To test out the ASUS My Cinema U3100Mini USB 2.0 TV Recorder I fired up my Dell XPS M1730 notebook that has an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 processor inside running overclocked at 3.0GHz. After installing the required software utilities and drivers I hooked up the U3100Mini and ran the setup program in Arcsoft TotalMedia 3.5.
The software lets you pick if the TV signal source is coming from Cable TV or Antenna TV and since this device is meant to be used on the road, I selected Antenna TV. It was at this point in time that I discovered that I have very poor digital reception at my house.
I moved to various rooms in my house and no matter where I would go inside or outside I couldn’t get any signal over the air. I live about 30-45 minutes outside of St. Louis Missouri, so it was a little shocking that I was unable to get any channels. The Greater St. Louis area was the 16th largest metro area in the U.S. as of the July 2007 US Census estimate, with more than 2,800,000 people, so I’m far from being in a rural area. If you want to check to see how television reception is in your area be sure to look at AntennaWeb in order to make sure you have signal. For my local area everything is red (not a great signal) and this is the reason I can’t get any channels.
In a last ditch effort to get some TV channels on the laptop I hooked up the laptop to a coaxial cable that was connected to my cable service. ASUS says this cable is an MCX adapter for connectivity with a roof antenna, but it can be used to connect a cable source to the receiver.
With the laptop hooked up to the coaxial cable feed straight out of the wall I was able to get 90 channels, which is what I expected with the cable package I have from Charter Communications.