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I've got a laptop that I am going to use solely as a htpc. I am trying to find out a couple of things. I will be using Windows Media Center for Win 7. I need a dual tuner or tuners that will pick up atsc/ntsc/qam. I first tried to go the hdhomerun route but found out it didn't do ntsc.


1. Which works better, stick tuners or external boxes?

2. Which one works best at tuning so that you don't have more than a 2 sec gap in between changing channels.

3. What should I do to my 2.2 ghz Intel Celeron dual core Gateway laptop to help it perform better?
 

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The HDHomeRun tuners work really well if you have a network. I tried some USB tuners early on and they didn't work well. Could have been the DVR software or drivers. Went with Hauppauge 1600 tuners in "the box" and later expanded using two HDHomeRun dual tuners. The USB stick tuners could be solid now. I'd recommending buying one in a brick and morter store where you can return it-- just in case.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb /forum/post/20812256


I don't trust dongle tuners, it's too convenient, there is a catch somewhere. For DVR usage, I highly recommend a tuner with a built-in hardware encoder, the 1600 has it, otherwise when recording that's all your laptop would be doing and nothing else.

What in the world would you be encoding these days? All the sources are digital... there is no encoding going on unless you are capturing, which really isn't tuning. If you have the signal strenght then the HD Homrun works nicely. I have a Ceton and and and a coulple of HD Homeruns. If you need true portability outside your wired network then a USB tuner should get the job done given enough signal.
 

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I've had good luck with the ATi 650 USB Combo external box for what you need - I can't recall if it has internal encoding or s/w based. For those writing this guy has a laptop thus no 1600 card for him! I fear the dongles are too compact for any decent tuning aside from ATSC/QAM which is already mpeg-2 compressed.
 

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I have a Hauppauge TV-HVR-1950 and it tunes NTSC QAM and ATSC. It has a built in encoder for NTSC and also has analog (composite and S-Video) inputs. It takes about 4 seconds to change from a digital channel to an analog but analog to analog or digital to digital changes are a bit quicker. I doubt you'll find much quicker changing because everything 'buffers' these days.
 
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