Author Topic: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing  (Read 1117 times)

Tinkerbot

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Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« on: January 11, 2011, 10:39:22 pm »
This is probably a really newbie dumb question but.. I'm really confused about this digital/tuner card thing.  I'd love to use LinuxMCE so I began researching it about a week ago.  However, what I still don't get what I am supposed to do considering digital encryption on the "Understanding Digital" wiki. (I have Timerwarner cable). Does this just mean I'm only able to record OTA channels?  Moreover, I can't seem to find the tuner card related info that someone said was pinned (unless thats the DVB info, but the wiki states that its used for digital mostly outside of north america).  Do I just get ATSC/NTSC tuners (I thought I had analog because our my 10 year old TV doesn't have a set-top box, but according to another forum, I do).  Is there any link that someone can direct me to so I can understand this better?

Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for all the help. 

MDH1966

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 11:44:31 pm »
For digital cable in the US, you need a tuner card/box that supports QAM.  What ever your cable company decides to encrypt, then you need their box to watch it.  There are other ways of wathcing the encrypted channels on your computer but that is another discussion all to itself.  For OTA programming in the US (through an antenna) you need an ATSC tuner card.  There are a bunch of them listed in the wiki.  A couple of companies that make them are Siliconedust, Hauppauge, and pcHDTV.

I hope this helps,

M.

Tinkerbot

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 11:52:29 pm »
So basically, if I use digital cable thats encrypted, I'm stuck?  So what then do most LinuxMCE users do?

MDH1966

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2011, 12:36:39 am »
For encrypted channels from your cable company, yes.  That is, unless you have a converter box from your cable company.  But you said in your original post that you do not.  I have only played with LMCE a little bit and not very successfully so I'm not the best at directing you on that.  However, I have played around alot with MythTV (MythTV is also a component of LMCE). If you have access to a digital television, or if you know someone with a digital television that also has your cable provider, then the simple answer is this.  Whatever channels the digital TV can tune into without a converter box, then a QAM tuner in your computer will also be able to tune it in.  Unfortunately, cable companies can encrypt whatever they want to, including the HDTV channels.  You may have to go with and antenna and get those OTA.

M.

tschak909

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2011, 01:36:19 am »
LinuxMCE does support the Hauppauge HD-PVR. If your cable/satellite box supports component output at 720p/1080i, then you can connect your cable box to this tuner, and use it this way.

However, do keep in mind too, that LinuxMCE, can not only control your cable box, but it can understand how the cable box is connected to your AV gear, so it can send commands to your TV, Amplifier, etc, to switch the inputs to the cable box, if you  choose to use the cable box directly, as well as digitize the cable box to send through the rest of the house, if so desired, (MythTV also supports this.)

-Thom

Tinkerbot

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2011, 05:06:59 am »
Thanks MDH and tschak for all the clarifications.  I originally thought I had a analog because the coax cable went directly into my old television without any box, but my newer TV does[Pioneer Voyager HDTV](weird).  In any case, I guess my only option is the HD-PVR.  Thanks!

MDH1966

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2011, 11:40:10 am »
Your newer TV has a cable box?  Did you try plugging the cable directly into the TV (bypassing the converter box) and having the TV scan for channels?  you may be surprized at how many are not encrypted.  They may not be the ones you want, but it's worth a try.

M.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 06:59:11 pm by MDH »

Techstyle

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2011, 08:23:34 pm »
Tinkerbot: does Timewarner in your area provide the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD?  if so, there is a template for this and it has component out to connect to the HDPVR.  you will need a USB UIRT (or equivalent) to control the cable box as well.

tschak909

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2011, 08:24:42 pm »
We also support the Motorola DCT-6412/6200/3200 cable boxes, as well.

-Thom

Tinkerbot

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 12:00:33 am »
MDH: I tried what you suggested and what ended up working were pretty much all channels from 1-100.  All the extra featured channels like on Demand are only accessible via cable box.  Luckily, I think I only watch the ones up to a hundred.

Techstyle/Tschak: So I think I use the Pioneer voyager HDTV right now, so is it worthwhile to ask TimeWarner so I can change the box?

brake16

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 01:22:46 am »
We also support the Motorola DCT-6412/6200/3200 cable boxes, as well.

Just curious, is the Motorola 3200 cable box controlled by USB-UIRT or one of the direct lines (Firewire, network, etc)?  I have the 3200 downstairs in the theater room, and I'll be bringing that online in the next couple weeks.  I have a USB-UIRT already for it, but if I need another connection, I'd like to get ready.

Thanks
Bryce
The Second Empirical Law of Lasers is to not look into the beam with your remaining good eye  - Anonymous

tschak909

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Re: Confused about tuner cards and the whole digital thing
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 01:23:38 am »
it's currentl controlled via IR.

-Thom