With a personal computer by your side, you have access to several sources of entertainment – right from music to games. The lengthy list of activities that you can do on your computer has just got better with the inclusion of Cable TV-on-PC option. With the facility to watch cable TV on your personal computer, you can enjoy all your favorite TV shows which you were not able to see due to some or the other reason; and that too in real time.
In order to watch cable television on your computer, you will require a TV tuner card or a software, an updated computer and high speed Internet access. If your computer is considerably old, you will have to check with your cable operator for compatibility issues. Even though it is possible to watch TV on your PC using a DSL connection, the speed is likely to cause frequent interruption of services. On the contrary, using broadband Internet will ensure that you get uninterrupted services, and enhance your cable TV experience.
How to Watch Cable TV on Computer?
Basically, there are two methods by which you can pull of this task – in the first, you can use simple hardware to gain access to the cable service, and in the second, you have to download a particular software for the same. While the term ‘hardware’ here refers to the TV tuners, the term ‘software’ refers to programs which facilitate the use of computer to watch cable TV in real time. As far as convenience is concerned, it is easy to execute both the methods by following some simple guidelines given in the user manual. Given below are the further details of each of these two methods.
Using TV Tuner Card
If you intend to resort to a TV Tuner, which is slightly more convenient than the software downloading method, you will be able to buy one from the electronics store in your neighborhood. Basically, there exist two types of TV tuners for PC – internal TV tuner (which comes in form of a PCI card) and external TV tuner (which comes in form of a USB device.) While the TV tuner card (internal TV tuner) has to be plugged onto the motherboard of the computer, the external device can be plugged into the USB port. The TV tuners available today receive feed from cable service provider through the broadband network, and hence the picture quality is at par excellence even on the PC.
Both have their own pros and cons – while an internal card is relatively inexpensive, you are likely to have a tough time installing it on the motherboard. Similarly, the external device may be easy to connect, but the fact that it comes for some extra amount may make you give it a second thought. Depending on which of these two options you would prefer to go with, you will have to shell out something between US$50-$150. Brands like Hauppauge and AverMedia boast of some of the best USB TV tuners, which are priced in the range of US$100-$150.
If you are not keen on buying TV tuner, you can resort to software applications which facilitate live streaming of cable TV channels on the computer. This method will require a high-speed broadband connection, or else distorted picture quality and ruin your experience. You can inquire with your cable TV operator for the details of downloading the right software program for your PC. The entire process of downloading this software will take less than half an hour, and you will get access to thousands of TV channels on your computer or laptop. Though this method is not considered to be at par with TV tuners, the fact that it saves you the trouble of going through the technicalities of the hardware makes it ideal for some people.
With computers becoming an integral part of each and every American household, it isn’t surprising that we now have the option of watching the television on our desktops today. Once you have installed the TV tuner or downloaded the required software, you can just sit back and watch your favorite shows with no disturbance whatsoever. At the same time, you would also get added benefits of recording live TV shows or watching previously recorded shows on your computer.