I want to eliminate my cable box. I will pay for basic cable (you know, the 50 channel package with food network, ESPN, etc.)
For HD, I will use an antenna, and be happy with getting HD local channels.
To test this out, I plugged my cable wire directly into the back of my TV, and I was able to get the channels I wanted. This means, to my understanding, that I do not really need a cable box, and a tuner card will do the trick.
I need a tuner card that
1) has 2 inputs, one for my cable and one for my antenna
2) can read my cable input (QAM, I guess) and allow my computer to receive it
3) will let me record 2 shows at once
At first, it was easy: get a combo tuner, like this one, and plug my antenna into one input, and my cable into the other. But will this work? I guess I may be missing something, but I was under the understanding that both cable AND antenna were digital now. So can I still use a card with an analog input, like this one?
The HVR-2250 only has one coax input. The other input is for FM radio. You could explore combining your antenna and cable signals using a diplexer and feeding the signal to the tuner, but I'm not sure if that works. It does have dual hybrid tuners though...
You may want to just buy two separate tuners.
I have the Avermedia combo you linked. One input is for ATSC/QAM and the other is for the defunct NTSC (no good). Therefore, you cannot use that card to tune 2x ATSC/QAM signals.
So anything with an analog t, at least in the US, pretty much useless now? That is what I assumed, but it just seems so strange that they still have so many out there. I guess they can just sell them as a single digital tuner now.
On that note, if I'm buying 2 tuners, and all I need is a basic digital tuner, I can probably get 2 for the same $100 as the 1 Hauppage I posted.
Now the problem comes of how to consolidate the feeds, so I don't have to use 2 remotes, one for HD and one for regular.
No need for multiple remotes. A single MCE remote will control the PC.
If you have two PCIe slots open, you could go for the AverMedia A188 Duet for $69 each. This is an ATSC/QAM dual tuner with a single coax input. Install two of these- one for your OTA antenna and one for clear-QAM cable. That will give you four tuners to record from (2 antenna, 2 cable).
Or, you could go for two single tuner cards like the Hauppage HVR-1250 for $49 each. That will give you two ATSC/QAM tuners- one for cable and one for OTA antenna.