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If you want to watch digital television, one of the way to do this is use your PC. There are three main options, starting at around only 20.
Option 1: USB box
If you have a laptop computer, or do not wish to take your computer apart to fit a card into it, the most straightforward way is to use a USB box.
Once you have purchased the box, you first need to install some software on your computer. This will come on the CD with your USB package, or you can download the latest software from the company's web site. As a general rule, the on-line software will be a more up-to-date version.
You then plug the box into your roof-mounted aerial connection, and attach the USB cable to one of the USB ports on your computer. If you have USB 2 ports you should use these to get the best possible results.
Now start the "Digital TV" software. The first time you use it, you will need to scan for the Freeview channels. This can take several minutes (a lot longer than a Freeview set-top box).
Once this has completed, you will be able to select from the Freeview channels that are available in your area.
The software that comes with these boxes has two drawbacks: the channel numbers are not the standard Freeview ones (in the example, BBC News 24 is on channel 2 rather than channel 80), and there are no interactive services. This means you cannot view BBC Parliament at all, or have the graphical screens when listening to the radio channels.
On the plus side, these boxes do support the full 14 day Freeview programme guide. You can use you PC as a PVR (personal video recorder) as the software will record the Freeview transmission and save them as MPEG-2 (.mpg) files.
Option 2: PCI card
Another option is to use a PCI card. This will keep the equipment within your PC, but does require the confidence to open up your PC.
To install a PCI card you MUST first ensure that your computer is unplugged from the mains. It is not enough to switch it off using the button on the front; you must ensure that it is disconnected from the mains.
Locate a free PCI slot - you will need a screwdriver to remove any blanking plate.
You must ensure that after seating the card firmly in the slot that your digital TV card is securely fastened into the slot. The thick television aerial cables are sturdy and can easily rip out a card that is not firmly fixed.
Once you have replaced the case of the computer, you can then attach the aerial connection to the appropriate connection.
The software installation and operation of the digital television software is otherwise identical to a USB box.
Option 3: Media Center
Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 has full personal video recorder support, and if you have this version of Windows you do not need to install any software, just one or two PCI cards.
One requirement is that you must have installed some DVD playing software before you can watch the programmes.
The set-up is slightly more complicated than the above, but this results in a easy-to-use programme guide and sophisticated recording facilities.
Another advantage of using the Media Center software is that all your recorded TV can be watched by any other PC connected to your home network and by any Xbox 360 you may have.
There is now full support for the Freeview digital radio channels, but there are no red button text facilities. However, there is a full BBC News player in Media Center's Online Services menu.
I have PC television working well on a Media Center (XP version) laptop with a small DVB-T stick tuner. The local transmitter is Crystal Palace. However, I see that Media Center lists the Freeview digital channels with some anomalies. This doesn't affect the performance, but I'm very curious about them.
First, all the radio channels which are normally in the 700s are shown as being in the 800s -- for example, BBC Radio 2 is 802.
Secondly, the Mux frequencies shown on Media Center's "Edit Channels" list are not those given on your site. Media Center has BBC2 on Channel 2 at 505MHz. Your page "Freeview on the Crystal Palace transmitter" says 506MHz. MC does list a BBC2 at 506MHz, but it's at Channel 62 -- not one I can receive. All the Muxes have similar duplicate versions at unfamiliar channels numbers. Mux C is particularly odd as both instances are described as being at 578MHz, but I can only receive channels on one set. Example: Sky News on both 82 and 187.
What's going on here? A mistake by Microsoft (or whoever provides the listings), or are there really alternative multiplex transmissions not documented by you?
Ok, I am confused. I have Vista Home Premium and after playing around with it I can receive BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, C4 and C5. Unfortunately all of the channels apart from C4 are a bit grainy. My signal is coming down a standard co-ax from the wall socket.
The co-ax works fine with any TV, and with my Freeviewbox when connected to a TV.
So, if I want to watch Freeview channels on Vista..what do I need and will I get better picturequality?
Hope you can help, and thanks.
I've been using the usb dongle and blaze dtv software on my old laptop with xp with no problem, but just upgraded the laptop and now using Vista. To get program to run I did have to alter the program to run in Windows XP compatibility mode. I link the dongle to my outside aerial which pulls in over 60 tv and radio channels.
Hi, i bought a freeview usb device from ebay with blaze software, after sucessfully installing driver, directx and HDTV software when i scan i find channels and its name, sometime 6 and sometime 30 depends where i put the small aerial (also tried with large plug-in power aerial same thing happens). The problem lies when i play the channels, none of them works, i cant hear the sound or see the pictures, aerial and quality are on max, it shows time and programme name in green colour but there is no picture it has blank black screen and when i put volume to max it only gives noise. I tried it in my brother's room and i get perfect picture quality and very good sound (his PC is new about 3 months old while mine is over 5 yrs old i checked the requirement and it SEEMS to be fine. Please help me, thank you
Im having problems with your usb hd tv, have tried it with windows xp and have no problems. With windows vista having lots of problems with pc crashing driver isue a conflict with your drivers wich does not support most chipset and most new motherboards.
I have a USB Blaze video TV stick Model A05/A05+ Ver 7.1C. It works great on my Fujitsu Laptop. On my Samsung V25 the picture is jerky. The The video card on the Samsung is Intel 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV graphics controller.
Memory range 88000000-8FFFFFF and *0000000-8007FFF.
Hi. I have a DVB-T tuner in my PC and i have been reciveing all channels great!...but i decided to redo the media center setup from the start. since then wheneva i do a scan for channelz it only picks up the bbc channelz, itv2+1, tcm, and the radio channnels etc. there is not itv, 4, 5, itv2...it never finds it!...it iss connected to my rooftop aerial!...i dnt no hw i cnt get all the channels backk...plzz helpp! thnxx
Briantist: The transmitter is Crystal Palace but I also just tried Unmapped but i still have the same problem. i receive 35 channelz. Mainly being BBC and the radio ones. Anything else i cud try?.... cheerz
Briantist: Yh theire the ones i dont get. ill give a booster a go. i duno what it is but ill find out. buh still confused on how it use to work completely fine before.....thnx 4 the help. ill give it a go.
I posted a query above about why Media Center's channels list shows different Mux frequencies from those officially published. Since then I have learnt a bit about Frequency Offsets, where some UK transmitters make an adjustment of either +167kHz or -167kHz. That would seem to be the explanation.
Apparently the new Vista version of Media Center deals with these offsets in a different way from before, and this is causing problems for many DVB-T tuners that worked fine with the Windows XP Media Center. Even if the tuners and their drivers are certified as "working with Vista" they can still fail -- seems they have to be additionally certified as working with Vista Media Center.
Briantist. Re 16th August posting. Thanks for the speedy reply. This is a great site. I installed the Codec program and it is still jerky in picture and sound. I checked that the insatlled program is in the start up. I am on XP with SP2
Regards. Ed Brumby
Ed Brum: As your device is USB, you need to also ensure that it is in a USB 1.1 or preferably USB 2.0 slot (USB 1.0 is too slow) and that it is not sharing a "USB controller". To do this, click start, then RIGHT click on "My Computer" and select "Manage". When "Computer Management" appears, click on "Device Manager" in the left hand side, and then select "View" and then "...devices by connection". You can work out which is the best USB port to use.
Briantist. This is fairly new territory for me. I have three USB Universal Host Controllers 24C", 24C4 and 24C& all under one + sign. On a seperate + sign i have a USB2 Enhanced Host Controller. Using the top USB slot of my laptop, the tv device works but is jerky. If I disable the first of the three Contollers, the device stops working.
I tried a memory stick in the top slot. It chooses to use the USB2 controller. Same result in bottom slot.
The TV device will not work in the bottom slot. There is not even a power LED on it.
Hope this helps.
I may have forgotten to put my email address on the last message. My message is the last on p5 6 days ago. Have there been postings since then. I may be doing something wrong as I can't se any replies
Ed Brumby: Sorry for not replying.. it could be a problem with the signal level to the USB device, or perhaps a problem with the USB device, or a problem with the MPEG-2 decoder. Can you check the CPU load in the "Task Manager" - press Crtl+Alt+Delete and select "Task manager" and see what the CPU load is like when you use the program. Any chance you could test it in another computer?
No problem on the delay. It uses abou 85% and did peak to 100%. Oddly enough it doesn't jitter as much today! My previous emails showed that it worked fine in my other laptop. Anything else I can try. I appreciate your help. Thanks
I have a DVB-t USB dongle (from e-bay) made by afatech (I think) and it and blaze installed fine on my XP desktop. I tried to install Blaze 2.5a and the driver on Vista Home Premium and I get a message on blaze about no link between these two pins or something like that. Also media center refuses to recognise the USB dongle.
Any suggestions? I installed the vista driver and it all looks OK.
Steve: You shouldn't install the Blaze SOFTWARE with VIsta, just install the driver and start Media Center. Then goto settings and set up the TV from there. If you have a Vista Remote, just press the "LIVE TV" button, if you don't have a remote, do this..
Brian, thanks for the info but I've tried this and media center doesn't recognise the USB, in fact it states it can't find a TV card or words to that effect. I did manage to find the driver I have on afatech's website and this states the driver doesn't work with media center so I guess I'm stuck.
Works OK on my XP PC so it's not been a total waste. I was just hoping to have it on my laptop so I could get freeview when on holidays in the UK.
Brian, thanks I'll try that tonight. Thought it might be related to my laptop but the spec. should be high enough (128M dedicated video memory with up to 800+M, 2G ddr2 ram and AMD turion 64x2 processor). I'll give the driver from this site a go and let you know how I get on. Thanks again.
I have a 60cm sat dish. We use it to receive Hotbird signals. My question is; How can we watch freewiew with the same dish? we are quite skint and we will be like that for a little while as we are putting our house together, so we cannot afford a skybox.
please help i purchased a usb dongle with blaze hdtv 2.5.tried supplied ariel and coax adapter no channels or signal found.comes up with 100% strength and 0% quality with or without ariels connected to dongle.can get freeview through ariel through set top box.its it correct led only lights up when signal found going insane here please help!
im running windows xp ive installed all the drivers off mini cd af9005bda driver,oem set up,blade dtv2.5a set up.
i have rebooted many times also try it on my friwnds laptop xp as well.does not detect any channels or display them.
i think its a dud.
Brian, I downloaded the drivers form the site you mentioned, pointed vista to the folder that contained them and it completely ignored them and pointed me back to amatech to load the drivers from there. They don't work (although it does say it's a BDA driver). I think I'll give up on the laptop until I find one that is definintely working on Vista. It all works fine on XP so I can use it on my (quite old) desktop.
Mark Tyrrell Frank Sunday 23 September 2007 9:33AM
I have Vista Media Center working nicely with Freeview. But I want to record licensed programmes (e.g. rugby) on DVD not hard disk. Is there any way to do this? E.g. by using different/additional software. I don't want to make multiple copies or anything - I simply want the programmes on DVD so I can keep them indefinitely and play them on my DVD player (which is in another house).
Hi, I bought DVB-T Digital Freeview TV-Tuner USB 2.0 stick (with Blaze HDTV V.2.5a) from Gazgadgets on ebay. They claimed that to be working with Vista. When i installed the CD on my Toshiba vista Home Premium Laptop it did not installed driver and show error message 'Driver system requirements: Windows 2000 service pack 4 or XP s.p.2'.Blaze HDTV software also aborted. I downloaded DVBTusbdonglevistasoftware.zip as per advice on this site and installed BDA driver AF9005 126.96.36.199 as well as Blaze HDTV 2.5a. It seems to be installed well. But my Problem is when i am starting Blaze HDTV (or scanning channes) it is just starting my laptops inbuilt webcam nothing else. In my area freeview reception is good.I found out from Blaze HDTV's options panel following.On DTV tab, DTV source, under Device it is blank(it should show here tuner model).properties and scan button are disabled. Under Analog Tv tab,video,device,analogtv:Usb video device, source (TV)is disabled. Under Audio tab ,device (Realtek High Def) is disabled, source (Master Volume) is disabled. Can anyone would be of a great help working this on my Laptop please.......? I would really appreciate the help... Thanks in anticipation...