Freeview TV on the Computer

I have to say that I’m very pleased with the new USB Freeview Tuner which I brought on the Internet (from Maplin) this week – it arrived in the post yesterday.

In my room I already have a Freeview TV, but not way of recording it; the USB tuner sorts that out for me.

This year, as I now have a laptop of my own, I’ll be leaving my desktop PC at home, and this also means I won’t be able to have my freeview box in Cheltenham (it plugs in via SCART to my PC monitor). So the USB tuner also sorts that – as I’ll be able to watch freeview TV on my laptop in my room in Cheltenham.

I quite often have the BBC News channel at home; I’ve got it running now (on mute) on my laptop whilst I’m typing this blog using my desktop PC!

I think its quite good being able to watch Freeview TV on my laptop; but I would say that the software that comes with it is a bit rubbish, so I prefer to use Windows Media Center which is installed on my laptop.

Using Windows Media Center, I can use they keyboard to bring up the Electonic Programme Guide and change channel.


There’s a full screen guide as well, which is extremely handy.

TV Guide

Or, I can change channel by typing the channel number in to the keypad, which is quite useful (the software that comes with the USB stick doesn’t pick up the channel numbers, or even the order that they’re in)!

Changing Channel

I can pause and rewind live TV as well – I can go back to where I started watching from if I tune in half way through a programme, or to the start of the current programme if I’ve been tuned in for longer. That’ll be useful for when I’m watching TV in the evening when Dad tells me that dinner’s ready!

But my favourite feature: As the USB stick has 2 tuners, I can watch one thing while recording another – or simultaniously record 2 things at once –  I did last night with Dr. Who on BBC 1 and Dad’s Army on BBC 2!

I can then burn them straight to DVD, which I’ve already done with last night’s Dr. Who. I think this feature will be particularly useful for commercial channels – I personally find that ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 are nowhere near as good as the BBC iPlayer, and there’s no way of downloading them either; our Wii games console also can only get the iPlayer. So unlike BBC shows, if I miss a show on a commercial channel, I very rarely get the chance to watch it via catch up services! I’ve already programmed my laptop to record the new series of Downton Abbey on ITV 1 tonight.

Scheduled Recording - Downton Abbey

I think this USB Freeview Tuner will be quite a useful tool, particularly when I move in to my new room in Cheltenham next week. I’m looking forward to being able to record some of the excellent documentaries BBC 4 does each night!


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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