What is a TV-Tuner?
TV-tuner is a receiver of a television signal, i.e. almost the same device as what any TV-set or video-recorder is equipped with (a video-player doesn’t have a TV-tuner). This type of radio equipment has not only a receiver like that, but also the whole lot of different functional modules (the type of these modules depends on the type of the device). The PC TV-tuner doesn’t have additional elements, as it is a kind of expansion of the PC video and audio system. And the way the TV-tuner communicates with your PC depends solely on the type of a TV-tuner.
As you may have guessed, any TV-tuner allows watching different TV-programs. However, this is not all. You can also capture separate frames, record videos on your hard drive, look through the teletext and do the whole bunch of other things. The remarkable thing about teletext is the fact that there are special utilities developed for teletext pages processing, which link the teletext information with electronic spreadsheets and make all the necessary changes once the data change. You will agree that a regular TV-set cannot do all this stuff.
Many TV-tuners are provided with an integrated FM-tuner. This is actually a very useful addition to the functions of a TV-tuner, especially if you are used to working on your PC with the radio playing in the background. Just like with the TV-programs, you can not only listen to but also record the radio tunes. By the way, the tuner can play video data not only when it is broadcast directly, but also when it is sent from such devices as consumer cameras and video players. In fact, most contemporary graphics cards come equipped with the video-In/Out, however, not all the cards are like that and not all the VGA card makers offer these functions. Moreover, they usually use RCA video connector and almost all TV-tuners also have an S-Video connector, which allows avoiding image quality worsening.
All in all, the use of a TV-tuner in your PC turns your computer into a TV and FM-tuner at the same time, and allows you to use the data on both: your computer and consumer video equipment.
We could single out three types of TV-tuners available in the today’s computer market:
- External TV-tuners;
- Expansion cards (add-in TV-tuner cards).
Of course, the very first classification that comes to mind is external and internal solutions. The internal add-in cards are installed into your system, while the external ones are connected to the external ports of your system and require additional power supply.