How can I replace my calbe box ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-22-2009, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Too make a long story shot I have TWC I seen a video comparing Media Center to a TWC cable box and I would like to know I wold need to set that up. Sorry if this is in the wrong place I am sure this question has been covered here I looked around a bit and couldn't find the answer this place has tons of info. thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-22-2009, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakeydog View Post

Too make a long story shot I have TWC I seen a video comparing Media Center to a TWC cable box and I would like to know I wold need to set that up. Sorry if this is in the wrong place I am sure this question has been covered here I looked around a bit and couldn't find the answer this place has tons of info. thanks for any help.

It's much more expensive and set-up is pretty involved. It gets even more complicated if you want channels such as HBO HD or ESPN HD. Unless you have the time and effort to dedicate to this project, I suggest you keep your cable box. That or get a TiVo.

That said, obviously you'd need a computer. Depending on what channels you want, you'd also need either a TV (QAM/NTSC) tuner card or a video capture card. Cost varies greatly. The Dell Zino HD makes for an inexpensive starter HTPC but you'd have to get USB tuners for it.
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-22-2009, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been reading the dell zino thread all day and I was wondering If I could use an acer ax1200 i currently own one . I would not need HBO or an Starz etc..What are the usb tuners I would need ?
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 04:44 AM
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its not just HBO or stars... its any hd channels besides the main network channels.

if you can live without all the HD channels, then you can just get a tuner tuner card and get all the unencrypted sd channels plus the HD like ABC NBC, CBS, etc...

If you need all those other channles then you need to get a cable card tuner.

you should be able to use your current pc, as long as it you can connect it to the tv.

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
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So I would need to buy something like the ATI-TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner ?
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 05:11 AM
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Most digital cable channels are encrypted with today's cable providers. You'll only be able to pick up analog channels (usually your 2 through 99) and ClearQAM (Local ABC, NBC, CBS in HD), all your "higher" channels beyond channel 100 are usually digital and encrypted. This statement will vary by cable provider, but is the base on what you should expect.

The good news is that the HTPC requirements in Windows 7 for digital cable tuners has become relaxed for some reason:

http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=655

The hardest part is that you'll still need to get an ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner:

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/index.html

and the local cable company will need to configure that portion with a Cable Card.

Windows Media Center still has a steep learning curve, but it's gotten to the point in Windows 7 that I actually feel it's "useful". Windows Vista even still has limitations where it needs to see a compliant PC BIOS for digital TV tuners, but that was removed recently for Windows 7.

Good luck...
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a setup like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJpF9...eature=related If this helps. I have the same cable box he is using to compare...I would want to run media center extender for 2 other tv's also..
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 05:58 PM
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Yep, that's pretty much Windows 7 Media Center in the YouTube video. As I stated in the previous post, if you're looking to get all your channels, you'll need the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner and a Cable Card inserted in it from your provider. Otherwise, you're stuck with analog and ClearQAM channels if you go with other tuner options. The ATI model is the only tuner out there at the moment that will allow you to view encrypted channels. Other than that, it's common sense PC stuff. Windows 7 comes with Media Center installed, there are no longer DRM restrictions on it as far as the brand of PC you can use, and just keep in mind that you'll need a semi-fast PC to handle the video processing, along with some nice hard drive storage if you plan to also use it as a MP3 / picture / movie / DVD jukebox also. Media extenders can be used with Media Center for everything other than a DVD jukebox setup, not sure why Microsoft still feels that is an issue.

I'm not sure what you're specifically looking for an answer to. You'll learn the most by playing with it, but here's some very basic instructions for setting up a generic tuner:

http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/win7mcqamsetup.html

And as I mentioned, in order to get an ATI tuner running for the encrypted channels, you'll also need to also run the Digital Cable Advisor as described here:

http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=655

And this is only for TV tuners.

Again, there's a learning curve for also adding MP3s, DVDs, movies and such, but it's not as steep as the TV tuner setup.

???????

Hope something here helps answer your question...
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 06:26 PM
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cablecard tuners may hit the market in early 2010. That may be an option for encrypted QAM. Creton has announced products.
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-23-2009, 06:34 PM
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I'm using the cablecard tuner with Brighthouse and get all the channels. It's great!

The hardware was about $200, and monthly recurring cost is about $3. I have spent extra on capacity, though...I have almost 1,000 hours of HD content capacity.
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-09-2009, 01:31 PM
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Whats a good interal or USB card to use if i was just looking for the analog and clear QAM (HD)channels?
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-09-2009, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svp50 View Post

Whats a good interal or USB card to use if i was just looking for the analog and clear QAM (HD)channels?

Any of them will give you a good picture provided your signal is strong enough. For an image quality boost on analog, get one with a hardware MPEG2 encoder. They typically sell for $100+.
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-09-2009, 04:55 PM
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there was an article on engadget today, about how everyone is sold out of cable card tuners, you need to pay extra on ebay for...

"If the world didn't suck, we'd all fly off."
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-09-2009, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Svp50 View Post

Whats a good interal or USB card to use if i was just looking for the analog and clear QAM (HD)channels?

Today's Woot has a fine card for cheap.

www.woot.com

The 650 PCI appears to be a better option to me.
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