: Netbook and a USB ATSC Tuner?

2009-12-09, 12:50 PM
I was wondering if anyone has had success doing this with the current netbooks. I'm looking at a Toshiba with an N280 Atom, and GMA 950. Eventually I would like to plug a USB ATSC tuner into it and playback OTA HD broadcasts via WinTV or the sort. This will replace the little NTSC TV currently used in the kitchen.

I'm not looking for the response of "Why would you bother?", I'd like to mainly hear success or failure stories from individuals who have tried it. Either with a N270 or N280 Atom, or something similar.

Thanks in advance for anyones response.


2009-12-09, 02:39 PM
You shouldn't have an issue with recording as that is just dumping a bitstream to disk. Playback is just an issue of playing back the recorded file. Since ATSC uses the MPEG-2 codec which is not very tasking on a CPU you should have no issues. Trying to playback MPEG-4 HD files may be a different story.

2009-12-09, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the reply.

Actually I wouldn't even be recording using it, just watching the LiveTV stream, as this would just double up and replace the small kitchen TV that is currently in existence.

Other than that, it would be for simple web browsing tasks for the wife and kids (and myself). Hooking an ATSC tuner to it, and using it as a TV is just a bonus, if it works good.

2009-12-10, 10:00 AM
Most TV software for PCs actually records the stream coming from the tuner and then plays the file so you generally are always making a recording, even when watching "live TV". If you are getting a new notebook with Win7 HP then it will have Win Media Center built into it and with very minor work you can get ATSC reception to work in Canada.

I am conisdering getting a PC like the Asus eee Top for these types of purposes (i.e a kitchen PC) - similar to a netbook but in a desktop configuration with a touch screen. I just worry about not being able to play back HD video files since I would also want to use this as a client for my SageTV setup.

2009-12-10, 10:21 PM
Actually, just picked up an Acer Aspire laptop. It has a TF-20 CPU (1.6G, same as an Atom), 15" 16:9 screen, 2Gig of memory, and an HD 3200 Radeon. For a CPU the same speed as a netbook, but with a better integrated video, 1 more gig of memory and 1.5x the screen size...for $60 cheaper than the Toshiba...I'll take it for what I want to do with it.

2009-12-10, 10:34 PM
Yeah, that should be a solid machine.
I recommended it to my brother, but in the end went for an emachines. It's essentially the same laptop, just a 690g chipset instead of 780g.
It was also on clearance for like $100 less :p

It was essentially netbook, or computer that is far more capable for same price.. no brainer.

2009-12-11, 01:45 PM
That system may also be able to playback H.264 HD files.

Steve Gyurki
2009-12-11, 01:57 PM
I have an Acer Aspire - upgraded to 1.5GB RAM and bought the ATI USB tv tuner (made by Pinnacle) at Staples. It works great - when we were in Orlando last year it picked up 17 stations with just with the little antenna. I really wish we had that much digital tv around here. I recorded a newscast off analog at home and it worked fine. If I recorded often, I would invest in a good Mpeg2 to 4 converter to save hd space.


2009-12-11, 03:54 PM
What's to invest? ;)


2009-12-14, 09:29 AM
... when we were in Orlando last year it picked up 17 stations with just with the little antenna. I really wish we had that much digital tv around here.Move to Toronto and you will get even more OTA-HD channels than that!

If you had a good, tall antenna even in Woodstock you should be able to pick up channels from Erie, Cleveland, Buffalo, etc. When I aim my attic antenna in the right direction I can pick up channels from Rochester and it is about 91 miles away.

Steve Gyurki
2009-12-15, 01:10 PM
Woodstock is one of the highest places in ON at close to 1000 ft above sea level. If you can get me reliable reception from any of the US cities you mentioned, I would like to know about it. Erie (about 70+ miles), which is the closest, is a joke. Check the other forums about Rogers dropping them due to poor signals. I already have a CM4228 and preamp on the roof. The rest are pure tropo skip. As far as moving to TO - no thanks I would rather my wife accept a position at Tampa General...soon. SNOW is a 4 letter swear word in my language.


2009-12-15, 01:24 PM
Why is Erie so hard ro receive? Shouldn't high altitude help you to receive the stations? Are they low power transmitters or directional to the south? I get VERY reliable reception with Buffalo and according to TVFool I am a distance of 80+ miles to most of the transmitters.

2009-12-24, 09:20 AM
Why is Erie so hard ro receive?
Don't quite know why, but if you do a TVFool report on just Woodstock, most of the signals are 2Edge or Tropo (and I gave him a modest 40' tower). You would need something like a high gain Yagi type antenna, or an antenna with alot of gain and narrow beamwidth to get some of those stations reliably. Just my $0.02.

Have a Happy Holidays to all.

2009-12-24, 10:54 AM
Steve's Woodstock reception posts from the past are in this thread:

ON - Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Woodstock, Brantford, Haldimand (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=36535)

So we can keep this present thread just on the topic of the USB tuner <-> netbook issue. :)

2009-12-24, 11:24 AM
No offense Stampeder but who wants to jump into a 51 page thread that started 6 years ago!

2009-12-24, 12:14 PM
Finding Steve's posts in there is easy.