TerraTec Cinergy Satellite TV Tuners First Impressions

I’ve had an instruction manual free weekend with the TerraTec Cinergy PCI Satellite TV Tuners and, after some tinkering, have managed to receive several local satellite television channels.

Due to bad case design on Dells part I had to displace a PCI sound card to fit both the TerraTec Cinergy HD and SD tuners into my desktop, but once installed it was a fairly trivial matter of grabbing the correct drivers from the TerraTec website, installing them and then installing the TerraTec cinema software.

Despite advise to the contract I then hooked both tuners up to my Sky dish and began the arduous task of scanning for satellite channels.

This is where everything gets a little complicated. Finding valid satellite channels is an awful lot more difficult than tuning good old digital terrestrial television and is a mixture between an arcane art form and a frustrating amount of trial an error.

In order to quickly and successfully scan for and list channels with a watchable signal quality you’ve got to know which satellite your dish is pointed at. Once you know this you can scan that satellite, or cluster, for channels and be ready to go in about 5-10 minutes.

The alternative is to scan every satellite for available channels and then pick through the results to find channels with a good signal quality and add them to your favourites. I attempted this method a couple of times but impatience led me to simply cancel it and explore other methods.

Once channels have been acquired it’s straight forward to hop between them, add the ones you actually want to watch to a favourites short-list and get recording live satellite television. Things I haven’t yet tried include using both tuners simultaneously and actually attempting to schedule recordings with TVTV.

One issue I did notice, which could perhaps be pinned on my ageing desktop computer, is that changing channels takes a touch too long making channel hopping frustrating, although if you’re just scheduling recordings and watching them back you’ll never encounter this issue.

The fact existing Sky dishes will work with these tuners is promising, if you’re aiming to ditch your Sky subscription and go with FreeSat then there’s no additional dish to install or aim at the correct satellite and you can have a paltry few HD channels with no monthly fee.

I will, however, be looking at SelfSat alternatives to Sky dishes so expect to see my experiences with a SelfSat “dish” shortly. Stay tuned for more!

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