This is something I've just been wondering for a while now, and just looking for a way to get channels so my kids can watch TV. Right now I have Comcast basic cable, so I get the basic channels like FOX, NBC, etc. I was just wondering if I just buy one of those cable boxes (that connect the coaxial cable from the wall to a cable box) that I could get those other cable channels (like Discovery, Food Network, etc). I used to get those channels just through the cable in the wall, but ever since Comcast bought the old broadband internet service that I initially had, I lost those cable channels and now I just get basic channels.
If you used your own QAM decoder box, chances are you would receive the same number of unencrypted channels, and you still wouldn't be able to see any of the encrypted channels because your QAM box would not have CableCard, which authorizes the encryption. BTW, the STB (set-top box) can be purchased for about $170, but like I said, it's of limited use.