Thanks to the steady roll-out of Freeview HD, free-to-air high definition TV broadcasts are slowly creeping across the UK. If you fancy funneling those HD broadcasts through your rooftop aerial and into your Media Center PC, then TBS6284 PCIe DVB T2 Quad Tuner TV card should go automatically to the top of your list. It’s the first quad-tuner Freeview HD card to hit the market.
The TBS6284 really is the grand-daddy of DVB-T/T2 cards! It’s a DVB-T/T2 PCI Express card with 4 tuners allowing you capture from four different Freeview channels from four different frequencies simultaneously. At $228USD the price is right. That’s about $57 per tuner – considerably cheaper than buying 4 separate DVB T2 cards and much more convenient.TBS also supplies half- and full-height PCI brackets, allowing theTBS6284 to squeeze into small form factor media PCs. One of the selling points is TBS6284 is the only Freeview HD tuner cardswhich offers both window& Linux drivers supporting. It might be great news for Linux users. It is ideal cards for building HTPC in a big family. The girls and boys would never fight again for scrambling their favorite channels.
Luckily, there’s a bundled package of software so that we needn’t have to download drivers from TBS’ site. After installing the drivers, installing the TBS6284 is as simple as slotting it into a spare PCI Express slots. A single aerial input feeds for all tuners, and Windows 7 Media Center’s setup pages take a few minutes to scan for all the available Freeview SD and Freeview HD channels.
Signal quality from our nearest transmitter (Crystal Palace) was strong and glitch-free. We had no problems recording four HD programs simultaneously – CPU usage on our elderly 2GHz Core 2 Duo systems barely edged into double figures – and both the1080P HD images and 5.1 surround sound of the Freeview HD channels were impressive. By comparison, Freeview’s standard definition broadcasts look and sound distinctly rough around the edges.
With only one quad DVB-T2 tuners currently on the market, TBS6284 is good choice of those looking to add Freeview HD broadcasts to their Media Center PC or MythTV. As TBS6284 is the only card to boast four DVB-T2 tuners, it currently stands in a league of its own. Those wanting a simple plug-and-play option will be better served by Hauppauge’s single-tuner USB stick, but TBS6284