DVICO has releaed a new HDTV tuner FusionHDTV5 USB Gold.
Unlike the internal PCI HDTV tuner card, it is a very small external box connecting to PC through the USB 2.0 port. It gets power from the USB 2.0 port too. So no extra power adapter needed. It is a highly portable (the smallest in the world so far) HDTV tuner which is idea for the laptop.
I bought one recently and got some experiences:
1. It is high quanlity made. The small box looks very nice,
2. Installation is very easy. DVICO has released a ALL-IN-ONE driver FusionHDTV Official version 3.2 (2005-12-07) in its website http://www.fusionhdtv.co.kr/Eng/Download/Software.aspx
It contains both PCI card and USB driver. It is very easy to use too.
3. Near Kenndey subway station (Scarborough), Toronto, with a outdoor antenna, I got these OTA digital channels:
D43-3 Think B
D53-1 CITY HD
All these channels have over 70% - 100% signal strength.
It works on cable channel too. I got over 50 watchable digital channels from Rogers cable. Unfortunately they are all 480i programs (that's why they are free I guess).
Ofcource it can receive the analog channels and works very well.
My suggestion is use a very good outdoor antenna to get the OTA digital channels. With a indoor antenna, in my place, there are only two channels can be received. It is worth to invest over $100 on a top lever antenna like DB8.
4. The recording is incredible. You can record the original transport stream (.tp) and native mpeg format (.mpg). The difference between them is the .tp file contains all sub channels --- for example, D23-1 WIVB-HD and D23-3 WNLO-SD, because they are all channel D23, so when you chose recording them as original transport stream, you'll get both of them in one .tp file!
And also there is an option to let you chose recording current sub channel only.
Native mpeg format in the other hand, contains only current channel's mpge2 data format with original transport rate.
Both of these two recording options will let you can keep the original quanlity!
It also has a utility program can convert these original file to DVD or Dixv format.
5. On no good side, first I think it should has two RF input connectors, one for antenna and one for cable. Otherwise you have to switch them all the time. It's not convenient.
Second, unlike DVICO's PCI tuner, this USB tuner uses Conexant's CX25843 A/V decode chip other than CX28832 + LG's 4th or 5th VSB decode chip. I doubt this CX25843 chip is better? I can not compare them. Any comment on this?
6. Over all, it is a very good HDTV tuner for the laptop. The price is $149, cheaper than On Air USB tuner ($249).