by February 10, 2005 0 comments

This low cost TV tuner card can record live video in either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 formats up to a bit rate of 9.5 Mb/s. By default, the card supports MPEG-1 format only, but to record in MPEG-2, you have to buy a software update from their website.

Installation takes only a few easy steps. You need to have a serial port on your machine to connect the sensor for the remote control. The TV tuner card can take several inputs such as composite, S-video and various audio sources, apart from the basic cable TV connection. The PCTV Assistant utility helps to find whether the card is installed properly and is ready for use. 

The card comes with PCTV vision software for auto channel scanning, capturing live telecast and so on. You can arrange the scanned channels alphabetically and prepare a list of favorite channels. The card’s performance is pretty good. You can watch TV and record simultaneously without any noticeable drop in frame rates. You can capture still images with a single click, and the software will automatically generate their thumbnails for easy viewing. Also, no noticeable drop in video quality was observed when we played back the recordings. 

A good feature of the PCTV vision software is that the recorded image and picture can directly be burnt to a CD or DVD writer. Other appreciable features are scheduling picture capturing and time-shifting, where the latter works on the principle of deferred live telecast.

The Bottom Line: PCTV is a good buy for recording, taking a back up or creating favorite channel lists.

Sushil Oswal

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