Are All Your QAM Channels Scrambled? - Page 17 - AVS Forum
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post #481 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeKustra View Post

A DTA is the bottom when it comes to quality. I hope you can find a solution.
Tonight, I will be testing to see just how much an antenna will pick up in the basement. If it picks up a few key channels then I'll configure my Magnovox 2160A appropriately with an A/B switch just in case to get some other channels from the DTA, but as soon as the DTAs cost me any $ I will drop them.
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post #482 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 08:11 AM
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not ten st, rather than seeking an HDTV which can accept a cablecard, i recommend considering purchase of an external cablecard-capable DTV tuner, particularly one that can support HD-DVR functionality.
There are a bunch of currently-available options. Some like TIVO require monthly or lifetime additional subscription fee, others do not require such a fee.
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post #483 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by tveli View Post

nottenst, rather than seeking an HDTV which can accept a cablecard, i recommend considering purchase of an external cablecard-capable DTV tuner, particularly one that can support HD-DVR functionality.
There are a bunch of currently-available options. Some like TIVO require monthly or lifetime additional subscription fee, others do not require such a fee.
I definitely don't want to go the TIVO subscription route. Ideally, I would want something that can feed into my Magnovox 2160A and then continue to use that to record. A quick search of DTV tuners gives a whole bunch of PC solutions, but I don't see many stand-alone solutions.
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post #484 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 08:53 AM
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There are a few standalone tuner/HD-DVR-capable solutions - most/all of them have specific threads on this web site.
I'll point you to some of the thread as soon as I have enough time and can get back here, unless someone else has kindly done so in the meantime.

Fwiw, I usually deplore microsoft software but recognize that windows media center is an excellent piece of software - I give it a strong RECOMMEND.
I've used it with "HD homerun" tuner specifically. It has HD-DVR functionality built-in, and a user-interface that is truly top-notch/best-in-class.
(btw, there is an HD homerun which is cablecard-capable. I've only used the non-cablecard-version.)

I do have experience with MOXI HD-DVR , and just swapped a new hard-drive into mine and am very happy to be using it with cablecard.
It is an orphaned product but the manufacturer is continuing support nicely. Used MOXIs seem to demand quite a premium!

I too would never consider a TIVO, due to the inability to use their products without paying monthly fee or a "lifetime of the hardware" fee . But their UI is also 'best in class'. Top notch.
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post #485 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nottenst View Post


Tonight, I will be testing to see just how much an antenna will pick up in the basement. If it picks up a few key channels then I'll configure my Magnovox 2160A appropriately with an A/B switch just in case to get some other channels from the DTA, but as soon as the DTAs cost me any $ I will drop them.

With the 2160A you are SD only. I have a 2160A and a 515H. I believe with a DTA you only have one tuner, so watching one channel while recording a different channel is not an option.

 

The only place to put an antenna is outside on the roof unless you are close to the transmitters. If you are, try the attic. My cell phone doesn't get a signal in my basement. The fee for the DTA may not start until next year.

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post #486 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeKustra View Post

The only place to put an antenna is outside on the roof unless you are close to the transmitters. If you are, try the attic. My cell phone doesn't get a signal in my basement. The fee for the DTA may not start until next year.
According to the notice I received, the fee is supposed to start after 2 years.

Anyway, the most local PBS station (Maryland Public Television) has a transmitter about 12 miles away in Annapolis. That channel comes in perfectly off the antenna. The only network channel that comes in (I haven't tried to adjust the antenna yet) is the Baltimore ABC channel. That looks nice. Since Agents of SHIELD was one prime show I was regularly recording on the Mag, that is good news.
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post #487 of 507 Old 06-03-2014, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nottenst View Post


According to the notice I received, the fee is supposed to start after 2 years.

Anyway, the most local PBS station (Maryland Public Television) has a transmitter about 12 miles away in Annapolis. That channel comes in perfectly off the antenna. The only network channel that comes in (I haven't tried to adjust the antenna yet) is the Baltimore ABC channel. That looks nice. Since Agents of SHIELD was one prime show I was regularly recording on the Mag, that is good news.


That sounds great. I get about 200 channels via my cable cards. I get 120 QAM clear channels. On my cable guide, I have enabled perhaps 30 channels. Viewing habits vary, like cable feeds. I'm a TV addict. My fall 2014 schedule looks like 28 programs per week so far. BTW, WMAR is 1MW ERP. I wish I could get OTA.

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post #488 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by nottenst View Post

I definitely don't want to go the TIVO subscription route. Ideally, I would want something that can feed into my Magnovox 2160A and then continue to use that to record. A quick search of DTV tuners gives a whole bunch of PC solutions, but I don't see many stand-alone solutions.
IMO, a PC solution IS a stand-alone solution. I have a box (which happens to be a PC), about the size of a Tivo, that plugs into my TV and uses a normal IR remote just like every other DVR I've ever had. When I wake it, I'm in the DVR interface within 5 seconds. When I cold boot it (very rare that I do that), I'm in the DVR interface within 20 seconds. I never have to see the PC desktop or use a keyboard or mouse unless I want to. The only functional difference between my HTPC and a true stand-alone is I can exit the DVR interface if I choose.

I dreaded going the PC route for years. But I could no longer tolerate the ever increasing DVR and equipment fees. So I bit the bullet a few years ago, switched back from satellite to cable, got rid of all my cable boxes and use just one PC to service my 5 TVs, all for just $2/month for a cable card, versus $50/month I'd pay otherwise. It works beautifully, far better than any cable or satellite DVR. Compared to something like a Magnavox DVD recorder, it's not even in the same ball park. I can record 6 programs simultaneously, in full HD, with full, interactive guide, channel logos, streaming services (Netflix, etc), internet radio, and streaming of all my music/video/photo libraries to every TV in my house as well as remote streaming to any phone/tablet/laptop anywhere in the world as well as recording management from any of those devices. And of course, I can still burn a DVD of any recording anytime I want.

I actually retired my DVD recorders years before making this switch, mainly to get HD. An HTPC was the next logical step for me. I no longer had to deal with manual VCR-style timers and having to watch/record only one thing at a time and be limited to one TV. I wish I had switched to HTPC years earlier.

You should really consider the scrambling of your QAM channels as a golden opportunity to leap into the 21st century and enjoy all your media the way it was intended.
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post #489 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

IMO, a PC solution IS a stand-alone solution. I have a box (which happens to be a PC), about the size of a Tivo, that plugs into my TV and uses a normal IR remote just like every other DVR I've ever had. When I wake it, I'm in the DVR interface within 5 seconds. When I cold boot it (very rare that I do that), I'm in the DVR interface within 20 seconds. I never have to see the PC desktop or use a keyboard or mouse unless I want to. The only functional difference between my HTPC and a true stand-alone is I can exit the DVR interface if I choose.

I dreaded going the PC route for years. But I could no longer tolerate the ever increasing DVR and equipment fees. So I bit the bullet a few years ago, switched back from satellite to cable, got rid of all my cable boxes and use just one PC to service my 5 TVs, all for just $2/month for a cable card, versus $50/month I'd pay otherwise. It works beautifully, far better than any cable or satellite DVR. Compared to something like a Magnavox DVD recorder, it's not even in the same ball park. I can record 6 programs simultaneously, in full HD, with full, interactive guide, channel logos, streaming services (Netflix, etc), internet radio, and streaming of all my music/video/photo libraries to every TV in my house as well as remote streaming to any phone/tablet/laptop anywhere in the world as well as recording management from any of those devices. And of course, I can still burn a DVD of any recording anytime I want.

I actually retired my DVD recorders years before making this switch, mainly to get HD. An HTPC was the next logical step for me. I no longer had to deal with manual VCR-style timers and having to watch/record only one thing at a time and be limited to one TV. I wish I had switched to HTPC years earlier.

You should really consider the scrambling of your QAM channels as a golden opportunity to leap into the 21st century and enjoy all your media the way it was intended.
By standalone I did mean standalone and keeping the Magnavox box. Still, your setup sounds extremely impressive. Do you have specific information about your setup in another thread?
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post #490 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

IMO, a PC solution IS a stand-alone solution. I have a box (which happens to be a PC)....

Just a thought... when the PC is "down" or being repaired for some reason, all 5 TV's are "down" also. wink.gif
Great alternative, but there are caveats that need to be considered.
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post #491 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by nottenst View Post

By standalone I did mean standalone and keeping the Magnavox box. Still, your setup sounds extremely impressive. Do you have specific information about your setup in another thread?
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1505426/htpc-media-server-cheat-sheet/0_100#post_24097032

That's a few months out of date, but still pretty close. I've removed some programs I didn't use that much and found a better alternative to Tor.
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post #492 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 12:57 PM
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Just a thought... when the PC is "down" or being repaired for some reason, all 5 TV's are "down" also. wink.gif
Great alternative, but there are caveats that need to be considered.
True. But most modern whole-home systems also have a single point of failure (DirecTV HR34/44, Dish Hopper, etc.). If things really hit the fan, I can plug in my raspberry Pi and get live TV at least, or worst case, swing by the cable company the next day and pick up a box. I have a spare tuner in my closet I can plug in as well. In the few years I've been doing this, it's been no less reliable than what I've had in the past. Of my 5 TVs, only one is used 95% of the time anyway. I actually couldn't care less if I lost TV altogether. I'd read a book or go outside and enjoy life. My kids could watch whatever they wanted online. We have a lot more options than we used to.
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post #493 of 507 Old 06-09-2014, 01:40 PM
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Not fair...
Sugar coating an alternative to "renting" multiple STB's by using an HTPC with a cablecard tuner is not as easy as insinuated.

For one or two TV's it could be good. For multiple TV's, one needs to consider the additional up-front expense for media distribution (wire/wireless/hardware).

Having "stuff" laying around and/or if there's a problem, just go rent a box is not realistic either (for everyone).

Don't get me wrong. An HTPC is a great alternative if one has the correct information, hardware and skills to "support" the setup. It sounds like an easy solution to those that have experience. Don't forget that many still have a VCR blinking... 12:00.tongue.gif
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post #494 of 507 Old 06-10-2014, 01:44 PM
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For coax distribution throughout the home, you can use DirecTV DECA for about $10 per TV (from eBay), a negligible cost IMO, and requires no skill or new wiring.

I agree it takes some PC knowledge and skill to set up and would be a challenge for someone coming from a VCR. The huge cost savings was a major motivator to learn in my case. If it's too hard to set up, the cable company will be glad to provide an alternative for $25 and up per month. Similar story with TiVo.

In my experience, setting up a tuner on a PC is no more difficult than installing a printer. The software walks you through every step.
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post #495 of 507 Old 06-11-2014, 04:53 AM
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Great advice to setup a PC, which really takes little effort as dave mentioned and is a great way to leverage gear you might already have.
Tivo with the fleabay discount codes is a viable alternative for whole-home as well, you can get a lifetime Roamio and a couple of Mini extenders for less than $1k. Prices are here:

http://www.sellmoretivo.com/

The fleabay discount code (search for Tivo discount there) to get these can be had for around $25 on offer.
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post #496 of 507 Old 06-12-2014, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Quote:Originally Posted by mdavej 

IMO, a PC solution IS a stand-alone solution. I have a box (which happens to be a PC)....


Just a thought... when the PC is "down" or being repaired for some reason, all 5 TV's are "down" also.
Great alternative, but there are caveats that need to be considered.
My desktop (quad core) is the back up for the "whole house DVR" (hexa core). It takes 10 seconds to switch the extender pairing from "whole house DVR" to my desktop, should the "Whole house DVR" go down.

In the event that "whole house DVR' does go down, the only TV out of service is the one connected to it. Other 5 TV's are serviced by the stand in.

This one has been up and running non-stop since 2010, when we switched from 2x ATI DCT's to InifniTV4, and then upgraded to InifniTV6 ETH.

InifniTV6 ETH is a networked tuner. All of the recorded TV is stored on NAS/Server.

So, here is my question, then. If someone has a whole house DVR from their provider, what is their "plan b" should the main DVR fail? What happens to the recordings when the DVR fails?

The new "whole house DVR" from Verizon relies on the same concept, single 6 tuner box, and extenders.

Please post a more redundant solution to the issues presented.

Thank you.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #497 of 507 Old 06-12-2014, 09:15 AM
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Back to my initial post...
It's not as easy as slapping a card into a PC, renting a cablecard and magically saving money to configure a multiroom video distribution system.

There are hardware costs (investments) and networking that needs to be taken into consideration.

And again... not everyone is technically savvy about the "newer" alternatives that you find to be "simple".

I'm not saying what you and others can accomplish is wrong, bad, stupid or whatever. I'm simply trying to state that your solution is not a "one size fits all" for everyone.
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post #498 of 507 Old 06-12-2014, 11:34 AM
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a moxi with a couple of moxi mates provides a multi-room DVR solution that is cablecard-compatible.
i've rejuvenated my moxi with a new hard drive and a cablecard and am VERY happy with it (again).
it' has also enabled me to remain happy enough with comcast service & pricing that I have suspended any goal to "cut the cord".
the factory hard drive died after a few years of ownership & use without a cablecard.

i wish i could find a moxi-mate for a reasonable price, to try to use with my 2-tuner moxi...
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post #499 of 507 Old 06-12-2014, 01:03 PM
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From the FCC page allowing encryption: "Encryption of all-digital cable service will allow cable operators to activate and deactivate cable service remotely, thus relieving many consumers of the need to wait at home to receive a cable technician when they sign up for or cancel cable service, or expand service to an existing cable connection in their home. " I've seen just how that works with the many hours I've unsuccessfully spent over the past few days talking to cable operators over the phone and in chat trying to get the HD DTA (and now a replacement HD DTA) to work properly.
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post #500 of 507 Old 06-12-2014, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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It also allows cable companies to have fewer trucks and employees.
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post #501 of 507 Old 06-14-2014, 08:42 AM
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Finally, after writing to We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com I finally have the HD channels on the HD DTA coming in. I guess it takes having no positive results from several tech calls to finally get someone high enough to actually make a difference. Anyway, I have the HDMI going directly from the HD DTA to the TV and the coax going to my Magnavox. The HD channels on the Magnavox don't look that bad. I think I am getting the same size image as I getting through the HDMI on the TV directly, but I'll need to double check that.

At the moment I have the HDMI from the HD DTA going directly to the TV and I have the Magnavox and another HD source going to the Monoprice HDMI A/B switch and then to the TV. Earlier when I had the HD DTA going through the switch it didn't seem to like that. I think it didn't get direct feedback from the TV HDMI and was confused.
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post #502 of 507 Old 06-15-2014, 11:15 PM
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Well, two months later and while the channels I lost are still gone, the ones that weren't taken away are still here. Care to explain that or is it just a matter of more time?

BTW, mdavej, your avatar is hilarious. To this day I still laugh at what that woman did when I see it!
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post #503 of 507 Old 06-16-2014, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, two months later and while the channels I lost are still gone, the ones that weren't taken away are still here. Care to explain that or is it just a matter of more time?
No, I can't explain it. Perhaps you can call your cable company and explain your problem?
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post #504 of 507 Old 07-01-2014, 11:37 AM
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Armstrong Utilities in Western PA now encrypts all digital channels including the OTA HD channels. Clear-QAM does me no good anymore. The old analog channels are still available without a cable box but that will soon change. ALL the analog channels will become digital. Armstrong is offering a FREE Digital Converter Box for viewing these channels but they are all 4:3 ratio but the picture quality is better than analog. I suspect it is 480p.
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post #505 of 507 Old 07-01-2014, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Armstrong Utilities in Western PA now encrypts all digital channels including the OTA HD channels. Clear-QAM does me no good anymore. The old analog channels are still available without a cable box but that will soon change. ALL the analog channels will become digital. Armstrong is offering a FREE Digital Converter Box for viewing these channels but they are all 4:3 ratio but the picture quality is better than analog. I suspect it is 480p.
Thanks for the info. I hope you find an alternative. Even 480i is better than analog.
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post #506 of 507 Old 07-02-2014, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockFox View Post
Armstrong Utilities in Western PA now encrypts all digital channels including the OTA HD channels. Clear-QAM does me no good anymore. The old analog channels are still available without a cable box but that will soon change. ALL the analog channels will become digital. Armstrong is offering a FREE Digital Converter Box for viewing these channels but they are all 4:3 ratio but the picture quality is better than analog. I suspect it is 480p.
They are not OTA if they come through the Cable.

OTA stands for Over The Air or Off The Air.

Just a minor technicality.

OTA is still free, and available to most people with an antenna.
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6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #507 of 507 Old 07-02-2014, 06:51 AM
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They are not OTA if they come through the Cable.

OTA stands for Over The Air or Off The Air.

Just a minor technicality.

OTA is still free, and available to most people with an antenna.
You are correct. It is a minor technicality.

I think everyone understood that the poster was referring to "local channels".
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