What’s The Deal With TV Tuners in Netbooks?

by Jay Bika on January 16, 2009 · 6 comments

in Opinion

Recently, I have reading about some netbooks that have a TV tuner. My obvious question was to ask myself: ‘Who the hell is going to watch TV on netbooks?’ I immediately realized that I was talking about me since I really don’t watch television and if I did, it would not be on my computer.

But I thought about those who live in developing nations who may use the netbook as a computer and a TV. In developing nations, most TV stations are free (unlike in the US or Canada where you can’t watch anything decent without having cable) so netbook owners in such countries may want to tune in. I would imagine that a university student who wants to take a break in his or her dorm could watch a sports match or TV drama mid-paper.

Do you find yourself needing a TV tuner on your netbook or laptop such as the Asus 280?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ravi January 5, 2010 at 12:58 am

Actually, it is all the other way round.

I live in the US. I don’t have cable. I watch ATSC (HD) broadcasts on my PC. After watching TV on a PC (1080p display), I can’t go back. The convenience and quickness of browsing programs, skipping ads with a mouse and going back to a scene I missed/want to rewatch is very hard to beat compared to a remote (with DVR). Selecting programs to record with a mouse and keyboard is faster too (GB-PVR). I have a PC remote (StreamZap) but don’t use it. I am a student like you say. But I can certainly afford a good TV and have enough room for it. I just don’t need it.

I like watching some programs before going to bed. If I had a Netbook and if it could manage digital broadcasts (The current processors are too slow. My dual cores peg at 50% without hardware acceleration), I would be eager to consider it. Perhaps, the upcoming iSlate or some other tablet will have the better touch interface (touch pads and keyboards are annoying in bed) and enough power to support a tuner card.

As far as developing nations, I can speak for India. In India, every one in my place has cable TV. There used to be only a couple of channels on air and the reception is poor. There were about 60 to 80 channels on cable and cost less than $4 per month in my town. Even those with modest means could afford cable. Those in huts huddle at neighbors TV. For my punctuated viewing, $50 a month is too much for cable in US.

Apart from a tuner card on display in a store, I had never seen or heard of anyone using it in India. TVs are everywhere. PCs are not. And when available, they are considered work tools, not for entertainment. The students play games but rarely have good graphics cards.

2 Jay Bika January 5, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Hmm, had never really looked at things that way!

Thanks for that perspective!

3 john August 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Dumb question, obviously anyone that wants to. That’s who.

4 victor October 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm

hay smart ass john the dumbmist question is the one not ask what gives you the right to call people dum. looks like u have problmes

5 victor October 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

hey smart ass john, dont u know that the dumist question is the one not asked

6 M Mason November 27, 2010 at 5:58 am

In the US as you say you have to pay to get decent TV. Strangely, you think of the US as being a “developed nation” in this respect rather than a backward one. In Europe there are scores of channels like the BBC showing drama, comedy, opera, sports, etc for free. Watching such channels on a netbook or tablet on your travels or in bed or in the garden is a pleasure and often a great convenience. You can carry a tablet from the kitchen to the bedroom to the bathroom without missing a syllable of your favourite soap opera. I watch TV on my laptop at present but am looking forward to getting the Dell Inspiron Duo with its 720p video.

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