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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have been researching and digging and either forgot about the cable HD signal being scrambled or didn't understand it. I am pretty sure I have to get the cablecard tuner solution for my cable company which is way too expensive. However, help me out if you would not mind...


Someone said it was possible to upscale the NTSC signal coming from the cable company to like 1080i. Is this true?


Second, does WMC allow you to zoom out/in the screen to make the black bars go away? My cable company on the NTSC channels has half of them with the black bars. Was wondering if you could do more zoom adjustments than the typical Zoom 1, Zoom 2, 4:3, 16:9.


Is there any other way to get HD besides the HDPVR, the cable card, and Over the air?


Thanks, I am about done messing with this...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by caliskier /forum/post/19549447



Someone said it was possible to upscale the NTSC signal coming from the cable company to like 1080i. Is this true?

Yes, whatever your output resolution is is what the signal will be. If you are watching a 480i/p show and your desktop/MC is set at 1080P then the content is upscaled to 1080P.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caliskier /forum/post/19549447


Second, does WMC allow you to zoom out/in the screen to make the black bars go away? My cable company on the NTSC channels has half of them with the black bars. Was wondering if you could do more zoom adjustments than the typical Zoom 1, Zoom 2, 4:3, 16:9.

Yes, there are 4 zoom levels. Although, it sounds like you watch a lot of SD programming. Why not watch the HD channels with no black bars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caliskier /forum/post/19549447


Is there any other way to get HD besides the HDPVR, the cable card, and Over the air?

Nope
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane /forum/post/19549882


Yes, whatever your output resolution is is what the signal will be. If you are watching a 480i/p show and your desktop/MC is set at 1080P then the content is upscaled to 1080P.

So are you telling me if my cable coming from the wall is NTSC, 480i/p I can make that look like 1080i/p?

Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane /forum/post/19549882


Yes, there are 4 zoom levels. Although, it sounds like you watch a lot of SD programming. Why not watch the HD channels with no black bars?

Yes I do watch HD exclusively, but if I switch to using an HTPC I will loose HD coming from the cable company because they force me to use one of their boxes to unscramble the HD channels. This is why I first wanted to know about the quality options with NTSC, and secondly if there is any zooming feature in Windows 7 media center that does a good job of taking care of the black bars. What are my options there is what I was wanting to know. I do not like the typical ones because you can't get rid of the black bars without losing a ton of the picture. I know that there are some TVs out there that have more zooming features and was wondering if windows 7 had this capability as well.


I can't afford to go the cablecard route, and in order for me to even find out what windows7 does in this area or how well it does it, I will need to invest some money; too much to make it worth the gamble.


Thanks for your input, let me know if I am missing something. This stupid HD cable issue is killing my idea of turning my old PC into a DVR. I have spent a lot of time researching this, asking questions, I just misunderstood this part. I was just about ready to pull the trigger today to make some purchases when I realized this roadblock. Disappointing to stop now.


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by caliskier
So are you telling me if my cable coming from the wall is NTSC, 480i/p I can make that look like 1080i/p?
No. You can not make SD look like HD. You can get your PC to upscale so that it is sending out a 1080p signal, but the picturet is simply scaled. It's like zooming in to a low resolution jpeg. Sure, you can get photoshop to scale it up to a higher resolution, but it cannot introduce any new information (and often exaggerates any artifacts). You need to be getting an HD signal if you want to see HD content. There is no way to convert or transform SD content into something better than what is being sent out.


7MC can remove the black bars just fine. Zoom 3 is "Stretch video to remove blank bars on top and bottom". But I guess you have tried that, and you don't think it does a "good job". To my knowledge, there are only the 4 zoom options, nothing more.


Cable companies encrypt their HD content (except the local network channels), and based on your subscription level, they will give you access to those channels you are subscribed to through a their cable box, or a cable card device (there is sort of 3 options out there... one is discontinued and can only be found used, one is backordered, and one is going to be released in a few months, maybe). And I guess you know about the HDPVR.


How many HD cable boxes are you paying for now? Do you have any DVRs? How much money are you spending a year on these options? And how much money would you save if you got rid of them? Then figure, how many years it would take to break even if you bought a cablecard solution. To some people, the $400 for a Ceton isn't that much when considering the long run (not to mention the announced price for the HDHomeRun Prime is even less than the Ceton).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew c
No. You can not make SD look like HD. You can get your PC to upscale so that it is sending out a 1080p signal, but the picturet is simply scaled. It's like zooming in to a low resolution jpeg. Sure, you can get photoshop to scale it up to a higher resolution, but it cannot introduce any new information (and often exaggerates any artifacts). You need to be getting an HD signal if you want to see HD content. There is no way to convert or transform SD content into something better than what is being sent out.
That's what I figured

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew c
7MC can remove the black bars just fine. Zoom 3 is "Stretch video to remove blank bars on top and bottom". But I guess you have tried that, and you don't think it does a "good job". To my knowledge, there are only the 4 zoom options, nothing more.
No actually I do not know anything about MC7 other than a couple of nice reviews I read, one positive, one neutral. Plus everyone I talk to loves it and the service my cable company provides went from sucks to crap when they "upgraded" the GUI. (Thats what stated this whole thing, and I started paying attention to my bill) The reason I am asking all of these questions is because in order for me to upgrade an older system to be able to record TV it will cost $200 just to use some free downloaded media center. To put windows 7 on there, it will be about $325 as I will need $25 for a small HDD (the current one I have is tiny) and $100 for Win7. I just don't want to start taking the plunge without fully knowing what I am getting into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew c
Cable companies encrypt their HD content (except the local network channels), and based on your subscription level, they will give you access to those channels you are subscribed to through a their cable box, or a cable card device (there is sort of 3 options out there... one is discontinued and can only be found used, one is backordered, and one is going to be released in a few months, maybe). And I guess you know about the HDPVR.
Yes, thanks, I have seen those options, the Centon is really cool, also very expensive.


I really wanted to bring that POS DVR back to the cable company and tell them to take a flying leap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew c
How many HD cable boxes are you paying for now? Do you have any DVRs? How much money are you spending a year on these options? And how much money would you save if you got rid of them? Then figure, how many years it would take to break even if you bought a cablecard solution. To some people, the $400 for a Ceton isn't that much when considering the long run (not to mention the announced price for the HDHomeRun Prime is even less than the Ceton).
One DVR style Cable box, and one other cable box. Both HD variety.... And I have looked at this cost. Initially I figured it would save $330 per year, but that includes the OTH stuff I should not be paying for and plan to cancel, so to be fair, $200. But that included keeping 2 ordinary HD boxes, cause I thought I had to for one. I did not realize until today that the coax coming out would still be NTSC. So if I drop both of those I save $370, which sounds good but I am already going to have to shell out about $350. But you have sparked my interest, how can i get rid of the second box in my house on a different TV and still get the HD programming there I want with this one computer? I assume that is what you are implying. I am going to look into this HDHome Run Prime, I have not heard of it.


One fear i have about these cablecard tuner cards is that an IT guy at my work said he was leery of them due to rumors he heard that the industry is getting ready to change the format. Said they will probably be worthless in 6 months or so.


Thanks again, I rave about this forum.
 

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The Prime has only been announced, so I don't know much about it besides it's planned retail price, and that it has 3 tuners. The Ceton has 4 tuners. With an extender (such as an Xbox 360 or another computer), you can share the tuners so you can watch TV simultaneously at multiple locations, assuming you have everything set up. The Prime is supposed to work with your network, so you can share the tuners with any capable device on your network.


Also, keep in mind most cable companies charge a monthly rental fee for the cable card itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew c /forum/post/19551442


The Prime has only been announced, so I don't know much about it besides it's planned retail price, and that it has 3 tuners. The Ceton has 4 tuners. With an extender (such as an Xbox 360 or another computer), you can share the tuners so you can watch TV simultaneously at multiple locations, assuming you have everything set up. The Prime is supposed to work with your network, so you can share the tuners with any capable device on your network.


Also, keep in mind most cable companies charge a monthly rental fee for the cable card itself.

Yeah, ours charges $1.99 which isn't bad.
 
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