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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this has been posted before, i am new to this forum. I want to build an HTPC that I can use to replace a Comcast HD DVR box. I need it to be HD (at least 720p) and have the ability to record Hd AND watch HD at the same time with the abilty to schedule shows to record. Does anyone know if I can either Mod a Comcast box or know what parts i would get (as far as TV tuners or any other special gear) to be able to make this happen? I heard that Comcast specializes in scrambling their Hd signal so you need their box to watch it.


I know how to put a computer together, so i am not looking on step by step for that, but mostly a recommendation on what would be good for Tv cards, software and any and all mods that would be useful.


Any experiences to share would be great as well!


Thanks in advance!
 

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you are going to need a cable card tuner.


now if you just care about the unencrypted locals in hd, then any QAM tuner will suffuce.
 

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If you're OK with tinkering and following instructions for hacks, then you can try the ATI OCUR CableCard Tuner. Is is the only one available, currently.


It is only 1 tuner so you cannot record and watch live at the same time (You'd have to buy 2 of them). It also costs over $200 and it will not work for On Demand (You'd have to use the comcast box if you want On Demand).


Another option is the HD PVR. You would keep your existing STB and the HD PVR would record from it, like a VCR, but up to 1080i over component. It has a IR blaster so it can control your STB. But again, you can only record or watch live 1 show at a time.
 

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It isn't easy or cheap. In the end, I decided to scrap comcast HD cable and go with OTA, bluray and internet tv. It works much better and I am happier for it.


I find that OTA is better than what my comcast HD box was giving me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry for the noobism here, but i am so unfamiliar with tv tuner cards and acronyms here.


1. A Qam tuner does that deliver 720p?

2. I dont know what an HD pvr is nor an STB

3. Now as far as the OTA option, is that still available? Can you still get OTA signal? And can you give me a link for internet TV services?


again sorry for being such a novice on this. Thanks in advance.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtwenty /forum/post/16982414


Sorry for the noobism here, but i am so unfamiliar with tv tuner cards and acronyms here.


1. A Qam tuner does that deliver 720p?

2. I dont know what an HD pvr is nor an STB

3. Now as far as the OTA option, is that still available? Can you still get OTA signal? And can you give me a link for internet TV services?


again sorry for being such a novice on this. Thanks in advance.

Yes, in fact OTA is now giving 3 channels for my nbc instead of 1. 2 for MyPhilly instead of one. Many of the channels now carry extra channels which contain weather and movies and shows. I went form 8 channels from analog to 15 in Philly (excluding the religious and foreign channels).
 

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The HD PVR is the only "card"/"tuner" that can record component HD, which is the only way to record HD premium channels (in HD) without resorting to cablecard.


It's not officially supported in Media Center, but works great in some of it's alternatives, like SageTV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtwenty /forum/post/16982414


1. A Qam tuner does that deliver 720p?

2. I dont know what an HD pvr is nor an STB

3. Now as far as the OTA option, is that still available? Can you still get OTA signal? And can you give me a link for internet TV services?

1. A QAM tuner records the actual MPEG-2 stream from the cable company. There is absolutely no loss of quality. Whatever resolution the station is broadcasting, that's what you get. There are two kinds of tuners. Ones that can record only unencrypted QAM (usually your local stations) and Cable Card tuners which can record the encrypted channels too (ESPN, HBO). ATI makes the only Cable Card tuner currently available. Cable Card is only officially supported for new computers specifically built to be Cable Card compatible.

2. HD PVR is a Hauppauge product with component video inputs. There's a big thread about it here . STB stands for Set Top Box, in this case a cable box.

3. Using an antenna is a great option for your local channels and can save you a lot of money if network TV is the main thing you watch. Check out antennaweb.org . Their antenna requirements tend to be conservative.


Previously, I used one ATI Cable Card tuner and one HD Homerun with two unencrypted QAM tuners with Comcast using a computer from Velocity Micro.


If you do not already have a computer, I would recommend ordering one with Cable Card. That will be the easiest way to get started, and you will have the option to switch to something else later. Unfortunately, there are only a few suppliers. There's a thread somewhere here that lists them.
 
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