The reign of the conventional television receiver is coming to an end
For decades the world has been buying and watching standalone TV sets. They've faithfully entertained us and provided us with up to date information or as up to date as was possible in between the adverts. Things are now radically changing. The world you live in is very different from the world of past years, this is a world where digital communications, computers, digital TV, Satellite TV and the Internet are everywhere you look. The computer is now as common in your home as the TV set ever was and I know of many people that have more computers in their home than they have standalone television 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. You can even download movies and TV channels directly from the Internet without paying any subscriptions: Watch Free Movie and TV Online
Is a standalone TV no longer required?
Good question. Computers used to lack the processing power to provide the functionality that your TV set has. This is surprisingly no longer the case. It's surprising because in the early days, it was inconceivable that computers could ever evolve into a product with such capabilities. Today almost all, if not all, modern notebook PCs and desktops are more than capable of receiving, decoding and playing digital TV from sattelite, cable or terrestrial digital TV. While they last you can even watch analogue TV broadcasts.
How to use your PC to watch digital television
When PC TV products first became available a TV or video capture card had to be installed inside your computer box to watch television broadcasts. You were told that anyone could do it but it seemed pretty 'techy' to me. It wasn't suitable for use with notebook PC's because very few notebooks were designed for customisation. Of course notebooks were less common then and they were a lot more expensive so this wasn't such an issue.
Here come cheap powerful notebooks with USB 2 interfaces
Have you seen how powerful notebook PCs are now? Even the cheapest you can get is good enough to watch DVDs and streamed digital video. You might also be surprised when you compare the cost of a notebook PC with a good standalone TV receiver. When I bought my notebook I paid only half as much for it as I did for my TV. Desktop PCs are even cheaper. All modern PCs have fast and convenient USB 2 adapters, which is the magic that allows you to watch satellite, cable or terrestrial TV just by plugging it in.
USB 2 and satellite television
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.
You will find that there are many USB 2, solutions for receiving, decoding, streaming and watching sattelite, cable and terrestrial TV by simply plugging it into your PC. DVB is the digital TV standard to look out for. It stands for " Digital Video Broadcasting" and there are 3 versions - DVB-C, DVB-S and DVB-T for cable, satellite and terrestrial use.
What are the disadvantages to using digital television USB adapters?
Adding a USB digital TV adapter to your desktop or notebook computer can easily and cheaply turn your computer into a very nice high specification television with all the trimmings of digital storage and time shift viewing etc. If you want to receive encrypted pay for view channels then you will have to use a decoder box that is supplied specifically for the service you are subscribing to. You can of course feed the output of the external decoder box into your PC using a USB 2 analogue video adapter.
Your TV is a computer - Your computer is a TV
Computers aren't going away anytime soon and neither is digital TV and video. Computers are only going to get more powerful at the same time as they get cheaper and digital TV is capable of far more than is being used right now. It won't be too long before the standalone TV set is a thing of the past.
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