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AVerMedia USB and Cardbus TV Tuners
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: AVerMedia
Source: AVerMedia
Purchase: PriceGrabber
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 4 of 9 [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ]
AVerMedia USB and Cardbus TV Tuners
March 14, 2006

Installation and Operation:

The installation is quite simple. Insert the card into an available PCMCIA slot and the CD-ROM into your drive, and wait for Windows to recognize the device. Then follow the prompts on screen and guide it to install the software from the disc. The whole process took less than a minute and it was ready for use.

The test installation was completed on a notebook computer with the following specifications:

Dell Inspiron 4150 notebook computer
2.0 GHz Intel Pentium M processor
1024 MB (2x 512 MB) DDR memory
120 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.2 hard drive
DVD/CDRW combination drive
Windows XP Home (SP2)

The images below show the TV tuner installed on the system described above. The styling fits well, and although it does project out a couple inches, you really can't expect much better. Considering the size of a typical PCI or USB TV tuner, I'd say the cardbus version is quite compact.

Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View

While the tuner card is powered up, a faint blue LED glows just below the surface of the black plastic casing (visible in the above right image near the interface with the notebook computer).

With the installation completed using the software provided on the CD-ROM I began investigating all of the features available. I quickly discovered an issue which puzzled me for a few minutes. I was only able to receive channels via "antenna", and not a single cable TV channel would tune in, despite the tuner being connected to service which should have provided around 75 channels.

As I mentioned earlier, the age of the CD-ROM was in question given the presence of Acrobat 5.1, so I went to the AVerMedia site and downloaded new drivers and application software. After a few minutes of un-installing and re-installing I was back up and running, and now had full access to the cable TV channels I was looking for. Would be buyers should keep this in mind and skip the unnecessary step of using the CD-ROM provided as it is definitely out of date.

The screenshot below takes a look at the basic user interface.

Click Image For Larger View

All of the features are available either on the buttons shown or within one or two clicks on the menus that can be popped up from the buttons shown above. The layout is familiar, as many tuners use a similar design, but the styling and little nuances make the AverTV interface quite easy to use. For those interested in having the program better match their desktop (or at least their personal tastes), there are a few skins available to customize the look.

It was at this point that I realized one thing missing from this TV tuner that I believe I have received with every other one I have ever used. I was clicking through channels with my mouse / keyboard when it struck me... There was no remote control! I have owned a couple USB tuners, and at least a half dozen PCI tuners, and this was definitely the first one where you couldn't kick back and control the action from a remote control. Although I would have liked a remote control, I can definitely think of a few reasons for one to not being included...

One reason is that being for a notebook computer, you may not want any extra items to carry around. Packing a notebook bag can be tricky, and adding a remote control to the mix would just require one more pocket. Another reason might be that with a notebook computer you are generally sitting close to the system, and might not ever be 'remote' enough to actually require a remote control. The final reason I can think of for not including a remote control is price. If you can save a significant amount of money by taking this route, it might make the product more appealing. With a price tag under $70 (US), the lack of a remote control may be a key reason for such a competitive price.

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