By Terry Currier
Watching TV on the computer saves time. You save about 15 minutes skipping through the commercials for each hour show (except the funny ones, those I watch.) But, if you don’t like the thought of having to open up the PC to put in a TV card, take a look at the USB units. AverMedia makes the UltraTV USB 300, which is not only external it is compact and easy to fit just about anywhere. The unit is 3.6 inches in length, 3.48 inches in width, and less than an inch in height (0.69".) Palm sized and it even weighs less than a pound if you want to carry it with you on travels. So what can you get with such a compact TV unit? AVerMedia has been making TV cards and external units for a number of years, they know what they are doing.
First off it is easy to hook up. They have a connector to put on the coaxial cable which you plug into the unit. Plug in the USB connector they give (one end is small which goes to the UltraTV unit.) The worst I could say about the UltraTV USB 300 is the audio connection needs a separate cable. The video gets transmitted over the USB cable, but not the audio. So I could hook it to my desktop computer and record with no problem. My notebook on the other hand has no input jack. I could watch and hear the TV (with separate speakers), but if I want to record something through it I would not be able to save the audio portion. Some notebooks do have audio input ability, mine does not.
The AverMedia UltraTV has a built-in Tuner with full PVR features. It allows me to watch, record, pause, and rewind live TV. So I’m never Desperate, that I Lost, any show I Idolized. AVerMedia includes V-Sharp De-Interlace technology so the image is very good. One of my favorite things is the 16 channel TV preview. It shows what is on 16 TV stations and rotates them (through all available stations) until I select the one I want stay with.
The UltraTV USB 300 also has video and audio input jacks so you can import those old unreliable VHS tapes and put them on more dependable DVDs. There is also a S-Video input jack if you have that. AVerMedia includes easy to use MovieFactory 2SE and VideoStudio 7SE DVD editing software from Ulead and InterVideo. You can also use them to save the shows you want on to DVDs – editing out commercials or anything you don’t want.
Cost $91 at Amazon.com
WINNERS is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/