After hearing all about the wonders of HDTV, I finally decided that I want to try it out. I want to do this on my computer, because I don’t have a TV in my room and, quite frankly, I use my computer a whole heck of a lot more than I do TVs (it also doesn’t help that the HDTV tuners seem to cost in excess of $200 USD here in the States).
I plan to use this to do some light TV watching (not a whole lot; mostly just PBS documentaries because the analog PBS signal that we get isn’t very good), and every now and then, I’ll use it to capture video for transfer to DVD or re-encode to MPEG4.
So, after reading up a little, this is what I think the general procedure should be. Is this procedure correct? Am I missing any important steps or including steps that are not necessary?
1: Buy a HDTV tuner PCI card.
2: Buy a HDTV antenna.
3: Plug it in, install any drivers and software that come with the PCI card, and that’s it.
Sounds almost too simple, so I just want to check that I’m not missing something important.
I heard that there are hefty system requirements. ATI says 1.3 GHz. One source (can’t remember what it was) says 2 GHz. There’s a post by Kenny where he mentions a 4 GHz system. How accurate are these estimates? Would this system setup do?
- 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 520J (Prescott) (HT-enabled)
- ATI X300 SE (with 128 MB onboard memory; this is NOT the HM model)
- 1.5 GB DDR2-533 memory
- XP SP2
My monitor resolution is only 1024x768 (I don’t like to squint :p), so I will not be watching at full resolution (would that help with the system req?)
Newegg only lists three different cards, and I’m looking at two options:
Newegg only lists two HDTV antennas within my budget:
The ATI card is nice in that it comes with its own antenna.
Do I need these special HDTV antennae? Would regular antennae do the trick? And which card should I get? And which antenna should I get (assuming that I don’t get the ATI card and/or I don’t use the ATI antenna). (Oh, and I already have a signal amplifier that I use with my analog rabbit-ear antenna; can I use that here instead of getting that over-priced amplified version of the antenna?)
The no-name card coupled with the $25 antenna is the cheapest option for me, but not that much cheaper. It also seems to have more features. I guess the ATI card has the brand name, but how important is that brand name in this business? There are a lot of industries where the brand name premium is nothing more than marketing, but there are industries where brand name really means something. What kind of industry is the HDTV PCI card industry?
Thanks in advance for your input!