Asus My Cinema-PHC3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/RC TV Tuner ReviewPropane - October 30, 2008
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Television has been around for a long time, much longer than computers. However, it turns out that TV and computers complement each other very nicely. Who hasn't wanted to record a TV show on their computer so they could watch it later, or rewind a program to hear the punch line of a joke or see an instant replay of your favorite football team? Other people just don't have a lot of room available to them and would like to watch TV on their computer. While most computers don't come with the ability to do this, you can get an add-on card to allow you to connect a cable signal or antenna signal to your computer and tune in to any channels you have access to.
One such TV Tuner is the Asus My Cinema-PHC3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/RC (which from now on I'll simply refer to as the Asus My Cinema, even though this refers to an entire product line) which is a PCI card that can tune in FM radio as well as digital and analog TV signals. This is truly an all-in-one package, as it comes with a remote, as well as some software to make your experience complete. The software will let you tune in channels, record television, and watch TV on your Windows Vista sidebar. A final benefit that I will mention here is that the card also serves as a hardware MPEG2 encoder, releasing some of the stress off your CPU and onto the card.
The packaging that the Asus My Cinema comes in is a pretty simple rectangular cardboard box. On the front it lists several of the features and has a large picture of a man enjoying his TV tuner by watching some football and some other show at the same time, by taking advantage of the fact that the tuner can tune in both a digital and analog signal at the same time. On the back there are six pictures showing how some of the features work and providing some description.
Opening the box reveals the contents that are in the familiar molded plastic casing.
The remote that comes with the Asus My Cinema is pretty standard. On the top is a set of buttons to handle the recording and time shifting of programming. Below that is a Windows button that, by default, launches the Windows Media Center (which is compatible with the My Cinema card). Finally there is a directional pad and numerical pad, as well as a few extra buttons that will take you straight to recorded TV, the TV guide, live TV, or DVD. There is no doubt that this remote is made for use with Windows Media Center. Another included item is an IR receiver, so if your computer doesn't have one already, you won't be in too much trouble. The receiver also has the ability to output IR incase you wish to use a cable box or satellite receiver.