TV Tuner card questions for Comcast HD to HTPC + IR Blaster - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-21-2010, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I just ordered Comcast's Digital Preferred package and want to connect my Win7 MCE HTPC so I can watch live TV or DVR for later viewing. Comcast is providing a DTA box but don't have it yet so I'm not 100% sure what I am getting.

Any recommendations or advice on a TV Tuner card for my HTPC so I can do the IR Blaster kludge? Needs to be low profile to fit in my case

Does the IR Blaster trick allow you to schedule DVR'ing shows from any channel with win7 mce?

Background:
I know some of the channels under 30 will be clearQAM, I want both encrypted and unencrypted channels

I have read this DTA to MCE setup article, if I get the right card it should be doable

I don't want to spend $400 on the Centon cable card tuner

When I built the HTPC 6 months ago my original intent was to get a HDHomerun dual but now that Comcast uses DTA's that won't work. I have searched but not found way to do the IR Blaster hack. The HDHR cable card unit isn't out yet and I am not waiting for that. If I could use an HDHomerun with the DTA that would be my first choice

Thanks
Mike S
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-21-2010, 03:21 PM
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Are you aware that using the DTA will limit you to SD only?

DTA or STB, same results. In Media Center you will be seeing only a SD pic.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-21-2010, 04:58 PM
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If you get a Hauppage HD-PVR then you can capture the HD output of a STB. DTA's only have a coax output, and only output SD for old TVs. Otherwise you will be limited to capturing SD only with analog tuners. Since the HD-PVR is an external USB device then you don't have to worry about low-profile. You will want to use the IR-blaster(s) that comes with your standard MCE remote receiver. The one built into the HD-PVR can be problematic. The only bad thing is the HD-PVR is a little pricey running at about $175 per tuner... but they fill a very needed niche for HD capturing from a STB (whether that be cable or satellite, or fiber).

If you are fine with SD only, then I'd say you could get a few analog tuners really cheap on Ebay.

I'm not sure on specific models that would be low-profile or that come with the ability to control their own IR-Blasters (I've got an old analog Hauppauge PVR-150 that has an external port to plug in the blaster.) Then again, you could always go with external USB analog tuners to not have to worry about it.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-21-2010, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

Are you aware that using the DTA will limit you to SD only?

DTA or STB, same results. In Media Center you will be seeing only a SD pic.

They are charging me $6.50/mo for an HD reciever. I guess I used the wrong term to describe it. I tried get the person to tell what device I was getting but all they could tell me was it was a cable card tuner and it varies what you get. With that I knew the HDHomerun idea wouldn't work.

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post #5 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 06:24 AM
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It would be wonderful if the cablecos would provide a STB that just decrypted subscribed channels and left the signal encoded rf.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 07:08 AM
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I do not understand exactly what you want the STB to do with the unscribed to encrypted channels and to the unencrypted channels.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 07:24 AM
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If that was directed to me, I want them to leave alone (ie, pass through) all but the encrypted ones I subscribe to.

Think of it as removing the analog trap filters on subscribed channels that used to be the way they controlled access. Actually still does on systems that haven't gone total digital yet.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

I do not understand exactly what you want the STB to do with the unscribed to encrypted channels and to the unencrypted channels.

What I want is my HTPC to receive all the channels I pay for, to be able to change channels while watching live tv on my HTPC, and to be able to record shows off any channel at any time with my HTPC. As if the STB/DTA wasn't there at all.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikes1p View Post

What I want is my HTPC to receive all the channels I pay for, to be able to change channels while watching live tv on my HTPC, and to be able to record shows off any channel at any time with my HTPC. As if the STB/DTA wasn't there at all.

There are only 2 ways to record a encrypted channel like HBO that you subscribe to.

1. Buy a cable tuner card like a Centon cable card tuner and rent a cablecard from comcast. I am not sure if all programs are in the clear (not flagged) to record.

2.Buy a PVR device like a Hauppage HD-PVR to record from the cable box with video capture.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-22-2010, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grittree View Post

If that was directed to me, I want them to leave alone (ie, pass through) all but the encrypted ones I subscribe to.

Think of it as removing the analog trap filters on subscribed channels that used to be the way they controlled access. Actually still does on systems that haven't gone total digital yet.

So you want the STB to decrypt and decode the encrypted channels you subscribe to and provide that output over HDMI, component, or S-video and to also output the raw RF for all of the other channels the STB received over a coax output.
It might be simplier if you just use a splitter and send the signal from the wall outlet to both the STB and to the TV or other destination you have in mind for raw RF coax input. This would enable you to have unencrypted channels and encrypted channels that you subbscribe to over HDMI, component or S-video and to have all of the content at the RF Coax destination for use with an analog or clearQAM tuner.
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