Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

HTPC must have HD with comcast!

Last response: in Systems
February 8, 2010 11:10:56 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Not for another couple months
BUDGET RANGE: Hopefully no more than $700
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching movies, DVR HD Television, Gaming (nothing hardcore, but need playable FPS for new games at 720p on a 32")
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, really anywhere if it can be found cheaper
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States, California
PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD seems to have the budget CPU's on lock :)  Other than that I'm open
OVERCLOCKING: Possibly a tiny bit if it's simple on the chosen Mobo and heat isn't an issue
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Cheaper the better, main goal is to be able to have my HD with comcast work on the PC and be able to DVR/Watch 2 shows at once, but have enough power to game reasonably on most new games ie. Bioshock 2, Mirror's Edge, Crysis etc.

Basically All I need to know is what exactly I need to watch and dvr my HD comcast, I've searched and searched and the more I read, the more confused I get. I also cannot decide which processor is enough, I was thinking about a Phenom IIx3 or Athlon II x4 620. Or maybe even dropping down to a a PhenomII x2 (like I said, cheaper the better without sacrificing too much.
Also was thinking a 5670 would be enough of a GPU.
Please advise, thanks!

More about : htpc comcast

February 9, 2010 12:25:15 AM

Based on your budget, your best bet is either Tivo or Moxi.

If you want an expensive way of recording encrypted cable, research cablecard tuners.
February 9, 2010 12:38:22 AM

If you want an expensive way of recording encrypted cable, research cablecard tuners.


Unfortunately, vanekl is correct. There currently is no way to record, in HD, your Comcast signal. Towards the end of March 2010, Ceton Corp is supposed to release their cablecard tuners which will allow you to do so, but the currently suggested price is upwards of $400 for the card.

-Wolf sends
Related resources
February 9, 2010 12:49:50 AM

^+1 to both Vanekl and Wolfshadw.
Although I would like to see the price fall fast on the ceton card, this is what I have been waiting for.
February 9, 2010 12:52:35 AM

Wolfshadw said:
If you want an expensive way of recording encrypted cable, research cablecard tuners.


Unfortunately, vanekl is correct. There currently is no way to record, in HD, your Comcast signal. Towards the end of March 2010, Ceton Corp is supposed to release their cablecard tuners which will allow you to do so, but the currently suggested price is upwards of $400 for the card.

-Wolf sends

Technically, that's not true. Hauppauge makes an HD-PVR device that will record HD content via the component connectors (assuming the cable box has component connectors). The problem is, it doesn't work like a PVR really. What I do is use my cable box to record content, then play it back after the fact and record it to my PC via the HD-PVR. It's not perfect, but it's the best I can come up with.

Sorry, wasn't trying to call you out, just wanted to let the OP know that there are some options out there that will record HD content, but there's no real way (that I've found, anyway) to schedule recordings and the like. That is unless you want to go with a MythTV type setup.
February 9, 2010 12:56:01 AM

So something like this wouldn't work?
So I'm guessing from what I've read that it would only record in SD? and only be able to display the standard HD channels, like the local channels, not the encrypted ones like Syfi, ESPN, etc?

I've done tons of reading but cannot find a clear simple answer. I already have my HD DVR but the goal was to get rid of it and replace it with my HTPC.

If it's $400 to do so when they are real eased, I guess I can live with an extra $7 a month and an extra box sitting in my room :pt1cable: 

Anyone also have recommendations for my build, I'm really really torn between the pieces to choose, and find a good median between cost and performance. Lot's of people recommend the Athlon II X4 620 or 630, but even shaving $25 off that, and figuring out other spots to shave a little hard earned $$ off would be greatly appreciated.

That is unless you want to go with a MythTV type setup.

Just looked that up, looks like it would work as I could want it to, anyone that can tell me more about it?has experience with it?
February 9, 2010 1:41:58 AM

The Hauppauge 2250 is a good card, but since it doesn't have cablecard it cannot handle an encrypted signal.

Recording unencrypted video is not difficult. Getting an unencrypted signal is.
February 9, 2010 1:55:22 AM

Most HD set top boxes have a number of outputs. The five most common are:

1) HDMI (HD Capable)
2) Component (HD Capable)
3) Composite (not HD Capable)
4) S-Video (not HD Capable)
5) RF/Coax (not HD Capable).

Your set top box takes in the HD signal from your cable provider, decrypts it (if necessary), and then based on which output you have connected, either sends out an HD signal (HDMI, Component) or an SD signal (composite, S-Video, RF/Coax).

TV Tuner cards are limited by the type of input connectors they have (save for MaizeNBlue2's solution). Since the signal coming from the set top box will only output SD video from the RF/Coax port, the TV Tuner card will only record SD video (even if the original signal is HD).

TV Tuner cards (like the one you linked) also lack the decryption capabilities of your set top box. If the TV Tuner card is connected directly to the cable from the wall, since it lacks decryption capabilities, it will only display channels sent unencrypted (ClearQAM) and to my knowledge, no HD channels are sent unencrypted.

Concerning a MythTV setup, I have no experience (sorry).

Antec HTPC Case w/350 watt PSU
Gigabyte 785G motherboard
Athlon X4-620 CPU
G-Skill Ripjaw DDR3-1333 4GB RAM
Samsung F3 500GB Hard Drive
LG DVD Burner
Windows 7 - 64bit

All totaled comes to just over $600 shipped. However, since you're in California, I believe you have to also pay sales tax.

-Wolf sends
February 9, 2010 9:44:44 AM

I used it a couple of years ago, but that was with SD video and I never got it fully working. However, I never really tried that hard either, it was just something to play with.

I may give it a go at some point here, but for now, I'm sticking with recording it on my cable company DVR and then replaying it later to record it on my computer with my HD-PVR.
February 9, 2010 12:17:57 PM

I don't know if this helps but i am currently getting my comcast cable (i only get the basic cable) connection in HD without using a box. I just plug my cable into the back of my hauppage card (hvr 1600) (you would want the hvr2250)and under windows 7 Media Center (i think this will work with anything that supports clear QAM) I can record all the shows in HD, i don't run through any of the boxes that they try to give you.

That said if i remember right someone said that this method doesn't work across the board for all of comcast so you might want to ask around...

Hope that helps
February 9, 2010 12:26:10 PM

No, it wont work for the majority of channels because the majority of channels are encrypted. Cable companies are forced by law to provide a few basic channels unencrypted, just like those you can receive for free over the air.

If that's all you wanted, it would be better to just hook up a $35 over-the-air antenna to the tuner. It would be less expensive (you wouldn't have to rent cable) and the High-Def over-the-air signal is twice as clear as the compressed cable signal.
February 9, 2010 1:22:10 PM

I agree with everything Vanekl said just to reinterate though for your knowledge.
Channels 2-13 the basic cable will work in HD if you just plug that into a card, using compatible software that supports clear Qam. If you want to be able to record anything in the higher channels your out of luck.

Also what he said about digital over the air being better than cable is exactly true. The quality is nearly double. My guess is you are like me and can't get a good signal from all the stations at once so you use your cable instead. Good luck and have fun.
February 10, 2010 12:44:47 AM

So in doing more research, though there is still much debate, and getting comcast to do so, apparently by law they must provide you with a Cablecard according to the FCC. If I were to somehow get a PC compatible cablecard from them, would that be able to be used in conjunction with a TV tuner in a PC? Or am I missing something? You'd need the Ceton card AND a cable card? I'm still confused :( 
See here also:

Thanks again for everyone's input, and thanks Wolf for the build, that's about identical to what I built in my Newegg wish list. Only thing that's tough is getting a GPU. I'm wondering if I could maybe even drop down to a dual core cpu for $50 less.

Best solution

February 10, 2010 1:12:07 AM

You need the Ceton card and the cablecard from Comcast. As long as you have those, you do not need an additional TV Tuner card. Concerning Comcast's refusal to supply cablecards and the link you provided, I liked the last post on page one of that thread: The one from the VP Systems Integration of Ceton Corp!

My take is that Comcast isn't making them available for consumers because the Ceton card hasn't been released yet. Once it's released, I expect Comcast to change their tune (or the FCC and I will soon become fast friends!)

Concerning the build, you can probably drop down to a dual-core as the Ceton Corp recommended minimum requirements state a dual-core CPU @ 2.0GHz. The system I intend to install the Ceton card into is an old E6600 system. The integrated graphics chip set (HD4200) on the motherboard I recommended is enough to playback HD content, so there really isn't a pressing need for a discrete graphics card.

-Wolf sends
February 20, 2010 1:17:30 AM

Best answer selected by slayerx.