So, with HD cable box and TV tuner, still can't watch some channels?

So I am putting together a HTPC, and I am greatly confused on one particular aspect.

I have Charter Digital Cable with HD. A coaxial cable comes out of the wall, into my big cable box. Then I hook that cable box up to my HDTV through HDMI. So is there a TV tuner card that I can use to record channels like HBO HD or ESPN HD onto my PC's HDD? I keep reading things about Comcast making their channels digital, and so this scrambles them. The TV tuner card I have coming from Amazon is an AVer Media Duet HD that can "receive High Definition Digital TV Over-the-Air (ATSC) or Unencrypted Digital Cable (ClearQAM*)" signals.

Could someone clear up my confusion on this? I really don't want to spend money on a big hard drive and a TV tuner card if I can only record channels like Fox, CBS, and NBC.

I plan on using Windows 7 with this, if that makes any difference.
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  1. The duet can only pull ClearQAM digital channels from the cable company. Which channels are ClearQAM?? Well, that depends on the cable company but usually it's only the broadcast networks like NBC, CBS, etc. that you can get over the air. You may get lucky and get some cable channels if the cable company allows it. You DEFINITELY will not get premium channels like HBO and Showtime.

    There are only two setups that will allow you to capture premium cable channels:

    #1 Get a CableCard tuner (mostly unavailable at this time- Ceton and SiliconDust are working on it)

    #2 Decrypt your channels through your cable box and send the signal to a capture device. The Hauppauge HD PVR is the only one that can capture HD at 1080i that I know of if you want full HD... s-video and composite video is limited to 480. Any version of this setup will require some kind of IR blaster if you want to change channels on the cable box.
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