After my VCR died a few months back, I decided to go “digital”, and I purchased a swann dvb-t (SW112-DVB) usb tuner for my main PC.
Once I plugged it in (and installed the totalmedia software), I noticed a few problems:
- the picture/sound would sometimes stutter and jerk… sometimes it would pause for a second or two. It wasn’t too bad. I would often get a few minutes of continuous, uninterrupted TV
- My PC would occasionally freeze, so that I would need to give it a hard-reset.
After a lot of research, I discovered a few things:
- If a digital tuner has poor antenna signal quality, then the image/sound don’t develop “snow” like the analogue equivalent. What happens instead, is you get the stuttering and jerking I mentioned above.
- If the PC isn’t powerful enough, then it could freeze while trying to handle the huge amount of data arriving via a usb port (or the picture could stutter and freeze).
- What you do on the PC (even just scrolling within a browser), can affect the TV.
Since the tuner was connected to my fastest PC (a sempron 2800+ with 1.5Gb of 400Mhz RAM), then it should work fine (assuming there is no AMD/mobo compatibility issue).
I also tried it on a 800Mhz PIII with a fast video card, but the PIII struggled to maintain 1 second of continuous TV.
I then tried a 1.5Ghz celeron M laptop. It did better than the PIII, but still struggled, with many stutters per minute.
I was thinking the DVB-T tuner might be faulty, but I wanted to eliminate the signal quality as a cause (since the normal TV was quite snowy).
While waiting for the antenna guy, I noticed that the DVB-T tuner got quite warm when it was operating. Could it be overheating? I took the cover off, and was contemplating a cooling fan for the warm chip.
I eventually got the someone from MrAntenna to take a look, and he fixed a few things (replaced an analogue splitter with a digital one (to me, both splitters looked identical), and put a better quality antenna cable to the PC.
After that, the stuttering stopped, but the PC lockups started happening every few minutes…
The antenna guy recommends sending the TV turner back under warranty.
I decide to try it on one more PC: I take my workshop test PC (P4 1.7Ghz), and carry it upstairs to the “office”. And it works flawlessly over a 10 hour TV recording.
to be continued…