How to Watch TV from your PC
TV Tuner Cards
There are two ways that you may watch TV from your PC. You may either purchase a tuner card for your PC that plays television stations much like your TV set does, only in scalable windows on your desktop. Or you can find Websites that stream TV shows to a player such as RealVideo or Microsoft Media Player. We’ll review both types of TV viewing options for your PC.
Step 1: Convergence
The term convergence is used when describing the future of home entertainment, when the PC, the TV, DVD player and stereo system all become one. Watching TV from your PC is the start of this convergence future. The biggest problem facing streaming video and TV shows is bandwidth – unless you have a DSL or cable modem connection it is still impractical to watch TV as a streaming video from your PC. But if you install a TV tuner card you will not be faced with the bandwidth, or lack thereof, issue.
Step 2: Streaming Video Players
You can download streaming video players if you already don’t have one installed as either a plug-in for your browser (Netscape or Explorer) or as a stand alone on your PC. The most popular players are RealPlayer and Microsoft Media Player. You can download RealPlayer and Media Player for free at www.real.com and www.microsoft.com, respectively.
Step 3: TV Tuner Card
There are many TV tuner cards currently on the market. We’ll take a look at the Marvel G400TV card by Matrox. It has high-quality features and can even capture analogue video from your VCR or camera! It is also very affordable, given all of the advanced features and bundled software. Note: there are other excellent and even cheaper cards on the market like ATI’s All In Wonder Pro, etc.
Step 4: Other Technologies
You can also use WebTV, a setup box for your TV, to watch TV and use the Web for surfing and checking email. But if you really want to work on your PC while watching TV, then you should check out either a streaming player or Tuner Card. We’ll review the Matrox Marvel G400TV card in the next tutorial and then go over the pros and cons of streaming players as well as review some good TV Websites.
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