basically the 3 most popular brands rite now are the pinnacle pctv pro, hauppauge wintv series and leadteak xp deluxe. i juz got the hauppauge wintv nicam stereo with fm for 135 at sls. radio works great tv images ok. anyway it all depends on ur reception and the software u use. the bundle software for wintv not very gd so i use 3rd party apps like dscaler and windvr. pctv pro i heard has better software package. the reason i got wintv was becoz i wanted to use dscaler with it. (its a program that has a better deinterlace algorithm and really makes the video alot clearer and sharper and its mostly tested with wintv cards). only gripe now is that now the wintv cards all use the newer conexant cx238881 chip(not that its a bad thing...heard it gives better quality) but the latest version of dscaler has some prob with it. have to wait for a new version to come out.
sorry didnt read carefully ur post... if its external ones u're looking for pinnacle and hauppauge have those too. wat i recommended was pci based cards.
heard that pinnacle is coming out with the pctv deluxe...its a external one with hardware encoding...think its usb2 not very sure.