Though it seems possible, a laptop user cannot plug the cable box into the computer and expect it to play or record TV. Neither laptops nor desktops work this way, but there is a way around it. Users can purchase HD PVRs or TV tuners for their computers. These devices allow the HD set top box to connect to a laptop, which allows the ability for the user to record TV or watch it through the laptop's screen.
An HD PVR is a video recorder similar to that of the DVR. However, the difference is that this device plugs into a laptop or desktop computer. Using this device, consumers can record from their cable box to their computer's hard drive. It connects to the set top box via composite cable or S-Video.
Connecting to a Set Top Box
Consumers can set up the HD PVR by first connecting the device to the laptop via a USB cord and installing the driver software. Once complete, the consumer can then plug a set of component cables into the output audio video connection. These cables can then plug into the input on the HD PVR.
Additionally, there are two other ways to connect the HD PVR to the set top box. The device supports both composite cable and S-Video connections. Consumers can use any of the three ways to connect the set top box to a laptop for recording and watching cable TV.
Using the HD PVR
The HD PVR is very easy to use. Once the consumer connects it to the set top box, he or she can open the TotalMedia Extreme programme on the laptop. This programme installed with the driver software and controls video playback and the recording options. Before capturing video, the user needs to check to make sure the HD PVR is the source. Now the user can choose the A/V input source, which is the connection used when setting up the HD PVR, and then he or she can click Capture to start recording the video. Clicking the 'Play Video' icon starts the playback of the captured recording.
PC TV Tuner
The PC TV tuner is a device that connects to a PC to allow consumers to watch TV over their computer or use it as a DVR box. TV tuners connect by USB cord or install directly in to the slot in the back of a desktop. Consumers who want to watch TV over their laptop from a set top box need to purchase a TV tuner that has input jacks, such as the CableCARD tuner. TV tuners with this feature can connect by USB to a laptop.
Connecting the TV Tuner
The consumer can plus the TV tuner's USB cord into the slot on the laptop. He or she need to install the drivers, which usually come loaded on a CD or DVD disc. Once the user installs the drivers, he or she can connect the TV tuner to the set top box using the composite cables.
Using the TV Tuner
Using the installed software, users can watch TV on their computer and record video similarly to the HD PVR. When they attempt to record TV onto the laptop, users must make sure the source is set on the software and that the save folder is in the preferred location. Using this device is just as easy as the HD PVR, but it costs significantly less. However, the picture quality is less than devices that are more expensive.
How to Buy a Cable TV Recording Device on eBay
You can find many different types of devices that link a laptop and cable TV set top box on eBay. The two best options are PVR boxes and PC TV tuners. Between these two choices, you have many different brands and styles to choose from. Use the search bar at the top of most eBay pages to search for the device or brand you prefer. This helps you find the exact type of TV recording device you may be looking for with the just click of a button.