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TV into Computer

I am wondering if any of you had any suggestions for a way that I can get TV into my computer. I want it to act like a PVR, and be able to burn the video to a DVD. I would like an external card because if I get a laptop later this year, I would like it to be somewhat portable. I was looking at the ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0 it seems to do most everything I want. Do any of you have any experience with it, or would you recommend anything else? Thanks!


Dabba Dooba
Political User
Yeah that is pretty much what i would get too if i had a laptop. I have the regualr internal for my computer and works fine but dont use it anymore since i have a tv next to me now. What for others to have a say but most wil prob say the same.


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
You will also need software to do the PVR stuff.. most of the software included with a TV Card doesn't work great..

I would personally go for a Hauppauge PVR card.. they work nicely..

They usually include some PVR type softwareware as well.

Other software choices:


Your milage may vary..


OSNN Addict
I have tried 4 different TV Tuner cards. My first one was a creative labs digital VCR, Card worked great but very low resolution, software was flawless.

I then tried both an Avermedia Ultra TV USB 300, great box, and an ATI TV Wonder Remote Edition. Both had really good quality, and I loved some of the features of the ATI -- Like the ability to set up the Live TV Image as full screen and semi-transparent, so you could watch full screen tv while working away on the computer. The problem with both of them for me was recording software. If you were veiwing live TV everything usually worked, but 80% of the time my shows wouldn't record because the program had crashed, or the software wouldn't run if the computer was locked. Also I use VNC and I would have to re-boot everytime I logged off of VNC in order for the recording software to work. In short just too many problems with it.

I now have a hauppauge PVR-250. Great card, software -- again not so great. Basically in order to get the card to work you have to install, the windows drivers, PCI Drivers, MPEG Decoder, WinTV Software, and scheduler program. The quality from the WinTV program leaves quite a bit to be desired -- even when recording on so called DVD Quality, and the biggest problem is again the scehduler. I have about 50 messages to and from their support trying to get the thing to work. Basically after using the scheduler software for a couple weeks it will suddenly just start popping up errors and refuse to allow you to scehdule any new programs, in order to fix it they told me I had to run their cleanup utility, which removes all traces of the drivers/programs and then you have to go through and install everything again, and reschedule everything. Having to do this every few weeks was annoying, there was also a problem where the scheduler would crash if you tried to have more then 8 programs scheduled at once. There was apperently a fix for this, but I haven't bothered.

I have also tried BeyondTV and SageTV, both of which I found to be rather chunky, and flakey. They insist on being open/minimized to record rather then just doing it in the background. I found them to be a nusience to navigate in and iirc at least one of them has guides only for US cities, which does me no good being in Canada and all.

I now have my card installed in a Media Center 2005 PC and am using the built in TV software, and I have to say I am impressed, I don't get to spend much time watching tv so I like to record all my shows, I have yet to miss one recorded by WMCE 2005, it records in the background without bugging me, you get a little Red Circle beside your clock and thats it, it lets me lock my computer and use VNC no problem, the video nevers noticiably skips or misses a frame, there is a built in TV guide (that includes Canadian cities, unlike some) and quality is a huge leap over the WinTV software.

Maybe I'm picky, but if I go out and spend $250(can) on a PVR card then I think it's resonable to expect the software to work relativly well and to not have to reinstall every couple weeks because of errors in the program (A LOT of people were having problems with Hauppauge's Scheduler program).

Just MHO on the matter.


OSNN One Post Wonder
For an external PVR card, I would recommend the hauppauge pvr usb 2. I've heard good things about this card. And as for pvr software, i'm currently using sage and love it. You don't need to have the window open in order for it to record, just put it to sleep and it records while minimized in the tray. I recommend the forums on http://www.sagetv.com for more information about the pvr world, they seem to have all the answers. Hope this helps.

Here's a link to the PVR: http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_pvrusb2.html

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