Originally Posted by snooktarpon
Having QAM would be nice to have so she could upgrade to digital cable.
The beauty of QAM is that you don't need to upgrade your service to benefit.
There's nothing special to digital cable. Many cable companies offer unencrypted digital channels with basic cable service. So with a QAM tuner, you can get whatever digital channels are passed "in the clear". This is usually limited to the local HD channels, but sometimes they pass a couple of other channels through.
For example, I subscribe to Extended Basic. With my QAM tuner, I can get the 7 local HD channels and UniversalHD. All for $50/month. If I pay for Comcast's digital package (additional $30+ if I want the DVR) I would get a boatload more digital SD channels that are only available with a STB, plus 9 other HD channels (ESPN-HD, TNT-HD, DiscoveryHD, etc).
Personally, the locals plus UHD is fine with me.
Who is your MIL's cable provider?