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I received this e-mail from someone that's been trying to get HD for sometime in a mostly rural area:


The cable guy finally came to our house, messed with some wires on the back of our digital cable box, and then said we can't get the signal they are offering because our tv doesn't have an internal tuner. So no hd for us.

Most web info says an internal tuner is only needed if you use an hd antenna but apparently there is something called QAM which 2% of cable companies have. Hard to believe our cable provider is in that 2%...


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My understanding is that with no tuner in the tv, you are required to have a STB of some sort (whether receiving from your OTA antenna or your cable provider). Does this guy know what he's talking about or am I missing something about QAM?
 

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that seems weird to me. I thought the whole point of the digital cable box was to decode the digital signal... If you get an HD capable box and use the colorstream/hdmi outputs you will be able to get HDTV. It is true that if you have no digital tuner in the tv you will not be able to plug a digital cable signal into the tv directly, hence the need for a stb. i find that often employees of cable companies, pc stores, and tech support in general can have very little understanding of what actually is going on. of course this is fine if you don't ask them technical questions... and there are no technical problems.


i'd say what you need is a new set top box, not a new tv.


jungle
 

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The author of the email may have misunderstood what the cable guy said.


Most, if not all, US cable companies use QAM, which is a modulation scheme.


I will assume the author has an hd capable tv. Many hdtvs have internal, integrated QAM tuners, which, depending on the tuner's capabilities, will allow some or all cable hd channels to be received. Many hdtvs do not have the integrated QAM tuner and would need an HD digital cable set-top-box (stb). Some, limited capability, QAM stbs are available for retail purchase but most of the time, customers rent them from the cable company.


The digital box the author already had was very likely not HD capable and the cable guy may have stated that the author's hdtv did not have an integrated QAM tuner. What the auther needs is an HD digital cable stb from the cable company. I would have expected the cable guy to offer up this option if he had one. If that is not available then a retail purchased stb is a possible solution. However, this solution will likely only allow the reception of a limited number of cable HD channels.


The other option for local network HD channels is with an antenna, using an ATSC(OTA) tuner. ATSC tuners are also integrated into many hdtvs. They are also available retail. If the author's location is more than 50-60 miles from the local transmitters, this can sometimes prove difficult and/or relatively expensive.


I hope this helps
 
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