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Web TV

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Web TV

Can any one tell me about receiving television on my computer ?

I spend a lot of time away from home where I do not have or want regular television. However, I would like occasionally to be able to watch a previously recorded programme by using my laptop to receive the programme, and then saving it to DVD for subsequent play back on a DVD player.

I know nothing about using a computer for receiving TV. Can anyone tell me what the basic hardware requirements are ? I assume that I would need a TV tuner card.

I also have broadband, and I have seen several advertisements for 1000+ television channels streamed for ever for a one off charge of between £15 and £25. GoggleboxTV is one of them. It seems too good to be really true and I am sure these are either scams or they are illegal in some way. Does anyone have any experience of this ?
11 REPLIES
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Web TV

BBC and ITV are doing some Multi-cast thing which will broadcast all their channels to everybody in the UK with an internet connection capable of streaming the footage. Not sure when it will be around but this is something I really wanting to arrive soon.

I missed the PlusNet Multi-cast trial things so unfortunately I will have to wait till its completely finished if it hasnt been hacked off already. Hasnt been a news update about it for a while.

http://usergroup.plus.net/bbcigmp.php

It says the multicast stream is down so I havent even bothered to try.

There are a few places with TV streams but I havent found a site thats any good yet. Whether those are scams or not I am not quite sure, the more appropriate question would be if they are even worth watching hehe.
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Web TV

For recieving TV on my PC instead of a pci tuner card I use a Freecom DVB-T USB Stick .
http://gladiatorcomputers.com/ProductDetail.aspx?StockCode=TVFREDVBTUSB&Link=SearchResults
The link refers to my local PC store, you can get a better price elsewhere.
It's USB, so perfect for laptops that have a suitable spec and gives hassle free recording, time shift, playback and blah blah blah
The tiny antenna that comes with it is OK if you live less than 1 metre from a transmitting station Smiley . But plug in a roof or loft ariel and reception is crystal clear for all digital stations such as those available on freeview.
The teletext does not work on UK versions, but thats not really a great loss. Yesterdays technology methinks
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Web TV

Thanks, that has been a great help. I am going down the USB tuner card route - Watford Electronics do one for £25 !!.

One more question. I live in a very rural area where the signal is not good, to say the least. I watch so little TV that I have put up with it for 30 years. However, I imagine that I will be forced to do something if I want to attach a USB tuner card, because presumably yhe signal it will receive will be digitised and it will need a half decent signal to receive it. Am I right about that ?

If so, will a signal booster help normally ? Obviously, it would depend on other factors like hills (yes, there are hills) and Martian Crop Circles in the summer, but in principle will aan analogue tv aerial booster also boost the digitised signal ? Or am I wasting my time ?
Patch
Grafter
Posts: 122
Registered: 30-07-2007

Web TV

I think it will depend on how bad your signal is to begin with. If the signal is poor, with a lot of noise, then boosting it will just boost the noise too.

You may find that a new aerial will make a difference. My folks live in an area with a very poor signal, and in the end they had to get a huge shiny aerial put on a long post at the end of the garden.

I have also seen other houses where they have two aerials on the same chimney... although I guess this might just be for 2 tellys.

Patch
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Web TV

2 weeks ago a friend showed me the Nebula µDigiTV attached to his laptop. It looked very good and easy to use. But he lives in Esher and even there, relatively close to London, the signal of a portable antenna was too weak and only a few channels could be received. He had to connect the roof antenna to make it work fine.
http://www.nebula-electronics.com/information/info.asp?Code=0003
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Web TV

Quote
Will an analogue tv aerial booster also boost the digitised signal ?


Hmm, good question.
However, heres a digital booster that Maplins sell
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=36576&doy=search
I seem to think that with a digital signal you either get a signal or you don't, there's no in between. It works or it doesn't.
Concerning the USB TV reciever that you are buying for £25, sorry but it seems a bit cheap. I'd worry a little that I was taking a chance, maybe it's meant for an export market or something. Does it have the correct connecter for a UK co-ax cable plug.
Anyway, best of luck with your project.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Web TV

The tuner card takes the analogue signal from your aerial and converts it into a digital form that the computer can use. The quality you see on the screen will be roughly the same as your normal TV. If you want a better signal you can try a booster, but the normal plug in boosters usually don't work that well as they boost the noise as well as the signal.

It is better to boost the signal at source by fitting a better aerial. Failing that a masthead amplifier might help as well as a better aerial. This is mounted on the aerial and is fed with power through the aerial cable. These are much better than 'downstairs' boosters but do cost more and should really be fitted by a professional aerial installer.

Denzil
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Web TV

Thanks for that. I think I understand the logic, and it is therefore worth trying the masthead booster.

However, i think I may have hit another snag. According to Freeview's postcode checker, even though I live less than 100 miles from London, there is ostensibly no Freeview service here and it is not due to be upgraded until 2008 !! So why am I expected to pay for all those digital channels in my licence fee Huh?

Does anyone know if this is just "playing safe" because the signal would be weak, or is Freeview genuinely not streamed into certain areas ? There is no point in upgrading aerials (again) and fitting masthead boosters if I will not be able to receive digital signals in any case.

On the other hand, am I just getting confused ? If I cannot get Freeview, could I still get the standard terrestrial channels with a TV Tuner card or won't that work either ? I suppose what I am asking is whether Freeview and the normal TV signal are different things ?

I suppose if I can get the basic 4 programmes without Freeview, it might still be worth experimenting with a masthead booster.
:? Shockedops:
Alecto
Grafter
Posts: 2,886
Registered: 30-07-2007

Web TV

Your normal signals are analogue, which are due to be turned off in due course.
You can get them with an analogue tuner card.
Freeview is digital, and you need a digital tuner card which will give you the (free) digital channels. If you are in a digital reception area. Which you say you are not.

So an analogue tuner card will get you the current 5 channels, but will stop working in 2012, or whenever they turn off the analogue signal.
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Web TV

Quote
If I cannot get Freeview, could I still get the standard terrestrial channels with a TV Tuner card or won't that work either ? :


Yes you could, but you need an analougue tuner card.
I don't know of any USB ones, I've only ever come accross internal PCI versions. And you really need a good signal for them to work reasonably well.
Looks like you stuffed all ways.
Renting video's looks like your best bet at the moment Sad
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Web TV

FreeSAT from Sky is a good way to get digital tele in crap areas. Its a hell of a lot cheaper than Freeviews costs due to some people needing a huge aerial. Plus its alot more effiecent and has better oppotunities for upgrading etc (TopUpTV is really a load of rubbish lol).

The only reason people use Freeview in their computers is because its easier than using Satellite Pci Card setup, with card readers etc. Although it is possible I dont think they are as feature packed and easy to setup as a Digital TV Card is. But if we are talking about your home television and not about computers, forget Freeview and look into FreeSAT from Sky.

http://www.freesatfromsky.co.uk/