The best programs for watching TV on your computer
Windows Media Center, DVBViewer, DVB Dream, ProgDVB, MediaPortal, GB-PVR, ChrisTV PVR Professional
Windows Media Center
WMC is now included in Windows OS. It is very compatible, good looking and easy to use program. We can also find here TV program (for analog broadcast) and its recording possibility. WMC remote control works fine with no problems. Maybe there is one disadvantage of this program – WMC is not able to turn PC off when recording is finished.
DVBViewer is next very popular program. It is a professional program for digital TV playback. The cost is 15 € but it appears to be a good deal. Program allows watching coded channels from Skylink and CS Link including HDTV. Streaming is in good quality. Recording and timing is excellent.
DVBDream is suitable player for satellite and terrestrial broadcasting and designed for cable cards (DVB-S/T/C) with very simple and intuitive control. There are functions such as timeshift, multiple PIP, multiple recording and recorded files program saves into a MPEG formats. DVBDream supports LAN streams and channel sorting. We have noticed recently, that program development stagnates for a while so now we miss new functions and their support but even though we found DVBDream as a good class freeware product.
For many years is ProgDVB ranked as high-class player for digital TV broadcasting, and almost everyone who purchased a digital tuner had a chance to know it. Program supports multiple broadcasts – internet radios, internet TVs, IPTV, DVB-S, DVB-C, DVB-T and analog TVs. It is often criticized for its instability. ProgDVB is freeware, but for example HDTV watching is not supported without buying an upgrade.
MediaPortal changes your PC into the advanced multimedia centre. Program handles playing music, internet radio streaming, videos, DVDs etc. It allows you to set the schedule of recording and many more. It is an Open Source license. MediaPortal supports analog TV, DVB-T, DVB-C, DVB-S i ATSC. Skins for changing the design are available.
ChrisTV PVR Professional
At the very end we will mention about one paid alternative. This program can control your TV card. Supports cards based on BT8x8 chipset, Philips SAA713x chipset or Conexant CX2388x. Program handles timed recording from TV program and recorded files saves into the AVI or MPEG formats (WAW, MP3).