How to Install a Radio Tuner in Windows 7

By Fred Decker

With an FM tuner installed, you can listen to local radio stations on your computer.
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Modern computers are often configured as complete home entertainment units, complete with HD video, surround-sound output and the ability to connect to your big-screen TV. Old-school technology isn't forgotten either, and your Windows 7 computer can also use a radio tuner to pull in your local stations from over the air. FM tuners are often included with TV tuner cards, or you can install one separately.

Windows Media Center

Once you've got an FM tuner physically installed or connected to your computer, you need software to tune the stations, save presets, and play the feed through your computer's audio system. On Windows 7, Microsoft's own Media Center provides that ability. Launch the program by clicking your "Start" button, then "All Programs" and finally "Windows Media Center." On the Media Center's Start screen, select "Music," and then "Radio," and finally "FM Radio." You'll be able to use the "Seek" and "Tune" controls to search for stations, or enter them manually by their frequency.

Alternative Software

Most radio-tuner programs for Windows are geared toward streaming Internet radio, which offers a world of choice, but typically won't include your favorite local stations. VCRadio is one exception, which not only tunes local stations, but enables you to record your favorite hosts and programs for later playback, just like a VCR or PVR. Another is Tune-In Radio, which installs as a plugin for your Windows Media Center and provides a robust set of enhanced features.