Q. I just moved into a tiny college dorm room, with no space for both a computer and a television. Is there any way to squeeze both functions from a single device?
A. Sure. Pay a little extra and you can add TV-watching capabilities to a new PC. Or you can buy an add-on TV tuner and install it yourself.
TV tuner cards convert an analog television signal into digital form, allowing it to be displayed on a computer monitor. Most such cards sit in one of the computer's rear expansion slots, with analog jacks for audio input and output, television cable or antenna.
Hewlett-Packard and Compaq sell desktop PCs pre-configured with TV tuners.
For the do-it-yourselfer, a plethora of TV tuner cards are available for prices running from $40-$300, depending on your needs. Unless you plan to capture and edit video, you ought to be satisfied for well under $100.
An online search of Yahoo! Shopping found two main types. The most common requires someone to open the PC case and install the tuner card in a PCI slot.
A more simple external version simply plugs in to a USB port.
Many TV tuner cards come bundled with a remote controls to allow you to change channels. Some offer FM radio tuners as well.
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