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2. Automotive Audio Entertainment > 19. Tune Your PC for Radio Reception

Tune Your PC for Radio Reception

With the right receiver, your PC can take over the radio function of a car’s head unit.

Receiving radio broadcasts via home PCs has always been somewhat of a novelty option. Every generation of PC has had its tuner cards or external USB receivers. But as radios already do a great job of receiving broadcasts, it’s only the added features—such as remote control and timed recording—that make PC radios valuable. Now you can take advantage of these features with your car PC, too.

PC Radios

There are two basic kinds of PC radios: external radios connecting to USB or serial ports, and PCI cards with FM tuners on board. Almost all of these cards output analog audio via a pair of cables and use the USB or PCI connection only for tuning the station. There’s no real point in sending audio over a digital connection, because the broadcasts are analog to begin with. Instead, the audio goes into the CD-in, line-in, or microphone input of the computer’s sound card.


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