do you already have a receiver, and which is it? if not, i suggest you buy a skystar2 usb for your laptop. if you want the normal STB, then you can get a neotionbox or discovery DSR which will enable you to record the show via videolink usb.
if you opt for the skystar2, yes you can view the channels on your monitor and may choose to output the video to your tv using the s-video connector on most laptops nowadays. the same goes true if you buy the neotionbox or discovery, you can view the channel on your screen since the videolink will transfer the data via usb to your pc for decoding.
be reminded though that on average, an hour of recorded video will cost your hdd space an average of 13G, so prepare to have a larger hdd or transfer your files to another media to avoid filling up your hdd (you can convert the raw video mpeg2 to vcd format using tmpgenc software.)