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Comcast DTA and TV Tuner

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November 27, 2010 2:30:34 AM

Been a long time lurker on Tom's Hardware but I've hit a wall and need some questions answered, figured you guys would be the ones to know.

So I've recently been considering purchasing a TV Tuner so I can record missed shows on my HDD and watch some TV while PC gaming (I like to glance over at my TV every once in a while but my current setup has my TV directly behind me so gotta do a 180 every time I check either the TV or monitor). I'm still deciding between an External TV Tuner box or a USB TV Tuner Stick (got separate questions about those but save it for later).

I've found good offers on Newegg but reading through feedback and using Google-fu I'm getting alot of comments and conflicting statements about encrypted and unencrypted Clear QAM channels. From what I've heard TV Tuners can't read encrypted channels and the majority of unencrypted channels are typically local news like CBS or Fox.

Here's where things get confusing for me. I have Comcast. For a short while I received basic cable just fine out of the wall, from TBS (Team CoCo) to Comedy Central to Adult Swim. Then, behind me back apparently, Comcast launched all their efforts into digital channels and I began losing said channels. I called them up and received a free DTA from them, no monthly fees. With the coaxial cable hooked up to that and then to my TV, I now get all my old channels back plus a few more such as G4 (which was actually a bit disappointing. It's like Spike but with less breast implants).

Here's my question. I have the coaxial from the wall connected to the DTA. If I connect the other coaxial to my TV Tuner and the tuner to my PC, will I have access to the 100 something plus channels I now have on my TV, or will those channels still be considered encrypted and unable to view? I would really like to know rather than wasting money experimenting and ending up with only local news. I realize TV Tuners can't decrypt channels but I would think that's what the DTA box is doing, acting as the middle man in this messy situation.

On a separate but related note, what's the general discussion on the difference between external TV Tuners and USB TV Tuner sticks? I would assume the USB Sticks would be of cheaper quality and basic but I've read good things so it seems to make little difference. Thanks guys.

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a b x TV
November 27, 2010 5:16:50 AM
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The correct connection would be from the wall to the DTA box. Then using the COAX output of the DTA box, connect to the COAX input of your TV Tuner. Just understand that your DTA still controls the channels. Since all the channels are being decoded by the DTA, your PC will receive all the channels you subscribe to.

As far as external TV Tuner sticks, I've had pretty poor experience with them. When they work, they work fine, but mine seemed to fail far too soon (within a few months). That's been some time ago and things may have improved since then, but I've switched to strictly internal tuner cards.

-Wolf sends
November 27, 2010 4:57:19 PM

Best answer selected by Demonmarine.
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November 27, 2010 4:59:25 PM

Hmm, well I have no problem with that, all I'm concerned with is getting all of my channels to display (I can worry about remote controls and recording later. I miss most TV to gaming). And that was my plan basically. I was going to take the coaxial cable from my wall and into the DTA's input. Then I was going to take the coaxial attached to the DTA's output, split it, one end to my TV and the other to the input of a TV Tuner (splitting because when not gaming I'd rather watch TV on a nice 42" LCD over my 19" monitor :kaola:  ).

As for USB TV Tuner Sticks, I knew it seemed to good to be true. Some come with remotes, the prices are lower, and it easily connects into a USB port. Nothing in life is ever that simple. No matter, I've mainly had my eyes on an external TV Tuner box on Newegg. Thanks for the help, bit more comforted now.
November 27, 2010 5:10:28 PM

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