Install and Configure Video or TV Capture Card in a PC

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Computer video capture card, close up

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A TV or Video Capture Card can easily be installed inside your PC. Why would you want to do this, when many Capture Cards allow connection via USB 3.0? Well, one is the cost. Internal Capture Cards are inexpensive compared to external USB cards. Second, internal cards offer greater features than their external cousins. Internal Capture Cards plug into a PCI slot in your PC's motherboard. Read on for installing a Capture Card into a PC running Windows.

What You Need

  • PC running Windows
  • PCI internal Video or TV Capture Card
  • Capture software (usually bundled with the card)
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver

Here's How

  1. Make sure your PC is shut down, and disconnect all your cables from the back of your PC: AC Power Plug, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, etc.

  2. Once everything is disconnected, remove the cover on the PC to get to the inside components. Every case is different, but this usually involves unscrewing a few screws on the back of the case and sliding off one of the side panels. (Check your computer or computer case manual if you're unsure of how to open the case).

  3. Once the cover is open, lay the case down on a flat surface with the motherboard facing up. Inside the case, you will see lots of cables and components. You must now look for a free PCI slot on the motherboard.

  4. PCI slots are typically used by modems, sound cards, video cards, and other peripherals. They have one small rectangular opening and a larger rectangular opening and are usually white in color. They connect to the motherboard in such a way that the inputs/outputs are exposed on the back of the computer case. (Check the Capture Card manual for help in finding the PCI slot).

  5. Now that you have identified a free PCI slot, unscrew the small metal bracket that is attached to the computer case directly behind the PCI slot. You can fully remove this small rectangular piece of metal — it will be replaced by the PCI Capture Card.

  6. Gently, yet firmly, slide the TV or Video Capture Card into the PCI slot, making sure it is locked down all the way. Screw the card down into the back of the case so the inputs/outputs are exposed on the back of the computer case. (Again, if you need help, consult the instructions that came with the Capture Card).

  7. Place the panel back on the case, put the screws back in, and stand the case back upright.

  8. Plug all the cables back into the case. (Monitor, keyboard, mouse, AC power plug, etc.)

  9. Power on the PC and Windows should detect the new hardware.

  10. A new hardware wizard will run asking for the installation disk to install drivers for your new Capture Card. Insert the installation disk into your CD or DVD-ROM drive, and follow through the wizard to install the drivers. If you installed the drivers ok, skip ahead to number 13.

  11. If the new hardware wizard didn't run automatically, you can manually install your drivers. Make sure the disk is in your CD drive. Right-click My Computer on the desktop and select Properties. Click on the Hardware Tab, and select Device Manager. Double-click on sound, video and game controllers, and double-click on your Capture Card. Click the Driver tab.

  12. Click on Update Driver and the New Hardware Wizard will pop up. Follow the on-screen directions to install the drivers.

  13. Next, install any software that came with the Capture Card from the installation CD. (For example, Nero to capture video and burn DVDs, or Beyond TV, if the Capture Card has DVR functionality.

  14. After installing all software, shut down the computer and connect either a Cable, Satellite or Over-The-Air Antenna to the inputs on the Capture Card (Coaxial, S-Video, Composite or Component cables).

  15. Power the PC back on, start up the Capture software, and you should be ready to start capturing TV and/or Video.

Before installing your Capture Card, make sure you have a free PCI slot.