View Single Post
  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 24, 2010, 09:57 AM
MAK MAK is offline
Top Prospect
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 97

Originally Posted by HaGGardSmurf View Post

Does ClearQAM mean it can decode the digital signal? Ive read some forum posts and whatnot from like 06' or 07' talking about how no current cards can receive digital signals, is this still an issue? I am with shaw digital, and as far as I know all T.V signal's/channels in canada now are digital.
NO. Be careful: the vast majority of digital cable broadcasts in Canada are NOT ClearQAM. The QAM signals you will find on cable are mostly encrypted and you would need a set top box from the (or approved by) the cable company. This is done so they have absolute control and so they can protect their turf. I hate this, but there's nothing you can do: in my opinion the cable companies in Canada have a virtual monopoly on things.

In the states, things are different, and there are a lot more ClearQAM channels. You plug in your digital TV card, and it finds a whole lot of channels for you. And in the US they are a lot more organized: In theory (I've never tried this, I live in Canada) you can buy a digital tuner for your computer that has a cable card slot... and the cable company gives you a cablecard to plug in to the TV tuner card. Guess what: you can now access and decode and watch their encrypted digital channels on your PC.

Here no one has bothered implementing cable cards in digital TV tuners, and they don't support it. The usual excuses I suppose: " We're going to implement something better, more interactive". Yeah right.

So when you add a digital tuner and plug in the cable directly, you won't find much. The options:

a. Get analog cable and run it into an analog tuner for some channels. You can still get analog cable channels in most of Canada. That works fine (but with signal quality issues) on a Media Center.

b. Get a normal set top box from the cable company, and an input card (that accepts TV input, usually a simply TV tuner card) in the PC. Connect the set top box output to the inputs of the card, and run the infrared sensor cables from the computer to the set top box. The PC can then change the channels on the set top box, and get the input. The bad news? Complicated, signal transferred to the PC most likely will not be high definition, and overall it sucks. You are better off just using the set top box without the PC.

c. Get a digital (ATSC) TV tuner card and an antenna. Over the Air TV signals (ATSC) are free and are beautiful. You can get many canadian channels and many of the ones in the states. I have this and it works great for clear recordings and playback on my Media Center. The bad news? many of the channels I like (Discovery HD, TSN HD) are never going to be available (they are cable and sattelite only). But things like Hockey night in Canada and PBS shows like NOVA and Nature are great from OTA signals.

Originally Posted by HaGGardSmurf View Post
Also, does the card have to be listed as a DVR, I thought MCE (Media Centre) is the one that actually does the recording? If thats the case, any tv tuner card can be a dvr? (dual tuner's would be better of course...)
No the card does not have to be a DVR. Any dual tuner card will do, as long as it is supported the the media center software.
Reply With Quote