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Can I connect clear QAM and cable to HTPC?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Long time reader, including assasin's blog, first time poster.

I have a HTPC that I've built mostly from older computer parts, and I love it. I have a TV tuner card on it (older Hauppauge model) with 1 coax input.

I have some HD clear QAM channels coming to my house (mostly locals, but that's 80% of my viewing), but I also have "basic" SD cable via Comcast's hockey puck size SD tuners.

Right now I have a regular coax line running to the 1 coax input on my TV tuner card, and get my locals in HD and I can record those with Windows Media Center, which I love using.

Do I have any way (via cable splitters or anything like that) of also connecting the computer to the small SD cable box so I could also watch/record shows from non-local channels? Or would I have to use only that and then not be able to watch/record HD clear QAM channels?

Would I have to get additional hardware to connect both?
post #2 of 16
You can do that.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
How? Can I run a basic cable splitter "backwards" and combine the coax direct from the wall and the coax from the cable box and run the one "combined" line into the HTPC?
post #4 of 16
I'm sorry I didn't understand the question before. Take a look at Xbox or echo extenders or the new stuff coming forth from silicon dust. These topics are all on the first page here.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure an extender is what I need.

Just seeing if I can connect both analog cable and clear QAM HD cable both to my HTPC that only has 1 coax input on my TV tuner, or if I'll need additional hardware (and if so, what kind).

I'd just like to be able to both watch and record SD analog cable from my cable box as well as the HD clear QAM I have in WMC7.
post #6 of 16
If your tuner is a dual analog and clear QAM tuner it will work but there' no way to feed the signal from that Cable box to the HTPC except maybe the HD-PVR capture tuner loophole from Hauppauge! but that requires analog component output from the cable box and the purchase of that tuner. I don't know if you want to go that route.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
What if I get a 2nd TV tuner? Could I then feed 1 tuner right from the wall for the HD clear QAM, and feed the other tuner with the SD coax line from my cable box?

Would WMC7 know the difference between the two signals and allow me to switch from one to the other without issue?
post #8 of 16
WMC can handle up to 4 tuners natively and doesn't care if they are two different ones. It can do more with tuner salad plugin. The problem you will have is getting two separate signals out of the HTPC to two different TV's without an extender or the upcoming DLNA solution from silicon dust.
post #9 of 16
What you need is a combo tv tuner. A combo tv tuner has both a digital tuner (ATSC/Clear QAM) and an analog tuner (NTSC). They used to be very popular (I have the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1600), but with analog pretty much dead in most areas, they have become less popular. Anyway, your other option is to just add an analog tuner card (even less popular). You can split the coax coming out of the wall with a simple two-way splitter and feed each input.

This is the model I have.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116057

Windows Media Center will recognize both tuners and set them up and all the channels will appear in the guide and all will be seemless.

Another option is this card which has two hybrid tuners allowing you to record up to two digital channels or two analog channels or one of each.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116037
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the response. So I can just get a single analog tuner and be good to go (connect it to the analog cable tuner). Sounds good, and those seem to be less expensive than buying a 2nd digital tuner or a single dual tuner.
post #11 of 16
Doesn't the SD cable box need the TV tuned to channel 3? Wouldn't you have to get an analog tuner and tune it to channel 3 with the SD cable box on and then you change channels using the cable box?

The easiest thing to do is to just get a cablecard and a cablecard tuners solution.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Not sure about the channel 3 thing, but if true, I'll just connect it directly to the TV and bypass the HTPC all together. I'd just use the HTPC for clear QAM TV viewing/recording.

I agree the cablecard is the easiest thing, but I'm hoping to do this cheaply as we're planning a move this year, and I have no idea what TV viewing options I'd have at the new place. A $30 analog card would be fine, a $200 cablecard solution isn't in the cards unless I knew cable is an option where we move.
post #13 of 16
Not sure why you want to connect the computer tuner card to the analog tuner box. If you do that than the tuner box will do the tuning and your computer tuner will become nothing more than a capture device (capturing the output of the tuner box). You will have to change channels on the tuner box since it is in control of the "tuning". Just let the computer tuner card do the tuning by bypassing the cable tuner box.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm already doing that and the tuner card is only getting the clear QAM channels. My cable subscription is the "basic" package which requires the small SD cable tuner box to receive ESPN, A&E, TBS, on and on.....those channels won't come in without the cable box.
post #15 of 16
The cable box allows the QAM channels. The PC tuner card cannot decrypt the QAM and only displays the Clear QAM.

Initially the cable box is provided as a digital to analog converter so the cable companies can free up their analog bandwidth and go all digital. Then the cable company was able to shift most of the Clear QAM to be encrypted while leaving only locals unencrypted Clear QAM.

The only benefit to hooking up the cable box signal to your HTPC is the ability to record whatever is tuned to the box at the time. You will still need to change channels with the cable box instead of within the HTPC like you can with the Clear QAM locals.
post #16 of 16
I see. You don't have true analog channels (I thought that sounded weird since most providers have gotten rid of them). You need the box to convert from digital to analog. Never mind then. You could capture the analog output from the box. You would have to use an IR blaster to change channels on the box.
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