Radio Tuner Cards

There are many radio tuner cards on the market - so many in fact, that it is difficult to understand what exactly will meet your needs. The reviews are all across the board - some written by those who just like to see their words in print; others whose reviews are one or two lines and pretty much useless.

The best place to go to get an idea of the technical specifications for the tuner cards are to the manufacturers themselves. Granted, they will hype up their own product; however, if you know what you are looking for, you can get a pretty good idea from their specifications. Below are a couple of types of radio tuner cards and reviews that are pretty authentic as well as the manufacturer specifications for comparison.

Below is one example of a radio tuner card that is currently are on the market:

AmbiCom FM Radio CompactFlash Card: This radio tuner card brings mobility to a whole new level. According to the website, the FM Radio CompactFlash Card turns your PDA into a FM radio instantly, enabling you to listen to your favorite FM radio show anywhere. Designed in the small and convenient CompactFlash interface, you can carry the FM Radio Card along with your PDA device wherever you go. Now you don't have to stop listening to your favorite FM radio show when you leave your car - you can listen to the radio and access news anytime, anywhere. Specifications:

Audio Input
Type FM tuner - plug-in module
Sound Input Mode Stereo
Controls Mute, volume
Tuner Frequency Range FM: 87.5 - 108 MHz, FM: 88 - 108 MHz, FM: 76 - 91 MHz
Expansion / Connectivity
Compatible Slots 1 x CompactFlash Card - type I
Software / System Requirements
Software Included Drivers & Utilities
OS Required Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft Pocket PC 2000, Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP, Microsoft Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003

SBT-TVFM FM Radio /TV Tuner PCI Capture Card: The SBT-TVFM FM Radio/TV Tuner PCI Capture Card allows you to capture video from your digital camcorder, watch TV, and listen to FM radio all from your PC with this SBT-TVFM PCI capture card. You can easily connect a DVD player, VCR or a game console to your PC with the S-Video and composite A/V jack. Watch TV on your monitor and record your favorite show at the same time.

Type: SBT-TVFM FM Radio /TV Tuner PCI Capture Card
General Features:

* PCI interface
* Conexant Fusion 878A chipset
* Watch TV on your PC without any delay
* OSD: On Screen Display
* Favorite channel list
* TV channel Fine tune +/-0.25 MHz
* Maximum resolution up to 640 x 480
* Built-in TV Tuner allows you to receive up to 125 channels on cable or TV air broadcasts
* Full Screen TV Display
* Auto scan up to 125 TV channels
* Supports Composite / S-Video input or Composite video Camera
* Capture Rate: 30 frames per second
* TV Frequency:
* CATV / VHF / UHF
* Favorite TV channel editing
* VBI supports Teletext
* Support Teletext Mode
* FM Radio
* Front Bracket Connectors:
* FM input
* TV Tuner
* Remote
* AV in
* Audio in
* S-Video
* Audio out
* Regulatory Approvals:
* CE

Additional Information:
* Product Requirements:
* Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP
* Available PCI slot
* 366 MHz CPU or higher
* 32 MB RAM or above
* VGA Card with at least 8 MB memory
* Analog TV signal source (Cable or antenna)
* CD-ROM drive
* Notes:
* Model: SBT-TVFM
* UPC Code: 1 88218 00072 9

My only criticism seems to be that these two samplings of the types of radio tuner cards that are on the market seem very technical. I would not be able to look at the description of either one of these and know that one is better suited to my needs than the other. I think that there should be some type of “radio tuner card for dummies” to assist consumers in making these type of decisions.