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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local cable company supports digital tv signals (300+ channels) through their single-line coaxial cable-based service. I am currently receiving their basic cable service (about 75 channels) as well as cable internet service (both provided through the same cable).


I was told by the cable installer (roughly 2 years ago) that this single cable line also has the digital tv signals as well; but in order to receive them I would have to either subscribe to their service in order to get the digital reciever box (which of course connects directly to the tv) OR I could use a digital tuner card in my pc and eliminate the need to subscribe to digital services.


I am planning on obtaining the WinTV-D card to provide this service, but am very open to any suggested alternatives. I would very much appreciate any feedback to verify that this will even work before proceeding (the cable company will not help me in this venture).


FYI, my main goal is just to be able to watch the digital channels; I have no plans for HDTV or capturing. I already have a pc (Dell Dimension 1Ghz) connected to my tv (RCA 56") with an ATI All In Wonder 128 so I can surf the web from my easy chair (cordless keyboard/mouse) and it has been a convenient setup!


Thanks to all!
 

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Hi,

I install cable modems, digital and HDTV boxes for a cable company.


The stb (set top box) decodes the digital signal provided by cable company. To my knowledge you can not buy a card for your PC to replace this box, as the box has security systems to prevent cable theft from the black box market. The stb is required to recieve digital channels. Channels below 80 are concidered analog. Above 79 digital.

So to recieve digital on a PC you need a stb connected to a PC. To recieve the best signal possible you need a stb and PC that have S-Video connection and analog or preferiblly digital for audio.

The PC tuner is set on channel 3 or 4 and surfing channels is done on the stb.

The problem is recording on the digital channels.

The TV tunner operates channel 1-125. But you will only recieve 1-79 with coax cable direct. You then can set automated recordings.

But with a stb the PC tuner is left on Ch 3/4 thus automated record of the digital stb becomes more dificult. The PC tunner needs to be set to record channel 3/4 at a certain time and the stb needs to be set to record/recieve a certian channel at a certain time.

So it adds to the complication of recording (PVR).

If you don't want to record etc. then just get a stb and hook up to the TV direct. I don't see a need for you to got thought the PC. If you have PIP on your TV then you could hook digital to one and PC/Internet to other.


Eddie
 

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CincinnatiKid,


WinTV-D and WinTV-D HD are both for Digital TV (ATSC), not Digital Cable TV. You have to understand Digital TV is a broadcast standard, while Digital Cable TV is a broadcast media.


If you are not interested in Digital TV (or you might known it as HDTV) then these cards are not for you. They sucks anyway. Hehehe


Also, as fasteddielv pointed out, if you decode Digital Cable TV signal without subscribing it, that is cable theif. Seems like your goal is to get free digital cable tv, you do not need a PC to do that. There are many black box out there can do it for a couple hundreds. But again, that's illegal !!!


As far as I know, there is a program that can use ATI AIW to discramble pay channels on Analog cable tv. If you get digital cable service, then you won't be able to use it.


Another factor is, as fasteddielv will know since he install these services, *supposedly* the cabler installer should put correct filter on your cable to allow or block the frequencies to your home.


A few years back, *a friend* installed cable modem at his apartment without any cable TV service, magically, he got cable tv for free. This is because last occupain has cable TV service. When the friend moved in, the cable company sent an installer for cable modem install, but never sent someone to put a filter to block the lower frequencies.
 

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Most/all cable companies will provide digital service using QAM so you'd need a tuner card capable of tuning QAM. What is provided analog and what is provided digital varies between providers, and since QAM supports encryption (but does not require it) it is difficult to know what you will and will not be able to receive.


You should take a look at a related thread 8VSB and QAM with PC HDTV tuner for more information on this very topic.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by aleet2600
Also, as fasteddielv pointed out, if you decode Digital Cable TV signal without subscribing it, that is cable theif. Seems like your goal is to get free digital cable tv, you do not need a PC to do that. There are many black box out there can do it for a couple hundreds. But again, that's illegal !!!
This seems to be a very common misconception but the fact is this statement is just wrong.


There are standard (free) broadcast channels that all cable providers must carry. Today these are analog (NTSC) but there is also a requirement to move to digital delivery. Cable companies will typically use QAM.


QAM supports encryption to protect premium content but it may also be used to deliver in-the-clear content. If a customer subscribes to basic cable service then based on must-carry regulations that customer should be able to plug in any QAM tuner (be it in his TV, VCR, STB, whatever) and view the same channels that his analog (NTSC) tuner had always been able to receive.


This does NOT have anything to do with theft - we are only talking about viewing unencrypted "broadcast" stations.
 

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Shady Bimmer,


That is interesting. I didn't know cable company carries free channels. I assume those must be ABC, CBS, NBC, etc which is the same idea as what I can get OTA?


Last time when I move to a new apartment, I ordered Cable modem without Cable TV service because the lady on the phone from the cable company told me I can get promotional discount the next month. So for 2 weeks I do not have cable TV service.


When the Cable TV guy finally came, all digital channels(200 and above) works, but none of the lower channels came thru. Then I told him to check for the filter, he found it and removed it, then everything works.


My point is, is the cable company wrong to put the lower band filter? Before the cable TV guy came, I did a scan with my TV, there is not even 1 channel. Where are the free channels you mentioned?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by aleet2600
That is interesting. I didn't know cable company carries free channels. I assume those must be ABC, CBS, NBC, etc which is the same idea as what I can get OTA?
Yes - it is the exact same channels.

Quote:
My point is, is the cable company wrong to put the lower band filter? Before the cable TV guy came, I did a scan with my TV, there is not even 1 channel. Where are the free channels you mentioned?
No he was not wrong. The phrase "free" in this case means the cable company can not charge you extra for them above its basic cable charge (a standard rate they are allowed to charge to cover their costs for delivering service to you). Since you did not subscribe to cable tv (only a cable modem) at first the cable technician installed the filter to prevent you from illegally receiving those channels.


Digital does NOT equal premium. Currently by the year 2007 there will be no NTSC (analog) programming at all. The only thing changing is the way the channels are being delivered. Currently the same regulations will apply as they do today - anything you receive today by plugging your cable directly into your TV with an NTSC tuner you should be able to receive with a TV (or PC card) with a QAM tuner.


Unfortunately not all cable companies have started transmitting all non-premium content via QAM but they will have to (Bandwidth limitations are cited in many cases)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Shady Bimmer


Currently by the year 2007 there will be no NTSC (analog) programming at all.
Seeing a switch to digital in the next ten years would be surprising.


The law does not require broadcasters to cease analog broadcasts until 85% of their market has the ability to receive (arround here, we have no HD tower because of local zoning laws and lawsuits) and display (as in they must own at least a set-top-box) a digital signal.


For comparison purposes, it took 22 years for color television to achieve an 85% market penetration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This scenario is now fully understandable for me, at least! Thanks for the detailed information; it's greatly appreciated!
 

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So, if I already subscribe to my cable companies "digital cable" one of these cards.

Access

HiPix

MyHd

Wintv Hd

Will allow me to view hd broadcasts in its full glory on my hdtv? I do not care about recording, if you also did not, which would you choose to watch on your hdtv.


Thanks for answering these generic questions. And yes, I have searched around. I'm just not to bright.
 

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Sasrip,


I'm still in the process of figuring this out as well, but it's my understanding that you will not be able to receive HD Satellite or HD Cable through one of these cards. These HD cards for PC are designed for Over The Air reception of HDTV signals.


They also generally have extra inputs that you can put your digital cable/satellite feed into to watch those channels as well. They will be scaled up to look good on your HDTV but will not be HDTV signals.


If ALL you want to do is input digital cable/satellite (nonHD) into your PC to use it as an awesome scaler, then just get an Xcapture, Holo3dgraph, MSI TVanywhere, or Asus card. These can all be used with Dscaler to make the normal digital cable signal look phenomenal on a high def tv or projector. You will still need to have a set top box from the cable/satellite company to receive/decode the signals and then plug this stb into your capture card via s-video.


If you want HD Satellite service like HDDirectv, then you'd have to put about $1-2k into an HD set top box plus a special oval dish. I'm not even sure these would be able to be inputed into a pc card?? These HD set top boxes are not included in the "2 Room Install for $1" specials! For this expense, you'll gain a few true HD channels like HDNet which is HD sports primarily and then HBO HD and Showtime HD. Other than that, you'll just be seeing normal digital on the other channels.


If you want HD Cable, well that completely depends upon if it's available in your area and you'll need the stb from the cable company since the company is going to encode these signals to hinder theft. Again, you'll only be getting HD on a few channels (as far as I'm aware).


If you want to receive the Over The Air channels broadcast is digital and HD in your area, and want to receive them via your PC, then purchase the Access, Hipix, or MyHD cards. Stay away from Hauppauge (or so I've heard!).


Personally, I've attempted a "best of both world's for a cheapskate" approach by purchasing the AccessDtv card for OTA HD/Digital local broadcasts and am using digital cable inputted through my Xcapture ($39) s-video input running dscaler. Oh, the Xcapture supports my daughters Gamecube too. I should receive the Accessdtv card in a couple of days so I can't personally recommend it yet but have heard good things.
 

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from the MyHD thread, the card is capable of receiving HD signals over cable (qam, i believe). however, due to threats and licensing issues from the cable industry, you will never get a driver that will make it happen.


frank
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sasrlp
So, if I already subscribe to my cable companies "digital cable" one of these cards.

Access

HiPix

MyHd

Wintv Hd

Will allow me to view hd broadcasts in its full glory on my hdtv?
In the Phoenix area Cox is adding some HDTV channels on digital cable (just 3 so far) but you have to get their $500 box to receive them!
 

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We have a few HDTV channels with COX in Las Vegas, including Discovery, HBO and Showtime

I believe it's 9.95/month for the converter box
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by videogeek
We have a few HDTV channels with COX in Las Vegas, including Discovery, HBO and Showtime

I believe it's 9.95/month for the converter box
Right, I've read that Cox is rolling out HDTV in both Vegas and Phoenix and the box is rented for only $9.95 in Vegas but has to be purchased in Phoenix. Makes no sense to me but I couldn't afford it either way.
 

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Maybe this is out of place but Cox Cable is a rip off. If you have Cox Cable for anything other than internet service, you should seriously consider switching to a satelite provider. As a cable provider Cox had a monopoly for a long time and it still behaves as if it does by ripping their customers off and treating them badly. You can get a superior satelite connection for less than what you're paying right now for cable including local channels and HDTV channels.
 
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