TV tuner for PC

Are they total crap? Are there software packages (preferably in the free to $50 range) which are equivalent in ease-of-use and flexibility as what a Tivo uses? What do I need to be aware of before making any purchases?

Since I work evenings, I want my computer to record tv shows I would otherwise miss. This way I can watch them immediately after getting home, instead of finding a torrent and watching them the next day. I only have PCI slots or USB ports available, so this may or may not be a problem for recording HD shows.

I used an All-in-Wonder card coupled with SnapStream for about a year before moving to Tivo.

One thing to keep in mind is that in addition to the $50 tv card, unless you’re running Media Edition you’ll probably need to shell out the $70 or so for a product like SnapStream. I’m not sure how SnapStream or PCI Tuner Cards handle HD content–I think I remember reading that you’d have to go from the Cable box to the tuner card.

I was fairly happy with SnapStream. The big reason we moved to Tivo was recording two shows at once, and since I’d record stuff for my wife, burning it to DVD so she sould watch it on the TV was a pain in the ass.

If you really want a Tivo replacement, you’ll have to dedicate a PC.

pcHDTV handles HDTV over-the-air or ATSC and is $179; the software for it (MythTV) is free.