How to Watch Television on Your PC


Authored by Kumara Velu in Computer Hardware 
Published on 02-13-2009

Why would you want to watch television on your PC when you already have a television set at home? The obvious reason is you don’t want to leave your computer to go to the living room to watch the idiot box. You may want to watch the news as you reply an email or make an online purchase. You may want to record your favourite program without having to resort to a DVD recorder. Finally, having television access on your PC allows you to record your favourite program while you’re away.

Here are ways you can go about watching television on your computer.

To get a television signal into your computer you need a TV tuner device installed in your computer. You may want to know if your PC already comes with one. Chances are it does not. A TV tuner card is optional.

There are two main options available for a TV tuner card. The first type of TV tuner device is the PCI card. To install this card, you would have to remove your computer casing and install it in an empty slot in your motherboard. If this doesn’t excite you, you can opt for a USB device and just plug it into any USB port in your computer. This would be ideal for laptop computers where internal upgrades are virtually impossible.

The USB device may come with a built-in aerial, but it’s advisable to use a dedicated aerial to enjoy a stable reception. Also, some units may require external AC power supply to get it working while others can be powered via USB itself.

Here are the basic steps of going about watching television on your computer.

  • Install the TV tuner device
  • Install the software that comes along with it
  • Plug in your television aerial
  • Set your preferences and start watching your favourite programs

Features to Look For

When choosing a TV tuner device, you could do well to choose one that supports analog and digital television broadcast. If you’re in USA, television programs will be broadcast in the digital format after February 17, 2009.

Anyway, the analog feature will come in handy if you wish to record footage from your VHS player or other analog devices. Don’t take the recording feature as a given. Confirm whether it is actually supported. If you don’t foresee recording from analog devices, then you can go for a digital-only TV tuner device which costs less.

You may also want to consider a PCI combo – a VGA-cum-TV tuner card. This option will be attractive especially if you have an integrated VGA card and wish to have it upgraded. The combo option costs more, but you have a single card to take care of your graphics and TV viewing needs.

Also, if you’re serious about watching television on your PC, you should get a package that comes with a remote control. Otherwise, you would have to step up to your computer keyboard each time you need to switch channels or adjust the volume. But then be prepared to pay more for this convenience.


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