. A TV Tuner card can be in a form of USB or a PCI Card.

Without any thorough knowledge about TV Tuner cards, I decided to buy a TV Tuner card based on reviews and comments from the people purchasing the product. In my opinion, a PCI TV Tuner is better than a USB TV Tuner. PCI TV Tuner cards are plugged into PCI slots, have enough power and therefore process data much faster. USB TV Tuners on the other hand are plugged into USB hubs, get power from the USB port, process data on the same USB port and therefore process data slower than PCI TV Tuner cards. Again, this is my theory, my opinion. I am not an expert. I could be wrong. ^_^

So I searched for TV Tuner cards and noticed that the brand Hauppauge is the most popular. I browsed Hauppauge's website for products and the label "Hybrid" caught my eye. A Hybrid TV Tuner means that it is capable of detecting or scanning Digital and Analog Signals. I searched for reviews and comments on Hauppauge's WintTV HVR 1100 "Hybrid" TV Tuner card and most of them are good.

I bought the card and was very excited on playing and experimenting with it. I plugged it in an extra PCI slot of my PC and installed its driver and software. I ran the TV software and then a problem came. It can detect 10 analog channels but it can't detect digital channels! Supposed to be it should have scanned and detected 60+ digital channels like my CRT TV.

I have spent days searching for possible fixes and solutions but still it can't detect digital channels. I scanned its specs and noticed the label "DVB-T". I have also noticed "DVB-C" and "DVB-S" on my searches. I looked at my TV box and found out that it is "DVB-C".

So therefore there really was no problem from the start. It was just my ignorance about DVB-C, DVB-S and DVB-T. The TV Transmition Type provided in my location is DVB-C not DVB-T. That was the reason why the card could not detect digital signals! I returned the product immediately and bought a Terratec Cinergy HTC USB XS HD TV Tuner.

So know first your TV Transmition Type whether its DVB-C, DVB-S or DVB-T, before buying a TV Tuner card . Or you will end up with what I have experienced. Stupid me ^_^ Lesson learned ^_^

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praVeen said...

I think with the increasing availability of Broadband in India , The TUner card would be a thing of past as Most channels are available online like where you can watch TV via internet.


PING_TM said...

Thanks for commenting praVeen.

I agree with you. But I believe not all shows or tv programs are available in the internet.

dracuella said...

Hehe this is both tragic and funny. I'm in the -exact- same situation with a Hauppage HVR3000 which can only do DVB-T and DVB-S and was actually arriving at the same conclusion as you when I stumbled on your website.
As to returning the card, I got mine over 2 months ago and only now tried to install it with little success. So it's another €100 for me -_-.

Oh well, at least now I don't feel like I'm completely daft (or at least not the only one ;)). Also, I re-learned an important lesson:
never ask for hardware in general as a present, always investigate the specifics yourself first *sigh*


EditorPinoy said...

Hi Dracuella,

Hehe, I have never thought someone would comment and say that he/she had the same experience as mine. But sad to say you have to buy another 1 -_-.

You are absolutely right, always ask for the specifics.hehe Your conversation with a sales agent might be long and the agent would be very annoyed. But better do it that way than buying the wrong item/s.

- PCI or USB TV Tuner? Which one should you buy?

Anonymous said...

Whether we can receive DVB-T - Free To Air signals in Bangalore, India ?

Which Tuner card will u prefer to me ?

EditorPinoy said...

Hi santhosh,

Sorry to say this but honestly I did not understand your first question. Buying a TV Tuner Card depends on your needs, preferences, budget etc. Please read the post below, it might help:

PCI or USB TV Tuner? Which one should you buy?

Anonymous said...

Hi can anyone suggest where to buy DVB-s card in india?????

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