I have a Hauppauge 1800 tv tuner, Vista Ultimate 64, and I can not pick up any digital cable channels. I get analog stations fine but they look like horse ****. I use media center. I used the drivers that windows picked up after i installed the card. Is the digital cable encrypted? Are there any drivers that can help me get around my problem? Is there a 3rd party driver that can decript digital channels. WinTV wont even run. I appreciate any help.
A portion of digital cable, usually lower channels but some higher ones may be included as well, is set aside for local HD and basic programming. The rest are scrambled which requires a set top box or cable card to unscramble. ClearQAM tuners can usually receive those unscrambled channels even if they are in High Definition. Hauppauge 1800 has a ClearQAM tuner that can receive up to 125 channels but typically the cable company may scramble many of them that aren't 480i. Vista Media Center also has issues dealing with digital cable signals and ClearQAM. I've had problems with ATI 650 Pro tuner card working with Vista for over a year. No patches and updates have solved them. I have since removed the card and gave it to someone with WinXP.
Correction... Although it's widely assumed, you do not need an amplified antenna to receive OTA digital HD Video broadcasts that look incredible if your TV or PC tuner card has ClearQAM. You just need a length of coax cable or rabbit ears attached to your TV's coax connector. Even a wire hanger works. Before I got cable installed in my bedroom I used an amplified antenna for my new LCD HD with ClearQAM. The antenna was on sale, it had a RF remote that didn't require line-of-sight to control the gain or to adjust direction. I thought it was a good deal and the reception was good too.
After I installed the cable I didn't need the antenna so I disconnected it from the cable first. But the cable was still attached to the TV. At the time I was watching a basketball game in HD and I totally expected to lose the signal but it was as strong as ever. When I disconnected the cable from the TV I lost the signal and the screen went black. A 'NO SIGNAL' warning flashed on the screen. I reattached the cable and the ball game came back on. I changed channels too. All the HD channels came in perfectly with strong signals without freezing or breaking up, except for a station 30 miles away that needed a little extra adjustment before the signal was steady. I got 5 local channels in 1080i and one in 720p with just a 6' coax cable acting as an antenna. I attached an old rabbit ears antenna that I found in storage to a coax adaptor and plugged it into the TV. Presto! HD came in just as good as the $40 amplified antenna and the 6' length of cable. Then I taped a wire hanger to the coax adapter and the HD reception was only slightly reduced.
Here's what's funny. All those 1080i HD channels that I got OTA only came in 720p when I hooked up Comcast digital cable directly.
If your TV or PC tuner has ClearQAM then experiment with your reception. You just might be surprised. Now if only Vista WMC and ATI Catalyst software weren't broken then I would be able to use my PC as a PVR again.