Feeds

How to watch TV on your PC

PC as PVR

Security for virtualized datacentres

Feature Watching TV used to be a passive affair: you sat back and watched whatever happened to be on. These days, passivity is passé. Digital Video Recorder (DVR) set-top boxes can pick up programmes beamed out from a terrestrial transmitter, sent via satellite or pumped down a cable and save them on a hard drive so you begin watching five minutes after the show started or at any other time.

You can do all this on a PC too. Getting TV on a PC is just a matter of plugging in one or more TV tuners, either as an internal add-in card or a USB clip-on, and running the control software. While your computer's screen might not be a sharp or as big as the telly in your living room, having TV on your PC does mean you can keep an eye on what's happening in the world while you're at work or at play. It's a doddle to archive recorded shows to DVD, and network connectivity means you can watch on any computer in any room in the house.

Taking this a step further, there's no reason why you shouldn’t watch it in the location of your choice so you can watch the latest episode of The Sopranos while you're on holiday in France.

Hardware

Picking a TV tuner for your PC can be a confusing task as you'll be faced with a stack of choices and a host of acronyms and abbreviations. The first choice: analogue, digital or both - the so-called hybrid tuner? When we reviewed HP's IQ770 PC, which uses Windows Vista, we found that the analogue TV tuner provided a handful of fuzzy TV stations that were unwatchable. To our mind, the appeal of analogue TV is past, particularly with the upcoming end of analogue broadcasts here in the UK.

TerraTec Cinergy Hybrid T USB
TerraTec's USB Cinergy Hybrid tuner

But here's a thought. TV tuner specialist Hauppauge told us: "Analogue provides two key features: the ability to capture from analogue sources, such as VCRs, and flexibility. USB tuners are often used in more than one place, and digital signals may not be available in all of them."

Indeed, we've used Elgato's EyeTV Hybrid tuner to digitise old VHS tapes that aren't available on DVD.

If you want to watch one digital channel while you record another then you need two tuners. However, there's nothing to stop you going multiple tuners. Windows Media Center is designed to run two tuners. However, we're told that you can hack it to run at least six tuners, should you feel the need. Multi-channel, multi-monitor display system, anyone?

TV on a Mac

Don't feel left out, Mac users. You can do all this TV-on-a-PC stuff on a Mac too. We'll be covering Mac-specific products and procedures in a separate feature soon.

 

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.