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How to Install a TV Tuner on Your Computer

by Paul Sanders

TV Tuner Card

Things You Need:

  • Computer
  • TV tuner card
  • Screwdriver
  • Latex gloves (optional)

If you have a high-quality computer monitor or if you've connected your computer to your HDTV, you may be wondering how you can get broadcast TV signals to display on your screen. An easy way to receive TV signals on your computer is to install a TV tuner card on your computer. These TV tuners, or "TV cards," work in the same way that a TV antenna does, receiving broadcast TV signals so your computer can read them. Here are a few simple steps to install a TV tuner card or other video card on your computer.


  1. Select a compatible TV card. TV tuner cards are made for specific expansion slots inside your computer. Find out which types of slots your computer uses by reading your computer's user manual or looking at the motherboard itself. Check to make sure your new TV tuner will fit into one of the slots available.

  2. Read the installation instructions and safety materials that came with your TV tuner card. Install the software for your TV tuner if the instructions require that before you install the TV tuner card. Always follow all safety instructions when working with electrical components and electricity. Protect yourself and the equipment you've invested in by following all safety and handling instructions.

  3. Prepare your computer. Unplug the computer and all peripheral devices, like your mouse and keyboard. If possible, work on your computer in a non-carpeted area to reduce static electricity, which can damage your TV tuner or other components. Remove the computer cover and set it aside. If dust has accumulated inside your computer, clean it out using compressed air.

  4. Locate a free expansion slot for your TV tuner card. These are the same slots described in Step 1. Carefully remove the TV tuner card from its packaging. Always grip the TV tuner card by the edges because touching the sides may damage the card or discharge static electricity. Firmly but gently, place the card's connection side into the expansion slot and push down until it is firmly in place.

  5. Test the TV tuner. Replace the computer cover and reconnect all peripheral devices and power cords. Turn the computer on and follow the TV tuner instructions to install its software, unless you already have. Follow the tuner instructions for testing and using your TV tuner. You have now installed your TV tuner card.


  1. In 2009, all broadcast TV signals were switched to digital. If you want to be able to receive digital TV signals, make sure your TV tuner card has that capability.

  2. If you are plugging your TV tuner into an HDTV, you may want to use an HDMI cable to carry the high-definition digital signal to your TV; otherwise, the TV picture will only be in standard definition.

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