Using the PC as a TV tuner can easily be achieved by purchasing a hardware component. This dedicated hardware component, simply called TV tuner, can be connected to the motherboard and allows access to the TV directly from your Windows computer or notebook.
The TV cable must be connected to the hardware card of the TV tuner and through a special software app, you can then view your favorite TV programs on the PC. Well, with the Windows 10 system, things are not as simple as they used to be, and you'll see why in a few seconds.
Upgrading to Windows 10 has its advantages, although we could also discuss the dedicated features that were included in previous Windows builds and are missing from the Windows 10 platform. And perhaps the most important program that was deleted from the new Windows firmware is Windows Media Center.
Windows Media Center was mainly used for streaming TV content or for using the Windows computer as a TV tuner. Therefore, if a TV tuner card is connected to the Windows 10-based computer, you cannot use an integrated solution to easily view TV programs directly on the device.
Unfortunately, Windows Media Center is dead forever because Microsoft has no intention of reinstating it in future updates or adding similar features within the main Windows 10 system.
Basically, the only way you can still use the Windows 10 PC as a TV tuner will be by using a dedicated third-party app. Well, in this regard, during the following lines we will examine the best 5 software that allow you to receive digital TV (DVB) on your PC.
How to see Rai on your computer
To see the free Rai on the PC one of the reference points is RaiPlay, the state TV streaming service. RaiPlay not only allows you to watch all the Rai channels in streaming but also to watch the TV series and the original films on demand at any time, as well as the Teche Rai programs, practically an infinite database of the best contents of the 60s - 70s-80s and 90s.
How to see Mediaset on the PC
Movies, TV series, documentaries, children's programs and the live streaming of all Mediaset channels. This is what Mediaset Play offers, an on-demand platform available for free on the browser and on the app for Android and iOS. On Mediaset Play you can view Mediaset channels on your PC at any time: all you need is an Internet connection and a smart device.
How to watch La7 on the PC
To watch La7 in streaming, just go to the website (computer, smartphone, tablet) and wait for the media player in the middle of the homepage to load. In case you have problems, click on the Live menu item and the channel will start streaming.
The best free TV tuning apps for Windows 10
Media Portal is perhaps the best replacement for the classic Windows Media Center platform. This is an open-source media center from which you can play and record your favorite TV shows. The software will extend the classic TV tuning functionality and transform your Windows 10 computer into a complex and complete multimedia solution.
The software is light, so it can also work with low-end configurations without major problems like signal blocks or screen blocks. It is also an open-source media center which means you can download, install and run the app without spending any money. You can download Media Portal for Windows 10 from the link below.
Another open-source app that can be used on the Windows 10 system to turn the PC into a TV tuner is NextPVR. The software has an easier-to-use user interface (compared to Media Portal) with intuitive options and additional customizations that can be handled without problems by the whole family.
Among the integrated features we can mention the integrated support for different devices (DVB, ATSC, QAM, DMB-T, analog and more. Furthermore, you can enjoy your favorite TV functions like live TV, TV guide, search on Web or recordings and the web scheduler.
NextPVR is free, even if from the official web page it is possible to access the "Donate" section if you wish to support the project for further improvements. The app can be downloaded from the following link: just download the executable file and install it; then follow the instructions on the screen and have fun.
The former Xbox Media Center, renamed as Kodi, is available on the Windows Store and can be used as a TV tuning app. Kodi will offer access to a variety of streaming sources and offers enough functionality for a decent TV tuner experience. It is not the best app to use, but it could be the easiest to manage and configure.
You can download it for free from the Microsoft Store or you can simply access the link below.
Emby is another open-source media player available for free. Works on Windows, Linux, Xbox 360, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. It's easy to use and you can access the streaming on any device. It also backs up media files to the cloud.
It has a premium version for which you'll have to pay, but the free version has most of the features you'll ever need. Check out Emby from the link below.
The best TV tuning apps for Windows 10 (paid version)
And now let's see what are the best versions of premium pay-TV tuning software available on the market. These tools offer additional features and options than the free software listed above.
If you want to try using a more specialized app, then you should choose DVB Viewer. This software will offer more features and options that can enhance your TV tuner experience and that can add different customizations in terms of receiving hundreds of TV and radio stations from all over Europe.
Furthermore, the app can be further optimized through dedicated plug-ins if you want to plan, program and control your favorite TV shows, shows or events.
This is a complete media center tool that can guarantee a great experience even if you are always looking for the best apps available for your computer. Unfortunately, the DVB Viewer software is not free - if you want to buy the basic version you will have to pay € 20.
Now, depending on what you want to achieve and how to customize the app and its features, you may want to apply certain plug-ins. These add-ons are paid options - for example, for the HbbTV / MHEG-5 plug-in, you will have to pay € 14, while the DVBViewer Media Server plug-in will cost you € 19.
Moreover, since we discuss a complex and complete software, the DVB Viewer app may not work properly on some Windows 10 configurations.
So, before buying it, make sure you run the compatibility tool: the app will scan your computer and tell you if your hardware configuration is compatible with the program or not. Finally, you can order the DVB Viewer app from the link below.
So, if you still want to use your Windows 10 computer as a TV tuner, these are the apps you should try. Of course, there are other platforms you can test, but if you are looking for open-source software, optimized and customized to work with both mid-range and high-end performance, the tools described above should be perfect for you.
Remember that the use of classic TV tuner hardware could be replaced by streaming TV sources or online platforms that can offer rich video content based on a monthly/annual fee, such as Netflix, HBO Go and so on. If you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.