Press "Enter" to skip to content

All About USB HDTV Tuners

All About USB HDTV Tuners

A few years ago, to be able to get High Definition TV (HDTV) signals on your computer, you would have needed an HDTV-ready TV set and RGB monitor wires to connect the two.

Then, HDTV tuner PCI cards were invented. These tuner cards eliminated the need for an HDTV set and cables as they are installed in the computer’s motherboard to allow for HDTV signal reception. Today, HDTV signals come in a portable box you plug into your PC’s USB port.

Yes, silicones have shrunk small enough not only for a flash drive or MP3 player to fit into a USB dongle form. An HDTV tuner can fit inside a USB stick as well.

On December 24, 2003, SASEM Co., Ltd., a leading developer and manufacturer of analog and digital TV tuner cards for desktop PCs and laptops in South Korea launched the external USB HDTV TV tuner device called OnAir USB HDTV.

OnAir USB HDTV is an external software-decoding type of USB HDTV TV tuner device that interfaces with desktop PCs or laptops via USB 2.0.

It is meant to play live analog and digital TV hassle-free and record them in PVR format. OnAir USB HDTV tuners were introduced to the American and Canadian markets in January 2004 and were initially priced at US $249.99.

An evident advantage of using USB HDTV tuners is that it is very easy to install with PCs or laptops. The earlier PCI cards are limited to run only on desktop PCs. Disassembling and reassembling the computer to plug in PCI tuner cards on motherboards is also risky.

Some PCI cards fail to install on certain desktop PCs because they collide with other hardware devices. USB HDTV tuners provide better analog and digital TV signal reception than PCI HDTV tuner cards.

USB HDTV tuners require at least a 2.4Ghz for just viewing although, it usually is a high-powered USB device that draws as much as 500mA 2.5Wo from a USB port. USB HDTV tuners support full HDTV of 1920×1080 (ATSC). They allow for Wallpaper TV Screen View.

Aside from real-time playing, file playback of analog and digital TV recording is also possible. An MPEG2 Encoder chip may be embedded to immediately convert live analog TV recording to MPEG2 DVD format (720×480).

Using DVD-RW it is easy for the user to create DVD titles for recorded live analog TV. For Windows XP, D-VHS HD Stream playback on real-time recording is allowed. Users can also playback HD Stream File format (ATSC and Japan BS).

USB HDTV tuners also permit zooming-in certain parts of live TV or playback file images. What’s more, they provide HD Editors for easy editing of recorded HD streams files.

USB HDTV tuners have the lowest CPU resource usage to decode the HD Stream by using InterVideo’s software HFTV Decoder. Auto power on/off is controlled by plugging in or out of USB cable. USB HDTV tuners provide remote control. Bundling with InterVideo Win DVD4 is also possible.

Microsoft WHQL logo for Windows XP are already provided to USB HDTV tuners like OnAir. This proves that they are compatible with Microsoft operating systems. Moreover, OnAir HDTV tuner, and some of its successors, is registered in Microsoft Catalogs. Information of USB HDTV tuners and their availability are now easy to search for in US and Canada.

By simple plug and play, USB HDTV tuners are now ready to support the next generation of multimedia operating system, Microsoft Media Center 1.X (analog TV only). USB HDTV tuners have full PVR features including the time shift.

The time shift offers the ability to record live TV while playing the live analog TV for pre-defined period of time. Like the very famous TiVo, this feature helps a user not to miss any part of live TV in their PCs or laptops even though a user is away from these for a while.