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Freeview on PC - internal or external


Established Member
I want to get freeview on my home network and the advice here seems to be 'get a nebula digitv'. Fair enough. But I can't decide whether to get an internal pci card or a usb box. I already have a Humax PVR for general viewing. I want this for burning stuff to keep on DVD. It will also allow me to record or view 2 different things simultaneously.

I have a wireless network made up of a desktop PC, P3 800mhz with two 80GB hard drives on it. I also have a six-month-old Sony Viao laptop, only 60GB but there's usually 20-30GB free so enough space for an hour or two on it. The old desktop doesn't have a monitor, when I want it I remote control it from the laptop.

The tidiest solution is to get a PCI card and stick it in the desktop. This also has the added advantage of having a lot more drivespace for capturing. However is it a quick enough pc to run the card? The USB box is a less tidy option but more flexible, in terms of I can use it on either PC. Both can burn dvd's so thats not an issue.

Basically I am hoping someone can help me make my mind up, how is the card going to work on the slower desktop, is it going to drop frames or not cope in some other way? If thats the case my decision is made. Or are there any other factors I need to consider?
Wow, pretty old spec machine, stick with PCI, USB will slow your machine down alot....does it even support USb2 the PC I mean, your laptop prolly does so you can get a USB2 freeview tuner for that....


Established Member
I don't really want to put an external box on the laptop in any case, it's a very untidy solution and there isn't the same spare drive capacity.

My question really was 'can the desktop handle the pci version', it's the minimum spec according to the nebula site but in my experience the minimum spec quoted is sometimes a little lower than the spec you need to actually get any use out of it. If anyone actually had experience of running one in a low spec machine I'd welcome their comments.

I've thought about uprating the PC for just this purpose but couldn't really justify the total cost for the amount I would actually use it.


Distinguished Member
The nebula does't use a lot of resources for playback and hardly any at all for recording in the background. I used one on a P3 1.03Ghz machine so I doubt you'll have any problems.

The USB model supposedly has a more robust tuner and suffers less interference and breakup compared with the PCI. This might have something to do with it being located outside the PC case though. The PCI version also has an analogue composite input which works and has supposedly been improved in thelates version of the digiTV software but no-one uses it and a 10quid svideo capture card will give you better quality anyway. It does work with dscaler though.

The USB version doesn't have the composite input stage.

I have the PCI version ( one of the older full height models) and its worked brilliantly for years.

I also have a new USB slave unit for dual tuner duties and it seems to either be very fussy about the quality of the USB bus or it can't handle channel 5 from crystal palace ( I suspect the latter).

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