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HTPC HD TV Question

Last response: in Home Theatre
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September 29, 2010 1:11:17 AM

Okay I had a quick question about HTPC, I thought this would be a good place to ask, because it has to do with my cable and the HTPC. I know how to build and HTPC and all that, but I have a question about my digital cable and how it works with it. I have the standard issued cable box from the company, that is a DVR and I have HD digital cable.

Now the real question is how will this work with the HTPC cable tuner, because I use the current remote for On Demand, the DVR and just surfing channels. Like how do I set up a remote with the HTPC, and will my HD Digital Cable and other services still work just fine.

I don't want to build this HTPC and find out it doesn't work, I want to replace using the cable box becuase of the rental fee of the cable company.

The DVR/Cable box I have one of those Scientific Atlanta ones provided by the cable companies.

I think I covered everything if I let any information out tell me.

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September 29, 2010 1:35:31 AM

The remote control for your HTPC will not allow you access to OnDemand or the Cable Box's DVR functionality. Essentially, all it will allow you to do is change the channel of the cable box using an IR Blaster.

Removing the cable box from the equation removes all the decryption capabilities. The only channels you'll see (and be able to record) on your HTPC are those your cable company send unencrypted. In many areas, those are just your local channels and *maybe* a few others. Since the cable company has decided to encrypt most of their offered channels, there's no way around using their equipment (be it a cable box or a cablecard).

The only solution (I know of) is the Ceton Corp InfiniTV 4 Tuner card. This PCI-Ex1 card accepts a cablecard, rented from your cable company, and handles the decryption that a cable box does. I believe you still lose OnDemand capabilities, however.

While there is a high, up-front cost ($400) and you still have to rent the cablecard from your cable company (normally less then that of a full cable box), you do get four tuners in one card; allowing your to record up to four different programs at the same time (or record up to three and view one).

The bottom line is we're at the mercy of the cable company. The Government says the only channels the cable companies cannot encrypt (thus requiring cable company equipment) are the local channels they broadcast.

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but that's the way it is.

-Wolf sends
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September 29, 2010 2:06:09 AM

So HTPC are worthless to have cable tuner for HD TV, so I am better off just building a cheap multimedia PC, to do some stuff and keep my cable box.
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September 29, 2010 12:05:01 PM

You can research whether or not your cable company sends clear-QAM (unencrypted) digital cable channels. Realistically, for what you want to do... if cable TV is your primary goal you'll have to sit tight for a while with the rest of us. Ceton's cable card is expensive, but there are other options on the horizon. SiliconDust is working on a $250 dual cablecard tuner and Hauppauge is working on a USB based cablecard tuner $???.

If you plan to use the HTPC for other things (media streaming, jukebox, gaming, over-the-air HD, etc.), then it might be worth it to build now and wait for the cablecard options to catch up.
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