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Comcast just hooked up a new HDTV Cable Box. It got me thinking, can I hook up an antenna to this box and get more of the local HDTV broadcasts? You can do this with some Dish receivers.
 

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You'll need a separate set-top-box for OTA HD that you'll hook up to your antenna.


Cable companies don't want you getting your OTA channels for free. They don't provide a way to hook up an antenna to their HD cable box.
 

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The dish receivers are a totally different animal, cable boxes receive cable's QAM format only they don't support OTA's 8VSB format. In the future there may be some 3rd party STBs that support OTA or cable format, but not yet. Also many cable systems encrypt their digital and HD channels and only their provided boxes can de-crypt them.
 

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The Samsung SIR TS160 allows you to connect cable, DirecTV, and OTA. I am not sure if it will allow Digital cable but a call to them will answer the question. I have analog cable, DirecTV and OTA connected to the box with software level 1.0.10. All is working correctly and almost perfectly. I can not get the guides for either the OTA or cable stations. They tell me it is a DirecTV problem, the source of their guides. I have had no success in getting a good answer from them on that subject.
 

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SIR-TS160 will not tune digital cable (no QAM).


There are some STBs coming out (like the LG LST-3100A) that can handle OTA and unencrypted QAM. Depending on your cable company ... you should be able to use these to get any digital channels that are broadcast 'in the clear' ... ie, unencrypted. Of course, how many channels you can get unencrypted is ... up to your cable company.


Also, the LG LST-3100A doesn't tune NTSC so it won't get any analog channels ... and there's only one coax so you'd have to do some switching to get both cable and OTA ... probably a few other PItAs as well.


By this time next year you should be able to buy an STB that has both OTA and a cable-card slot. Your cable company sends you a card, you plug it in, and everything works ...


See: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=298086


I wouldn't expect the cable company to rent boxes that do both OTA and cable any time soon though.
 
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