A few months ago I bought a Hauppauge WinTV USB device which allows me to watch over the air high-def TV. I bought it mainly for emergencies when my electricity was out and today I got to try it out for real. My electricity was out for six hours and so I pulled out the box, plugged it in and installed the software.
It works great as long as you have power in your laptop, but I did experience one big problem. It really sucks the life out of your laptop. You may only get an hour of use. One reason may be that the device is also a recording device so that it automatically buffers a TV show while you watch it.
If you right click on the screen and go to configuration, you will notice that the buffer is always capturing the last 30 minutes. I will change this to zero and see if I can prolong the life of the battery. Just because of this you may want to keep an extra battery or certainly keep your battery charged.
The TV quality is excellent if you can find a good place for the antennae.
One thing I don’t like is that they make you insert the CD when you you upgrade the software – that’s very old school.
It also captures in a .TS format which is a bit unusual. You can play it however in VLC.