TV tuner card
A TV tuner card allows television signals to be received by a computer. LinuxMCE systems featuring such cards can stream live TV to any media director in the home using MythTV. TV tuners are available as PCI-bus expansion card, PCIe (PCI Express) bus or USB devices.
Please see also:
- TV cards category
- MythTV tuner cards category
- MythTV tuner cards article This is a good place to start if you are wondering which cards are supported by MythTV, one of two PVR programs used by LinuxMCE.
- Capture Cards a listing and rating of LinuxMCE v8.10 compatible cards
Types of tuner card on the market
- Cards for analog TV. Cheaper models output raw tuner data, which requires intensive encoding by another device, normally the system CPU. More expensive models encode the signal to MPEG, relieving the main CPU of this load. This is called Hardware Encoding and is worth every penny. Many cards also have analog input (composite video or S-Video). and many also provide FM radio reception.
- Cards for digital TV, including satellite TV. Digital TV is broadcast as an MPEG stream, so no encoder is necessary; instead, the digital cards must extract the correct PIDs from the transport stream, which requires much less processing power.
- Hybrid tuners that handle both analog and digital inputs. A Hybrid tuner has one tuner that can be configured to act as an analog tuner or a digital tuner. Switching in between the systems is fairly easy, but can not be done "on the fly". The card operates as a digital tuner or an analog tuner until reconfigured.
- Combo tuners that have both analog and digital tuners on one card. This is similar to a hybrid tuner, except there are 2 separate tuners on the card. One can watch analog while recording digital, or visa versa. The card operated as an analog tuner and a digital tuner. The advantages over 2 separate cards are cost and utilization of expansion slots in the computer. As the US converts from analog to digital broadcasts, these tuners are gaining popularity.