Watching your favorite TV channel on a laptop, PC or smartphone is easier than you might think. Instead of buying a TV tuner box, you could make your own TV tuner which can be plugged directly into any free USB port of your PC or laptop.
If you want to know the detailed design of USB TV tuners, here are some ready-to-use reference designs with complete documentation. Take a look!
USB TV Tuner with Low-power MCU:
This reference design helps you in developing your own USB TV dongle to view TV channels on a personal computer or laptop. The design is based on low-power USB microcontroller FX2LP from Cypress and a Legend Silicon’s demodulator. A tuner from ADI tunes the RF signal and sends it to the demodulator. The resultant TV signals in MPEG2_TS stream are then sent to the microcontroller, which then sends them to the PC through the USB interface. In the PC, a Media Player application plays this data. This reference design has been tested with Windows XP/32 bit platform. The design comes equipped with complete documentation, namely, schematics, gerber files, bill of materials, firmware source code, driver object code and reference design guide. More on this Reference Design
USB Dongle for Digital TV Broadcast:
This USB reference design is for handheld digital video broadcast (DVB-H) applications on computers, laptops and other portable/handheld devices. The design is built around a MAX2165 direct-conversion tuner IC designed for digital video broadcast applications. The tuner covers a 470MHz to 780MHz input frequency range. It helps to reduce overall BOM cost and comes in a tiny package. The MAX2165 allows a programmable channel-selection allowing for operation with 7MHz and 8MHz channels. Other components used in the design are a DMB-TH demodulator and USB interface. The DMB-TH demodulator accepts inputs from the tuner and provides a MPEG-2 stream to the USB chip. The USB chip enables interfacing with a laptop or desktop for viewing broadcast video and for lab analysis.