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Old 12-17-2008, 06:44 PM
alexcook alexcook is offline
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Comcast/QAM newbie questions... please help!

Hi all,

I worked on building 3 HTPCs 18 mos. ago using media center 2005. Back then I didn't really care about HD, but now that I just got a new HDTV I do.

My basic questions are as follows, and I would love to hear what people have done for research and found out. I looked across the forums and I couldn't find any definitive answers:
  • I have comcast digital cable, and an HD tuner (this one:
  • Will I be able to receive all of the comcast HD channels with SageTV?
  • I'm not interested in on demand...
  • My zip code is 01002...
  • Also, do you need a special kind of tuner card?

If NO to the above - does anyone know what the status is on using the comcast HD box and firewire into an HTPC? Can SageTV handle the signal from the comcast box in real-time? How does that work? If that solution works and people have examples that they can link me to I'd really appreciate it. I heard you have to argue/demand a firewire out box from comcast...

My bottom line is I am trying to figure out if SageTV can handle receiving comcast's digital cable hd signals. If this is true, then I'll invest in SageTV and get started. If not, I am about to abandon the whole HTPC route, sell off my stuff... the whole nine yards. Last time I researched this Comcast/Verizon require that you have a propitiatory CableCard to receive those signals.

Lastly, checked out SageTV videos... it looks awesome!

Any help, ideas, comments, ANYTHING is GREATLY appreciated.


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Old 12-17-2008, 07:01 PM
alexcook alexcook is offline
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Whoops, didn't see this thread 10 posts down:

So that sort of answers that.

I still think I might convert my Windows machine over to linux and use SageTV. Not sure though. I think I'll get NetFlix and stream HD content...

Does anyone know what DirectTV is doing? Do they encrypt all channels? Do any cable companies not encrypt signals? Can you take apart a comcast DVR and use the cablecard? Last question is probably illegal.

Thanks for ideas!

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Old 12-17-2008, 10:41 PM
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Ryokurin Ryokurin is offline
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q1. Only trust in getting locals with any digital cable service. Thats the only thing they legally have to provide in the clear. Even then you may not get all of them depending on your cable quality. For instance, I can't pick up two of the big four networks, although my cable box can due to bad lines.

q2. As long as the tuner card accepts clear QAM you can try.

q3. Yes SageTV supports firewire capture. but the same limitations of QAM applies. Count on only being able to capture locals only. If you want everything on any service invest in a HD PVR from hauppauge.

q4. Comcast will give you a cablecard if you ask. You can't use it here, or on any other computer unless it was premade to support it, and even then only MCE supports that. This is due to cablecard devices needing cablelabs certification to prevent hacks.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:56 AM
alexcook alexcook is offline
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Great, thanks for the reply.

I can probably live with only getting 5-10 channels in HD. The tradeoffs are probably worth it. I can get NetFlix (who is coming out with HD on demand soon),, other sites... all by using an HTPC.

Anyways, what is everyone else experiencing with HD and your cable companies?
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comcast, hdtv, qam

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