FTA is Free To Air satellite broadcasts. FTA signals exist all over the world, including the US. It is much more popular in Europe, however. FTA signals usually consist of religious broadcasts, public broadcasts, foreign language broadcasts, and occasionally local news broadcasts. A DVB card will allow you to receive FTA signals directly using your computer. If you want to receive subscription satellite signals, such as Dish Network, or DirectTV, you'll have to use a regular cable tuner with an IR blaster along with your satellite reciever. The IR blaster is a little IR transmitter that allows your computer to change channels, and control your satellite reciever. This is because subscription satellite signals are encrypted, and you need the box to decrypt this. I've heard it is possible to decode the signal with software, or a softcam, so that you can receive the subscription signal directly with your computer without the need for a box, but I don't believe it is legal to do so. As far as brands go, Hauppauge is probably the most popular brand out there for tv tuner cards... whatever model you get, make sure you get one with on-board mpeg encoding, this will help relieve your cpu from performing this task when recording live tv.