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Cable Box to Media center

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September 7, 2010 1:06:16 PM

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the time. I am sorry because this is going to be confusing.

Here is my deal-I am getting an hdtv cable box from Cox this week.
Until this time I have been using a cable hook up with out the box.

I currently have a desktop pc using a WinTV-HVR2250-Dual Tuner- I access this using an Xbox as an extender. I also occasionally hook this pc up using hdmi as well.
This pc has Win7.
I also have another Laptop using Vista that has an HP Tuner Card. This is plugged into my tv using an hdmi cable.

My TV is the Sony KDL 40EX500.

I have both systems running off the single cable line using a splitter. This set has been decent but I have been unable to get hi def.

My question is regarding the cable box from Cox. I am getting this for a couple of reasons. #1-So I can access all of the stations that are currently scrambled #2-So I can get Hi Def-Currently there are only a few channels that are Hi def without the box.

I am fairly certain I know the answer to this already but is there any way I can use the cable box to record from both systems or do I just have to choose one?

How do I go about hooking up the cable box? Currently I can watch the tv and record from both systems while watching regular tv or recorded tv. Will I be able to watch tv from the cable box while it is hooked up to the pc?

Pardon my stupidity with this topic--When the cable box is hooked up to my pc does his system work by changing the channels on the box or does the box stay at the same channel and channels are tuned from inside the pc tuner card? I hope this makes sense..Any information at all that will help me with this would be great. It is expensive to rent the dvr from Cox and I have 2 dvrs right now with my 2 media centers and they have always been awesome. I am hoping things can be just as awesome with the cable box..

I was thinking that I will use the splitter before the cable box and therefor the laptop will just use the straight cable without the cablebox. The windows7 pc will utilize the cable box. One more question-- Will my media center be able to tune all of the channels the box gets? Right now I can only get 2 through 63-- The cable box gets over 200 channels I believe.. Most of them Hi def..

Thanks so much for the help. I have accomplished many things with the help of forums including this one!
I could not do this stuff without you guys!!

Rich
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More about : cable box media center

September 7, 2010 1:30:07 PM

Quote:
I am fairly certain I know the answer to this already but is there any way I can use the cable box to record from both systems or do I just have to choose one?

Just like you use a splitter from the wall to your two pcs now, you could run a splitter between the cable box output to your pcs.

Quote:
How do I go about hooking up the cable box? Currently I can watch the tv and record from both systems while watching regular tv or recorded tv. Will I be able to watch tv from the cable box while it is hooked up to the pc?

This all depends on the outputs on the cable set top box. I currently use the coax output from the set top box to the input on my TV Tuner Card (AverTV PCI-E Combo) and run HDMI from the HTPC to the HDTV. My set top box also has component outputs which I have directly connected to my HDTV.

Quote:
When the cable box is hooked up to my pc does his system work by changing the channels on the box or does the box stay at the same channel and channels are tuned from inside the pc tuner card?

The set top box will act as the tuner and your TV Tuner Card will act only as a video capture device. If your TV Tuner card came with a remote control, it may have also come with an IR Blaster cable which will allow you to change channels using your TV Tuner remote control. Otherwise, you will need to use the set top box remote control.

Quote:
Will my media center be able to tune all of the channels the box gets?

Since the set top box is handling all of the tv tuning functions, whatever channels you subscribe to will be available to your TV Tuner card.

Hope this helps.

-Wolf sends
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September 7, 2010 4:08:01 PM

Hey Wolf,

Thanks, That helped tons!

I am a bit disappointed though about the ir blaster changing the channels. I think my question was not well written and a bit confusing. In other words the computers see only what channel the box is on? This means my dual tuner will only be able to tune one channel. It also means that my media center will only record what ever channel the box is on. Am I right and does this make sense?

This means that my tuner card will no longer be a tuner as you said, it will only be a capture card so I will not be able to set my recording schedule..

Also, if I run a splitter between the cablebox and the tv's, won't both computers be receiving what ever channel the cable box is tuned too?

If this is the case then adding the cable box is going to actually diminish my recording capabilities..

Thanks again,

Rich

PS--I hope I am wrong about at least some of this...
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September 7, 2010 4:38:49 PM

Unfortunately, you are correct on pretty much everything.

Quote:
This means my dual tuner will only be able to tune one channel. It also means that my media center will only record what ever channel the box is on.

Correct. Since the set top box handles the tuning capability, you're limited to recording only whatever channel the box is set to.

Quote:
This means that my tuner card will no longer be a tuner as you said, it will only be a capture card so I will not be able to set my recording schedule.

Correct, but you may be able to use the cable box recording function (if it has one). My HD cable box (from Comcast) has a feature that allows to set up recordings to a VCR. Of course, I'm using my HTPC, but the cable box doesn't care. You might have that functionality with the cable box you get. If so, you can still set up your system to record.

Quote:
Also, if I run a splitter between the cablebox and the tv's, won't both computers be receiving what ever channel the cable box is tuned too?

Correct.I wasn't saying that was the way to go, just saying that it *could* be done that way.

Supposedly, there is a brass ring solution to all of this, but it has an expensive upfront cost and though it looks like it's finally been released, no one seems to have them. They are the Ceton Corp Multi-Stream Tuner Cards. With this PC card (and a cablecard from your cable company), you no longer need a set top box to unscramble the signal and your computer can record up to four different channels at once.

-Wolf sends
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September 7, 2010 4:45:06 PM

Sounds like you want a card that will decode digital cable TV and I'm pretty sure none exist, if they do they are probably illegal. If you want subscription channels on your PC you're going to be stuck with a set-top box tuning the channels no matter what you do.
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September 7, 2010 5:38:41 PM

I was actually hoping that the box would just supply the de-scrambled signal to my computers so their tuners would handle everything.

I never realized it was such a nightmare to utilize a cable box.. I guess my only option is to use the box for the tv and use a splitter so that the box is separate from the 2 computers.

I just don't see how I could record using media center and the cable box even with the recording function. Plus, I usually record while watching something else. It makes no sense to tie up the cable box for recording if I will have to watch the same channel or not use the box..

In regards to that Multi stream card it is $400 and on top of that they want $2 to $4 a month! The $400 isn't good enough? Hopefully some other companies will come out with something like this so the price will go down.

Geez, I was really hoping to finally be able to record everything in Hi Def now..

What I do not understand is how a Tivo or a dvr can tune all of the channels etc? Instead of blowing $400 on that Ceton card I would rather look into buying a dvr or a Tivo. I just always assumed I would be able to use my Pc's as dvr's and they work awesome really for my needs. I absolutely love media center and this is all I se now. I rarely even watch live tv... All that will have to change now I guess..

Speaking of the cable box--I just got it now and I am in the process of hooking it up.


Wolf, One more question, You said you are using the function for recording into your pc? You have the Motorola Cox Hi Def box? Right? I am sure our boxes are probably the same or close.. Can you tell me how this works out for you and how you use this?

My only other option is to maybe hook the cablebox up to my other system that only has the one channel so I don't waste the dual tuner. I can basically just use the box with that system and keep the tv and the other pc separate. Thjat way I can still watch live tv with at least the current channels I have, I can use my dual tuner to record analog as I am doing now and I will at least have one system able to record hi def..I will have to think about it-- It is time to start shopping for a DRV or a Tivo.. No way I am I paying the $40 a month to rent from Cox.. $480 per year??? No way....

Thanks guys..
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September 7, 2010 6:04:56 PM

The 2-6 dollars a month isn't from Ceton, that's there estimate of what the cable company will charge you for the credit card looking thing that stores your programming info.

If you have a cable box with a dual tuner, shouldn't there be 2 outputs on the back of the cable box? I've got Dish Network, not cable, but my box has 2 separate coaxial outputs on the back for the 2 tuners.
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September 7, 2010 7:39:33 PM

Quote:
Wolf, One more question, You said you are using the function for recording into your pc? You have the Motorola Cox Hi Def box? Right? I am sure our boxes are probably the same or close.. Can you tell me how this works out for you and how you use this?


Not sure what cable box I have (not at home at the moment). What I do is set the cable box to start a "VCR" recording on the channel I want. There is a setting in the cable box options that allows the channel to change automatically, so I have that enabled. With the cable box set up, it's just a matter of setting up the TV Tuner card to record. Once it's set up with the cable box as tuner (placing the cable box in-line will require you to re-setup your Media Center options), you select a show to record as normal.

With the cable box in-line (Wall --> Cable Box --> TV Tuner Card --> HDTV), it no longer matters what "channel" the TV Tuner card is on. It will still display/record whatever channel the cable box is on.

Benski is correct in that the $2-$6/month is the rental fee for the CableCard. Last I checked with Comcast in my area (MN), it was $2/Month. With the Ceton card, it's like having four DVR boxes (able to record four different channels at the same time). HD cable boxes with DVR capabilities are around $12-$15 in my area (haven't checked in a while), so the Ceton card saves $10-$58/month depending on how many DVR boxes you would need. If you do a lot of simultaneous recording, you can see how the savings stacks up quickly using the Ceton card.

@Benski - It's not that the Cable box has dual tuners, but his TV Tuner Card has dual tuners. I'd probably recommend using a splitter between the wall outlet and the cable box. Output 1 from the splitter would go to the Cable box and then from the cable box to Input 1 on the TV Tuner card. Output 2 from the splitter would go directly to Input 2 on the TV Tuner card. This should allow recording of one ClearQam channel and one unscrambled channel.

@ Malmental - Not sure what you're asking.

-Wolf sends
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September 7, 2010 10:33:37 PM

Thanks for the clarification, malmetal. Since I had my IR Receiver already hooked up, I just breezed through that section of the setup. I didn't know it could be such a pain without it.

-Wolf sends

Edit: btw, I have the Motorola DCH3200 set top box from Comcast.
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September 8, 2010 12:00:30 AM

Could you buy an additional cable box off ebay and pay the 2 bucks for another card and tune 2 different digital channels or would the cable company charge you for another service account?
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