The Complete Guide to Using a USB HDTV Tuner in 2023
| Reuben Howe
A digital TV Tuner can revolutionise a PC, laptop or tablet into a fully-functional Television set! But how do you get one, how do you set a digital TV tuner up, and what channels can you access with a USB TV Tuner?
August technology can answer all of these questions as they produce 2 Cheap USB Tuners, one for standard definition TV reception and another for HDTV Tuning. Learn how to transform your PC into a TV, PVR and Multimedia Centre with one USB Stick…
What is a Digital Tuner?
A Digital TV Tuner is a small electronic device that contains a decoding chip. The electronic chip allows the device to decode digital electromagnetic waves and numerical data into colours, sounds, text and everything else you see on a TV broadcast!
The information about the broadcast like which pixels are which colour and what audio is currently playing is all encoded, broadcast, and then needs decoding to view. This is why a TV needs a Tuner, otherwise it would just pick up the radio waves and not be able to do anything with them.
What is a HDTV Tuner?
A HDTV Tuner is a digital Tuner that has a chip which can decode HD TV and output that information in full 1080p. This means HD monitors or 4K TVs can benefit most from a HD Tuner.
Do USB TV Tuners Work?
Since a TV Tuner is a very small, but very specifically engineered, piece of electronics a USB stick is the perfect vessel. By bringing a mix of software and hardware to your PC, Laptop or Tablet, a HD TV Tuner USB can perform exactly the same role it would in a normal TV set.
What is DTT in Digital Tuners?
When looking at digital TV Tuners the term DTT is often used as it stands for Digital Terrestrial Television. Essentially, it is the worldwide method for Digital TV Broadcasts. Analogue TV became a thing of the past in the early 2010’s and all TV you can access now is Digital Terrestrial Television, or Satellite (Or, in recent years, Internet TV).
Do not worry if you see the term DTT on a tuner, it does not mean you won’t get DVB-T or DVB-T2 Freeview and Freeview HD, it is a different term altogether.
Why do I Need an Aerial?
A USB Tuner will have an aerial port opposite the USB port. Given that digital TV still uses transmitters and aerial receivers an aerial is needed to pick up the electromagnetic waves that carry the national broadcasts.
While the USB itself can decode and output to the PC, it needs to access that information to begin with! The aerial provides your USB TV Stick with the encoded signals it needs to decode. The TV Tuner for PC then displays Live broadcasts received by the aerial.
What Software does a USB TV Tuner use?
August USB TV sticks are provided with Next PVR Client software. This package gives you access to a web app (An app accessed through your internet browser) as well as a Client App (An app accessed through your PC).
Next PVR allows real-time viewing, recording, scheduled recording, series link, subtitles and much more all through your PC or Laptop or Tablet.
What Channels Can A Digital Tuner Receive?
In the UK, a TV receiver can get over 100 channels for free assuming you can pick up the signal with an aerial and decode it with a tuner. Freeview TV (DVB-T) is free-to-air and accessible as soon as you have set up your device.
Freeview HD (DVB-T2) signals are also broadcast nationwide, allowing a crisper and more authentic viewing experience even from a USB port.
To find out what channels a Freeview PC in your specific postcode can receive use the Official Freeview Channel Checker.
How To Tell if a Tuner is HDTV?
The two types of broadcast signal in the UK are DVB-T and DVB-T2. Your tuner, even one built into your TV, will decode one or both of these. Look on the device specifications or your user manuals and look for “DVB-T” or “DVB-T2”.
If your device tunes to DVB-T2 then that means it is HD Ready and will output the best audio-visual experience for your high-end monitors and 4K TVs.
USB TV Options
We are happy to stock August DVB-T202 and DVB-T210 devices. The DVB-T202 is an SD TV Receiver and the DVB-T210 provides a full HD experience which is perfect for a home computer connected to a large monitor. View the range below and tune in to crystal-clear Live or recorded TV from the convenience of your PC, laptop or Tablet without needing a TV or a Set Top Box!