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TV Tuners/recorders For The Laptop

Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:45 am

My TV didn't fully survive the move from California to Minneapolis coupla years ago, and I've been getting all my visual entertainment by watching some DVD's on the laptop. The laptop kinda needs replacing, and I've historically done well by spending $200 and not much more on a refurbished jobby from eBay (got an excellent IBM Thinkpad R50 for that much, and currently have a once-excellent but now faltering Panasonic Toughbook CF48).

See, I have the worst working hours in the world, overnight 6pm to 6am, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night. So I miss all college football either sleeping or working; and on Sunday since I've worked 3 12-hour shifts in a row I don't wake up till 6 or 7 or so. If I'm going to watch football at all, I have to record it.

I've been prepared to spend $150 t0 $200 on a digital TV (my busted one is a 1997 Trinitron attached to a DTV converter box); and since I've already missed this much of football season, was itching to get set up with a DVD recorder; even though the blamed things cost $500. My apartment doesn't face south so satellite's not an option; and I passionately desire NOT to bring any patronage to Comcrap. So DVR is not an option.

And this makes me stop and think; since this is me spending well upwards of $800, there's probably smarter ways to go about it. Aren't there USB (or even PCMCIA/CardBus) cards out there that have TV tuner (ATSC of course) capability, so you can watch over-the-air TV on the ol' laptop? Furthermore, isn't there some way for the broadcasts to be stored on hard disk? (I've used like one hundredth of the 80GB disk in this Toughbook; I'd be okay with spending a bit for an external HD if it helped me keep up with football this season.)

I'm gonna visit BestBuy later this week just to ask these sort of questions; but I know their answers aren't going to be unbiased; so I thought I'd ask here.
Pancakes are delicious.
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RE: TV Tuners/recorders For The Laptop

Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:38 am

You certainly can get USB TV Tuners, there are plenty of them available. Go to google and search for "USB tv tuner". They range from £6 to £44, and most if not all should allow you to record tv programs.

I haven't used any so cannot give you any recommendations however.
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2001 5:31 pm

RE: TV Tuners/recorders For The Laptop

Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:25 pm

Window Media Center, which I believe is included in all recent (XP, Vista, 7) non-business Windows operating systems, has a DVR that has all the functionality of the DVRs from Comcast, DirectTV & Tivo. I recently dropped Comcast and am now using a Windows 7 machine as my DVR and it is far superior to the Comcast DVR. I can easily add as much storage as I want and the best part is that it's free - there is no fee to download program schedules & info.

As for getting a TV signal to your computer, there a few ways to do it. I use a HDTV antennae and a HDHomeRun, which transmits the HDTV signal over my wifi network to any computer running Windows Media Center.

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