Satellite TV Trends - Watch Digital TV on Your PC

Who needs a TV receiver anyway?
Ever since the 1930s we have purchased and used standalone TV sets for entertainment and up to date information but now things are changing. We live in a world that is very different from what it was only a few years ago, a world where digital TV, Satellite TV, computers and the Internet are all around us. Today the computer is as common in the home as the TV set is. I know of many households that actually have more computers than they have TV sets.

Computers are now used routinely for research and information gathering. This used to be done to an extent, by television current affairs and news programmes. Informational TV programmes haven't stopped but they are relied on a lot less than they used to be. It's so much easier to use the Internet now especially when you need information immediately.

Is a standalone TV no longer required?
The home computer revolution has crept up on us almost without notice and it might come as a big surprise to you to find that your computer is now capable of doing everything that your TV set can do and a lot more. It wasn't so long ago that to have the kind of processing power needed to decode and play full motion digital video from sources such as sattelite, cable and terrestrial broadcasts, not to mention DVD, would have been unthinkable. When you sit down and think about it you might want to consider buying a PC the next time you go shopping for a TV set.

How to use your PC to watch digital television.
Not very long ago in the early days of PC TV it was necessary to install a TV capture card inside your computer in order to watch television broadcasts without using a standalone television. This was not a difficult task but it wasn't simple or elegant either. It also made it unsuitable for use with notebook PC's which limited the appeal somewhat. Notebooks were also less common and more expensive a few years ago so there was no incentive to develop such systems.

Affordable, powerful and cheap notebooks with USB 2 arrived.
At the time of writing, the cost of a conservatively powered, but "powerful enough", notebook is comparable to the cost of a good TV set. In fact I paid half as much for my last notebook as I did for my TV set. They all support USB 2 interfaces and are fast enough to accept a digital video stream in real time. With this combination your notebook PC or your desktop PC is well able to perform as well if not better than your average TV set.

USB satellite TV.
The USB 2 standard PC interface is one of the best advances in computer technology for a long time. It's versatile and fast enough to cope with a variety of different applications including streamed real time digital video. Manufacturers of computer peripherals have jumped on this opportunity to bring you a mountain of products that enhance your computer by simply plugging them into the USB socket.

There are now plenty of USB 2, plug in solutions for receiving, decoding and watching sattelite, cable and terrestrial TV. The standard for digital television is DVB which stands for " Digital Video Broadcasting". There are 3 versions of DVB to look out for DVB-T, DVB-C and DVB-S for terrestrial, cable and satellite use.

What are the disadvantages to using digital television USB adapters?
Adding a digital television adapter to your PC to watch free-to-air broadcasts is a great idea but if you want to subscribe to any encrypted pay-for-view channels such as Sky in the UK you may be unlucky. At the time of writing the only way to watch these channels is through a set top box designed for the service.
The future is digital television and computers

As computers become more and more like TV's the need for a standalone TV set will diminish and ultimately vanish. I don't know when this will happen but it might be sooner than you think.

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