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I want television and radio

I want television and radio - from the experience of a meticulous buyer


disassembling a TV tuner for a computerWell, what can we do? Well, I want to have an internal PCI TV tuner! When five years ago I came to visit a friend and found him working in Word and at the same time watching some TV show through a small window in the corner of the monitor, to be honest, I was simply stunned. TV tuners were almost exotic back then and were obscenely expensive.


Today the situation is completely different: the city is full of this goodness, and the prices are quite reasonable. It’s just this “completely complete” thing that has me stumped. The problem of choice, you understand! But when desires overwhelm, a solution is found quickly. Surrounded by a whole bunch of newspapers with price lists of computer companies and private advertisements, I firmly decided to travel around half the city, but choose for myself what I wanted. And the famous monologue from a television commercial was spinning in my head: “My children! In our business, the main thing is to choose a good product and not overpay!” Right in the bull's eye! After calling, I drew up the most rational route for visiting the sellers, and... off to the horses!




Eline TVMaster-2000 manufacturer of IT devicesPrimary information received by phone: TV tuner “Eline TVMaster-2000”, of course, used, but very inexpensive. It works great, there is a remote control, software and even the packaging is intact.


In practice. Firstly, I didn’t dare ask the owner what was stored in the device box until today, and, in general, it is urgent to wash my hands. Secondly, when the owner proudly showed me the operation of the TV tuner, I wanted to sarcastically: does he really consider this a normal image? I wonder if his TV is also on? But the owner of the device hastened to reassure me: his signal is so terrible - the antenna is bad. Then he showed me the remote control. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such archaism, I’ll tell you. It belongs in a museum, not on a computer desk. And finally, a recording of a television program was demonstrated to me (that is, what is called video capture). My God! What happened to the colors and brightness! I politely say goodbye, explaining that I’ll look at other TV tuners and maybe come back. And run through two steps! No, guys, even if the device is not sold expensively, it’s not even about the price, it’s not about the price at all.




Information from a telephone conversation with the manager of the company: The Pinnacle PCTV Pro TV tuner, of course, is new with an FM tuner in addition. When asked about quality, the answer was: “What are you talking about! It’s a Pinnacle!”


In practice. The packaging is, of course, beautiful, but why should I show it off so hard? You can't fool me with chaff. Open it, come on. The software is solid, native, specifically for this tuner. This is buzz. There are a whole bunch of inputs and outputs on the map. This is also a buzz. But there is no connector for the remote control. Cool! But the IR receiver is connected via a COM port. I don’t even know if this is a buzz or not? The remote control itself is a nice stylish thing, comfortable in the hand (I would say: manageable). However, this is not the main thing. The main thing is the reception and capture of television and radio broadcasts. I ask the manager to give me a demonstration of the device. What a displeased face he has! It's obvious that it's easy to strain yourself. Nothing. “Work, ostrich, work!” And now, the device is connected and tuned to Channel One. “Well, are you sure?” - the seller tells me with all his appearance. I am begging you! Let me tune in five more channels (these are not pears - I tried one, and that means all the ones in the bag are the same). Ooh! And on another channel some kind of comb appeared. The next one is eerie color. The third one was completely skewed. What? Here they are also trying to tell me about a low-quality antenna?! OK. Now, let's check the recording. Well, no complaints here. From a good channel the capture is excellent, from a crooked channel - crooked.


I take a break on the promenade and call the same friend whose device I saw was working normally. Maybe he can explain what these reception problems are and what the antenna has to do with it. The answer I get is the following: the antenna has nothing to do with it, it’s just that both cards are made on the old bt 878a chip, and it has such a congenital disease as color and brightness distortion. Uncertain channel reception is a problem with the RF units of specific TV tuner models. And if the first can be corrected by installing some alternative software (it turns out there is a lot of it for this chip on the Internet: paid and free. But almost all of it refuses to work with “Eline”), then the second is a thorn planted by the manufacturer. In general, a lot of TV tuners have been released on the 878 chip with high-quality reception, excellent software and rich functionality, which I myself was convinced of when I came across a “Go TView PCI” card in a store where I came for a completely different model.




The Go Tview PCI tuner has a solid design and rich equipment. And then the manager insists on the elegant design of the card, sometimes black on gold, sometimes gold on black varnish. How else can I explain to him that I don’t care about all this beauty when it’s stuck in a slot inside the computer. Or does he really think that for every guest who comes to me, I will unscrew the screws, remove the cover of the system unit, disconnect all the cords, unscrew the screw that secures the tuner, pull out the device and, drooling, demonstrate my attitude to beauty? "Mother! Let's go to the bins! Turn on this miracle for me, and somehow I’ll appreciate everything myself (by eye, by ear, by tooth, in the end). I must admit, the quality of signal reception here was nowhere near the previous two. Excellent scanning with the ability to manually adjust. However, if properly configured by the manufacturer, the step makes manual tuning an almost unnecessary option. Color and brightness, however, are slightly disturbed (nothing can be done - 878), but a large number of settings make it possible not only to get rid of this problem, but also generally improve the picture: saturation, brightness, contrast, white balance, rear brightness compensation, warmth , volume; on all channels at once or on each separately. The grip is also excellent. And first of all, thanks to the cool software that allows you to record TV programs using various filters that remove all interference and artifacts. In short, the car is what you need!


But I told you that I came to the store for a completely different TV tuner, because I found out that there are cards made on a more modern, advanced Philips SAA 7130HL chip.




"Manli PCI TVplus" is not an outstanding card. The neat box contains a minimal gentleman's kit: a TV tuner as such, a disc with software, a remote control with batteries and a short cord for audio-out. The software on the disk is extremely ascetic, as is the package: a driver, a single program for receiving, processing and capturing, as well as instructions (they even saved on paper). Although, it should be noted, the remote control is convenient, somewhat reminiscent in shape of the Go Tview remote control, and quite functional. And the tuner panel contains all the necessary connectors, including S-Video and minijack. Reading the haphazardly written and assembled manual in English depressed not only the company manager, but also me. In the preinstallation menu, however, both a country such as Russia and the SECAM system were found, but not a single option became Russified. Apparently this is only a preset for scanning. However, the channels were clearly established, demonstrating reliable reception. The picture quality turned out to be good with natural “living” colors, as well as the quality of capture (“the Philippine chip honestly does its job”). Here, too, a considerable number of different adjustments were found. But this is all convenient for a user who is fluent in English. But for someone like me, this is an ambush.


In general, I didn’t want to buy a TV tuner on the old 878 chip and didn’t dare buy “Manli”. So I left the store with nothing. Only the seller was incredibly happy about this (not that he didn’t buy, but that he finally left). But there was another device in mind based on the Philips 7130.




The information in the private ad was scant: “AVerTV Studio Model 305,” almost new, inexpensive.”


In practice. “Aver” has long been the brand of the founder of high-quality TV tuners. So to speak, a classic in person (I was enlightened about this before visiting the seller). Everything here looks solid, from the design of the box to the manual. Finally, I saw completely and thoroughly Russified software. Hooray! There is also an adaptation for Kazakhstan in the settings. Someone pinch me! There is nothing to say about connectors and “distance” - everything is provided, everything is ergonomic. The quality of television reception was five plus, so the owner had no need to tell me about problems with the antenna. The grip is at the same level. Well, of course - with such rich software! A huge bunch of settings and presets (half of which, most likely, should be set “by default” so as not to fool yourself), only a detailed description, which takes up more than a dozen pages in the “help”. When working with Aver, you don’t have to look for alternative programs - its native programs are very well written.


And I was almost inclined to buy this product, but then the same friend called me on hundred. “Listen, I almost forgot,” he muttered, “Philips SAA 7130HL - the chip is certainly cool, but today there is a more cool thing - Philips SAA 7134HL.” The difference between them is that the new chip makes it possible to receive channels with stereo sound. True, we still won’t find channels with stereo broadcasting. But in Russia such television programs have already appeared. Although, of course, the choice is yours.” Well, who is he after that?! With one call he destroyed the entire integrity of the picture! In short, the purchase is cancelled. Where are my newspapers? Let's look for something similar, but with mother-of-pearl buttons. And soon I discovered something similar, and more than one: “LifeView FlyTV Prime 34FM” and “Genius Video Wonder ProIII”.




TV tuner Genius TVGo A31 DVB-T11Both cards do not boast a wealth of equipment. “Genius” has one more connecting cable than “LifeView”, and its remote control will be more elegant and more functional (for “LifeView” it is somehow too stripped down). The software for both tuners is crude and clearly unfinished. Apparently the manufacturers were in a hurry to release a device on a newfangled chip as quickly as possible. The right path to the Internet for programs from third-party manufacturers. But the reception and capture are beyond praise - the complete absence of any interference, rich colors, pleasant contrast.


What kind of TV tuner did I buy? I will not say. Well, why this hidden advertising, especially since there are many more models and brands of this device than those listed above. But I can give some general advice from personal experience. First of all, don't prioritize the stylish design of your TV tuner and remote control. The main thing is the clarity of scanning stations, the quality of reception and the readability of capture. Secondly, pay attention to the software if you don’t want to surf the net and select something alternative. It should be good quality and comfortable. Although don’t expect that you will be offered professional water installation programs as standard. Thirdly, if the image suffers from interference created by interference from the computer (and there is everything in it that may not be inducing: spinning fans, clicking hard drives, spinning CDs, etc., etc.) – such a device will be in your neck. These are all problems that were 3-5 years old and have already been resolved by most manufacturers today (but this, of course, does not mean that the card needs to be installed in the first slot next to the video card). Fourthly, do not forget about the correct installation of the antenna cable between the TV and the TV tuner, otherwise you can significantly worsen the reception at both points. And finally, fifthly, don’t think that the more expensive a TV tuner costs, the better it is. Often you simply overpay for the brand, packaging, or an additional and completely unnecessary feature. The cost of a good device (including those previously mentioned) fits well within the range of 35 to 60 American evergreen rubles. Otherwise, the choice is yours.



Askar Aliyev, 2005 (Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata)

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