While many laptops come with Windows Media Center, very few actually have a tuner built-in, so TV viewing is not something you’d expect to do with your PC. Now an elegant solution from Elgato makes it a reality. Watching HD programming with virtually no setup hassles is now easy to do.
The HDHomeRun is a small, inconspicuous box that mounts near your wireless network router. Connect one Ethernet cable from your wireless router to the HDHomeRun box. Connect a coax cable from your cable or satellite provider to another connector on the HDHomeRun. Finally, install the simple software to your PC and start tuning in your stations via Media Center.
I was amazed how easily it was to watch live HD content on my laptop. With a large Dell Studio 17” laptop like mine, this could easily replace a small TV set. The picture looked great. Mac users get EyeTV software so they can also watch. With the dual tuner in HDHomeRun, you could actually be watching one program on your Mac and recording another program on your PC.
One thing to be aware of however, the HDHomeRun cannot pull in encoded broadcasts, so you will not have access to every station your cable or satellite provides. In my case, I got all the local stations, the PBS channels and maybe a total of 19 stations in my remote rural location.
By going to http://www.silicondust.com/support/channels/ you’ll be able to see what digital channels are available in your area. The listing will also give you the resolution available as well as the aspect ratio for each station.
Recording a TV program is done losslessly – which means you get the full clarity of the digital broadcast for a great recording. Just make sure you have plenty of free hard drive space as TV shows can eat up large chunks of space.
Check out HDHomeRun on the Elgato website or through a variety of online or bricks and mortar retailers.