MiniTVUSB TV Tuner for your Notebook or Desktop PC

TV tuner
Wikimedia

The ADS Tech MiniTV USB is the simplest TV Tuner that I've tested to plug into a PC, and is ideal for use with a Notebook PC. No cracking open the case to install the TV Tuner card, just plug the MiniTV USB into a free USB port, and connect either your Cable TV coaxial cable or an Antenna cable to the short adapter cord that connects to the MiniTV. Software similar to Windows Media Center comes bundled with the MiniTV, ADS Tech's own MediaTV PVR, software for watching and recording TV on your Notebook or Desktop PC. A good buy for those who want an easy way to capture TV on their computer.

Pros

  • Watch TV on your Notebook or Desktop PC
  • Schedule TV Recordings Days in Advance
  • Pause and Rewind Live TV with included Media Center Software
  • Very Lightweight and Easy to Connect

Cons

  • Flimsy connection from Coaxial Cable to USB Device
  • Included Media Center Software sluggish

Description

  • Using a TV Antenna or Cable connection, you can watch TV on your computer
  • MiniTVUSB is simple to install and powers itself through the USB connection to the PC
  • Record TV Shows to the Computer's Hard Drive and then burn to DVD
  • Includes MediaTV PVR for Recording TV and Pausing and Rewinding Live TV
  • Turn any PC into a Digital Video Recorder
  • With an internet connection, download a program guide to schedule recordings in advance

Guide Review - Product Review - MiniTVUSB TV Tuner for your Notebook or Desktop PC

Included in the box for the MiniTV USB TV Tuner is the TV Tuner device, which is like an over-sized USB flash drive, the somewhat flimsy adapter cable to connect the Cable TV or Antenna cable, documentation for the MediaTV PVR software, and a CD to install the drivers for the MiniTV and the MediaTV PVR software. Installation was a breeze, plug the MiniTV into a free USB port, connect the adapter cable to the MiniTV, and then connect the Cable TV or Antenna cable to the adapter. Power up your PC and Windows will ask you to install drivers for the MiniTV USB, insert the CD and install the drivers from the CD. Finally, you install the MediaTV PVR software from the CD, very simple and straight-forward. Once everything is installed, it's time to open up the MediaTV PVR software. For those who have used the Windows Media Center software, MediaTV PVR will look very similar. Like Windows Media Center, MediaTV PVR lets users choose between watching and recording TV, listening to music, or viewing photos.

To watch TV using the MiniTV USB and the MediaTV PVR software, you need to scan for the channels coming through the Cable TV or Antenna cable to the MiniTV and into the computer. Once the channels are scanned into the software, you can start watching and recording TV on the PC. I tested the MiniTV USB on an Okoro Systems Home Theater PC, the OMS-SX100, which includes an Intel Core Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 250GB Hard Drive. (Read more about the Okoro Systems OMS-SX100). The picture quality was surprisingly good for such a small and portable device, but I found the MediaTV PVR software to be a bit sluggish when moving from menu item to menu item. I preferred to use the Windows Media Center software with the MiniTV USB.