USB Tuner Alternatives - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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This is my situation. I live in a difficult area(New England river valley). My television pulls in more than enough channels for me to be happy. I wanted to use my Samsung R780 laptop as a PVR. I bought the AverMedia Volar Max usb tuner card and it turned out to be way less sensitive than my TV tuner.

My question is this. Can I or is there a set top box with a high quality tuner that has an usb output that I can connect to my laptop; so that I can use it as a PVR. I'm finding it hard to believe that this cannot be done. I truly believe that the little usb tuners are basically junk and are worthless to me unless I live on a high hill over looking Boston. I just want a tuner that is as sensitive as the one that's in my tv.

Please do not recommend any usb tuners. I've given up on them. I need a real tuner. I honestly believe that the media industry is conspiring against us and is making it very difficult to get what we need.
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 08:31 AM
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the hd homerun (hdhr) is about the only other option for you. as to whether or not it has a tuner that is as good as your tv's, you'll really have to buy one and try it for yourself.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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That doesn't exactly give me any options. How about this? Using a set top box and feeding a signal to my dvd recorder. That way, I can at least record shows onto dvd. I realize that it won't record in HiDef but my recorder can upscale it later. My dvd recorder has a dv-in jack, s-video in jack and basic av video jacks in. Can set top boxes record to the dvd while at the same time feeding the HiDef signal to the television through a separate output jack? I still cannot believe it is proving so difficult to accomplish any of this. It's extremely frustrating but I appreciate any help you can give me
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 01:27 PM
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are you watching OTA TV right now?

You can get cheap OTA tuner boxes and let your DVD recorder record it. But your DVD recorder won't be able to change channel or even power on/off your STB. There is however 1 or 2 STB that supports VCR timer. Basically, it can power on and change channel on its own. See the CECB sub-forum for more info.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 02:07 PM
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How is the HD Home run not an option for you? Its a network tuner so your laptop connects to it through your network. The HDHR3 is fairly new and is a solid dual tuner.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 02:38 PM
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Get the homerun, it is a fantastic solution. It has not let me down yet.

It is hooked to my htpc and I can access live tv through it on several other computers in the house, even over wireless.

Jack
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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The converter box idea seems to be the cheapest way out of my dilemma. I still cannot believe that you cannot get a high quality external tuner to hook up to an pc but oh well.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 05:06 PM
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Why are you ignoring the hdhomerun advice from several people? It is an external tuner that hooks to your pc...
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I've read that the Home run tuner is not any more sensitive than the the usb tuners. I need a high quality tuner that is as sensitive as the the tv tuners. I'm sorry but I am really snakebitten by the products that are available for hooking up to your pc; whether its by the usb or the router. Wouldn't it make sense to have a USB output on the set top boxes/receivers so that you can hook them up to a PC. It just seems that the whole industry has been hamstrung by solutions that are discombobulated and just don't plain work very well. Why don't HDTV's have a video out connections to a pc? How difficult would that be? It's industry sabotage in my opinion. I just sent back a aver media volar max for a refund that pulled in two stations versus twenty for my hdtv tuner. What we need in this industry are some creative techs/hackers to give the public solutions that make sense out the mess the media and consumer electronics companies have made out this industry. I cannot believe the bad reviews most of these products get by the consumers. Yet, there doesn't seem to be any real improvement in the products. This isn't rocket science. Someone is stunting the industry and the consumer is stuck with lousy products that either are sent back for refunds or are relegated to the junk tech drawer. With the economy still sucking wind, the drive is on for consumers to take advantage of OTA. This doesn't make a lot of big wigs happy and they are putting up roadblocks.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 05:43 PM
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The HD home run is a quality tuner and for your situation with a laptop its going to be the best.

What your describing wanting to do seems like you want to use a Video Capture Cable of sorts. Output the signal of your TV to a recording device, computer , dvd, vcr?. Recording TV in this way would be a huge step back but if thats what you want to do......
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-12-2011, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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This was quoted from one person who experienced both HdHomerun and Aver media.

""I love my HDHomerun but the primary advantage is its network connection allowing it to be shared by multiple PCs. If you are going to nail it up to one PC you would be better off installing a dedicated tuner.

The AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet for example is a much more sensitive dual tuner PCIe card at half the price of the HDHomerun (Newegg $60). For me it pulls in all greens where the HDHR is in the yellow. I should note that this is on ATSC. I don't have cable.

Don't get me wrong. Like I said, I love the HDHR but in a dedicated configuration it's just not worth the compromise or the price""

This is what I'm dealing with! Granted, his was a PCIe card but you can understand my frustration. I could only get my Aver media usb tuner to pull in two stations. What I need is a full fledged tuner/receiver; not a transistor radio. I don't care if it's the size of a refrigerator; as long as I know it's going to work as good as my HDTV. None of these products offer tuners that are as good as the ones found in the HDTV's. Is that too much to ask? Look, I'm just venting guys and I sure am appreciative of anybody that responds to my frustrated rants. I'll go to bed tonight and try to forget all about that the industry is screwing with me.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that I have slept, I have a couple of questions.

Has anyone here compared their signal strength with the HDhomerun versus their internal ATSC TV tuner using a digital signal strength meter? You must be using OTA; not QAM through the cable company. You must be in a fringe area and not 15 miles with LOS to the transmitter. If there is anyone out there that fits this MO, please let me know about your situation. I really would like take everyone's advice and buy the HDHomerun but I need data; not opinions. I am A+ and Microsoft certified; so it's not like I can't handle technical jargon. I just feel like the industry is not stepping up to the plate. OTA is seeing a resurgence in popularity not seen since I was a kid and my dad was in the attic fiddling with the antenna while sentries(kids) passed reception reports to him.

It would be a very important first step if the industry graded the quality of tuners using scientific data. Is it too much to ask to have benchmarks so that consumers can make intelligent choices. We do it with Cpu's, memory, and hard drives. Why hasn't it been done with PC tuners. I'll tell you why. There is a conspiracy to short circuit the success of watching TV OTA through your PC. Television used to survive just fine before cable and satellite. The commercials paid for the programming; not the consumer.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowneagle View Post

Now that I have slept, I have a couple of questions.

Has anyone here compared their signal strength with the HDhomerun versus their internal ATSC TV tuner using a digital signal strength meter? You must be using OTA; not QAM through the cable company. You must be in a fringe area and not 15 miles with LOS to the transmitter. If there is anyone out there that fits this MO, please let me know about your situation. I really would like take everyone's advice and buy the HDHomerun but I need data; not opinions. I am A+ and Microsoft certified; so it's not like I can't handle technical jargon. I just feel like the industry is not stepping up to the plate. OTA is seeing a resurgence in popularity not seen since I was a kid and my dad was in the attic fiddling with the antenna while sentries(kids) passed reception reports to him.

It would be a very important first step if the industry graded the quality of tuners using scientific data. Is it too much to ask to have benchmarks so that consumers can make intelligent choices. We do it with Cpu's, memory, and hard drives. Why hasn't it been done with PC tuners. I'll tell you why. There is a conspiracy to short circuit the success of watching TV OTA through your PC. Television used to survive just fine before cable and satellite. The commercials paid for the programming; not the consumer.

I have an original hdhr and a duet. imo, the tuners in the duet are better, hands down. Also, I not a huge fan of the hdhr's drivers and setup. I've used both with an antennas in my attic and qam. I use qam now because it is just easier. I haven't used the hdhr in years, and I've been told the drivers have changed so my complaint about that may be no longer valid.

The new hdhr is supposed to have newer tuners. That was why I suggested that you buy it and try it. cpus, memory, etc have no relationship with how well you receive a rf signal. EVERY installation is different.

Other than setting up a sage or myth back end, it is really your only option for tv on a laptop.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 09:03 AM
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So you are willing to go SD to a DVD recorder, but not try a HDHR network tuner due to potential lower signal quality than an internal card?

Here are your options:
USB tuner for your laptop
HDHomeRun for your network/laptop
Internal card and build a HTPC to put it in
Hauppauge 1212 component capture HD-PVR

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post #15 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate everyone's input and I've decided my best solution so far would be to get set top box and use my existing dvd recorder to record things I want to save. I just don't have any confidence in the existing pc tuner technolgy. Anyways, if i find anything better, i'll pass that along.
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-13-2011, 11:04 AM
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I have a usb tuner (hauppage) and the hdhomerun.

It is connected to an antennae on the roof. The hdhomerun is quality.

If you are hooking to a decent antennae then the sensitivity of the tuner should not make a huge different.

You seem confused, and the solution you are going towards is inferior.

Heck, buy a HDhomerun from amazon, if you do not like it send it back.

Good luck either way
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-14-2011, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually, I'm not confused at all. If they made a box with a tuner equal to my HDTV, I would buy it in a heart beat. But they don't. I've been wasting countless hours on this endeavor. I'm am totally convinced that there is some sort of conspiracy against the OTA people. Your solution might seem fine for cable or if you live basically on top of the transmitter, but if you are in a fringe area, you need a top notch tuner. After countless hours of reasearch, I am convinced that the USB or network solutions are junk for my intended purpose. There is a reason they don't sell a tuner for my situation. I certainly don't know the politics of the situation but I'm convinced that the media and cable companies have a lot to do with it. Wouldn't it be pretty simple to take the tuner out of a TV, connect a USB port to it, and voila!, you have what I and thousands of others need. They know they are selling substandard stuff. Look on ebay. The solutions that I want are being sold in Australia. We can't get the stuff they are enjoying. Our government and corporate hacks are controling us more than you will ever realize. The solutions are being kept from us intentionally. As a matter of fact, I'm going to get my hands on a junk hdtv and hack a tuner solution right out of that thing. I hate it when big brother rears his ugly head. As far as I'm concerned, I'm signing out of this thread. I'm heading over to OTA forum and stirring up some crap.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-14-2011, 04:27 PM
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If I was in your shoes I would just buy a better antenna. You can't blame the world because you choose to live away from the city. And how do you know the desktop tuner is any better than the pc tuners.

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post #19 of 19 Old 04-14-2011, 09:18 PM
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I have the same feeling. I am not aware of any TV having such a good tuner that left every PC tuners in the dust.

OP did not mention how the signal is feed to the tuner. One thing to try is to make sure there is no splitter and move the antenna plug from TV to PC. If that does not work, one way always put up another antenna.
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