Pace – TV & Radio Card review

home entertainment for the PC
Photo of Pace – TV & Radio Card
£99

“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours”, apparently. But you can’t get your daily dose if you’re stuck in front of a computer all day. Luckily, TV-PC integration works both ways. With set-top boxes the TV can do PC-type things, but with a card like this your PC can pretend to be a TV. The Pace TV & Radio Card picks up FM radio broadcasts and can display terrestrial, cable or satellite television broadcasts too (you’ll need the relevant decoders for the latter two, of course).

All the necessary electronics are contained on a single PCI card, with a cable provided for connection to a sound card. Software installation is easy, after which you’re ready to start watching television or listening to the radio. Initially a channel scan will be performed, after which the main screen appears. From here you can select, delete and rename channels, capture a video sequence, change the screen size – up to full-screen – and alter the volume. The picture and sound quality are pretty good (NICAM sound is possible in some cases), but you’ll need to have a decent aerial or be living near a transmitter in order to get the best out of this card’s television reception features.

Although the TV & Radio card has obvious time-wasting entertainment value, there are practical applications too. The card provides fast access to Teletext – and in fact Teletext pages can be embedded ‘live’ in Windows applications – so that you can quickly access the latest news, share prices and so on. The radio, meanwhile, allows you to hear news and travel bulletins on a regular basis. It is also possible to display and capture Camcorder, S-VHS or composite video playback via one of the connectors on the rear of the card.

Company: Pace

Contact: 0990 561001


Verdict
Watching television on your PC is not quite as relaxing as lounging on your sofa and staring at the goggle-box in the corner. But if you really need a regular television or radio fix, whether for business or for pleasure, this is a relatively inexpensive means of getting it while you're working.