These days it's not unusual to hear of people who have decided to cut off their cable or satellite service. Online access to free TV is easy with Hulu and Boxee and only a small monthly fee is needed to get Netflix, Hulu Plus, PlayOn and similar services. If you live within range of free over-the-air channels, you can also get old-fashioned conventional television via an antenna without ever needing to call a cable guy. Attach that antenna to a TV tuner card connected to your PC or Mac and with the right software you can even have a free PVR.
One such tuner card is Elgato's EyeTV One. The EyeTV One is a basic USB tuner card that allows you to watch free over-the-air high definition ATSC digital broadcasts on a computer. Elgato appears to be pitching its product primarily at Mac users because the package includes EyeTV 3 software that can only be installed on that platform. The EyeTV One can be used on a PC, though, in conjunction with third-party software.
The EyeTV One has a slightly different design from that of other USB tuner cards in that there is a cable between the USB plug and the main component that connects to an antenna. This is a good thing if the USB input that you will want to use is adjacent to another that you also require. The design of the EyeTV One means that it doesn't block access to the other input. The USB plug itself is coated in transparent plastic, while the cable and card component are a trendy silver color. This makes the EyeTV One look ever-so-slightly trendier than most USB tuner.
Because this card is only designed to pick up over-the-air broadcasts, the only connector provided at the opposite end from the USB is a coaxial socket like the one you'll find poking out of your walls at home. This is where you attach an antenna.
The joy of USB tuner cards like the EyeTV One is that the hardware is easy to set up. You screw one end into the coaxial connector that comes on the end of an antenna cable and the other into a USB port on your computer. You may then be prompted to insert the disc that comes with the device and follow the instructions to install the included software (or just the driver, in the case of Microsoft Windows).