TV-Tuners Evaluation Criteria
Such devices as TV-tuners are usually very hard to compare, as they are all very similar. Nevertheless, the image quality provided by various models may differ pretty tangibly. First of all, let’s not forget that the tuner functionality is determined by the decoder chip used in it. Secondly, the decoder chip only offers certain features, and the implementation of these features depends on the software developers working on the drivers in the first place. But the greatest differences between the TV-tuner models lie in a completely different field: the price range. The TV-tuner manufacturers have already understood that a TV-tuner appears more appealing to the customer if it goes with a remote control unit, with a set of additional connectors and ports, and finally with good functional software bundle, which provides not only quality image but also quality recording options.
I am mentioning all this because it is very hard to carry out objective testing and comparison of TV-tuner devices. Actually, the best thing that can be done in this case is to capture a few freeze-frames, so that the users could visually compare the provided image quality and the price of the considered products and make up their mind.
Well, in conclusion I would like to give you some piece of advice, which might be helpful once you decide to go for a TV-tuner. So, what should your TV-tuner be like if you are planning to use it for quite a long time? Of course, it would make sense to buy a tuner card, which is not combined with the graphics adapter. The graphics card will get outdated very soon, while the TV-tuner will turn out a useless piece of plastic only when the PCI bus sinks into oblivion.
As for the additional features you should look into, I would suggest getting a device provided with a convenient remote control unit. If you have a big monitor and are planning to watch TV with your TV tuner quite often, then you will need a remote control unit for sure. Also, you would like to have teletext feature. Also if you have a digital video camera and are planning to edit your movies on the PC, then make sure your tuner card has the corresponding connector on the bracket.
And a couple more things. Take care of an antenna. The thing is that not every room antenna will ensure high quality of the reception, not to mention the teletext feature in this case, because if the signal is weak, it will take ages for the teletext page to load without any errors. If you connect your TV-tuner to the home wired antenna you may still encounter some problems, because you definitely have a TV-set in your place and each antenna splitter eats a bit of the reception quality.
If you are planning to use actively the video capturing functions of your TV-tuner then you should have a powerful system with a pretty large hard disk drive. The matter is that even short videos eat up a lot of megabytes, and contemporary TV-tuners allow recording TV-shows with DVD quality. You will need a very powerful CPU to be able to process such large video streams afterwards.
Of course, things develop very rapidly in the computer industry. However, there is a class of multimedia devices, which have almost stopped evolving though they haven’t become archaic at all. They are TV-tuners.