Originally Posted by JorgeA
Thanks, but sadly pretty much all we have left here in the way of unencrypted programming is broadcast channels. Maybe I got too excited
when I saw sitlet's reply to the OP about recording SD content without a DVR.
Does that mean that even NTSC analog
channels are no longer?
When I left Comcast territory 3 years ago, I had the Digital Extended Basic package, which included the analog Extended Basic channels at no extra cost.
If I'm reading you correctly, you're OK with SD-only programming in that room. Even if you can't get the SD cable channels digitally, you can still record the analog channels to digital files with most tuner cards...that is if they're still sending out the analog channels still.
If you can't get any kind of SD programming (other than the locals) without a cable box, some tuner cards have line video input capabilities using an included or sometimes optional dongle. (Or you can use a video capture card that doesn't have any tuner features.) If the cable box has line outputs, hooking up the line level audio and video outputs from the cable box to the line level A/V inputs on your tuner or capture card (and possibly your sound card) and using an IR blaster to control the cable box should give good results.
If your cable box only has a channel 3/4 RF output (no line level video out), you can still use the IR blaster to turn the cable box on and off, as well as tune it to the desired channel. In fact, some computers can be set to wake up in time to record your shows and go back to sleep when it's done.
What would the breakout panel be for -- wouldn't you just plug the USB tuner + antenna into your laptop? Or maybe it's to connect the tuner to an antenna on the roof of the hotel.
I use the term "breakout panel" because it resembles the breakout boxes that are used to be able to use standard connectors with a proprietary system.
A lot of newer and business hotels have their flat screen TVs bolted to the wall, making something as simple as getting to the RF cable a real chore compared to the old TV credenza setup. The panels allow guests to hook up a computer, DVD player or video games to the TV. Exactly what they have varies from hotel to hotel. The Full Monty setups replicate every input and output on the TV, have conditioned AC power jacks and a separate RF jack and HDMI port so you can use a TiVo or computer-based PVR to record and play back on the big screen.
Indoor TV reception varies widely, so I wouldn't count on getting a usable OTA signal in a hotel room. Most hotels have long since replaced their old rooftop antenna MATV plant with a modern satellite system that provides "cable" and local channels through the same system. Remember that business hotels serve some of the most demanding guests, and rely on a lot of repeat business to stay in business. That's why they try to accommodate their guests who pat a few hundred bucks a night, a few dozen nights a year.