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Cable/TV question
Old 03-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #1
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Cable/TV question

I have an analog TV and analog basic cable service. My cable provider continues to move channels to digital from analog. In their explanation letter they indicate that the channel can be seen with a TV equipped with a "QAM" tuner. I have also read that if the local network channels are broadcast in HDTV, they have to pass them through even on basic cable service. So, if I buy a new HDTV with a QAM tuner will I see other digital channels besides the ones they have moved? Will I get local channels in HD? Anybody have experience with the above situations?

I do not wish to pay for digital or HD cable services. I would assume that at some point they will covert all analog channels to digital on basic service because analog uses more bandwidth than digital.
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Old 03-20-2009, 05:19 PM   #2
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So, if I buy a new HDTV with a QAM tuner will I see other digital channels besides the ones they have moved? Will I get local channels in HD? Anybody have experience with the above situations?
Maybe. In my case, comcast changed the programming in a way that some digital channels can be seen directly but others now need their set top box. I think they are moving programming into higher priced clip levels on the sly.

With an HDTV and a QAM tuner you can see the OTA digital and HD broadcasts in your area – if you can receive them. You can get an external tuner as well – it doesn’t have to be integrated into the display. Either way you might need an external antenna – something like this Amazon.com: Terk Technology HDTVi VHF/UHF HDTV Indoor Antenna: Electronics – as HD and digital reception is notoriously fickle. Location is critical – proximity to the transmission and how direct the path is to your receiver.

Bottom line – it can be done, but I would make sure to buy with flexible return policies before spending big bucks.

Lots of help here at this forum AVS Forum
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Old 03-20-2009, 05:38 PM   #3
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With an HDTV and a QAM tuner you can see the OTA digital and HD broadcasts in your area – if you can receive them. You can get an external tuner as well – it doesn’t have to be integrated into the display. Either way you might need an external antenna – something like this Amazon.com: Terk Technology HDTVi VHF/UHF HDTV Indoor Antenna: Electronics – as HD and digital reception is notoriously fickle. Location is critical – proximity to the transmission and how direct the path is to your receiver.
Actually the cable provider will pass through the local digital or HDTV broadcasts. You won't need an antenna to pick them up OTA. Here in the Chicago suburbs with Comcast, if you switch to an HD TV but keep your analog cable package, you get all the analog programming you were getting plus the digital or HD programming from the local stations.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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Maybe. In my case, comcast changed the programming in a way that some digital channels can be seen directly but others now need their set top box. I think they are moving programming into higher priced clip levels on the sly.

With an HDTV and a QAM tuner you can see the OTA digital and HD broadcasts in your area – if you can receive them. You can get an external tuner as well – it doesn’t have to be integrated into the display. Either way you might need an external antenna – something like this Amazon.com: Terk Technology HDTVi VHF/UHF HDTV Indoor Antenna: Electronics – as HD and digital reception is notoriously fickle. Location is critical – proximity to the transmission and how direct the path is to your receiver.

Bottom line – it can be done, but I would make sure to buy with flexible return policies before spending big bucks.

Lots of help here at this forum AVS Forum
I'm afraid I'm stuck with cable (or some other provider) as I'm in a fringe area with 60 ft trees all around.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #5
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Actually the cable provider will pass through the local digital or HDTV broadcasts. You won't need an antenna to pick them up OTA. Here in the Chicago suburbs with Comcast, if you switch to an HD TV but keep your analog cable package, you get all the analog programming you were getting plus the digital or HD programming from the local stations.
That was my understanding of how Comcast works here in CT. I guess I don't have much choice but to buy another TV if they keep migrating channels to digital. I really don't mind if I'm going to see an improved picture on some channels.
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Old 03-21-2009, 09:06 AM   #6
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Actually the cable provider will pass through the local digital or HDTV broadcasts. You won't need an antenna to pick them up OTA. Here in the Chicago suburbs with Comcast, if you switch to an HD TV but keep your analog cable package, you get all the analog programming you were getting plus the digital or HD programming from the local stations.
I was unaware of this. I have a tuner from a few years ago sitting in the garage. When I bought it, it didn't receive any of the local cable stuff - we needed a cable STB. It was intended for OTA HD but reception was a problem and aesthetics were unacceptable to DW.

It's coming out today to see if it can replace the comcast box.
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Old 03-21-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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I'm afraid I'm stuck with cable (or some other provider) as I'm in a fringe area with 60 ft trees all around.
My favorite site for checking feasibility of OTA is TV Fool:

TV Fool - Home

You can enter your exact address or coordinates and tell it how high your outdoor antennas will be mounted. It then returns a list of stations, strongest to weakest, that you may receive and the direction the antenna will need to face. Here's the output for me (before June 12):


With a solid, properly mounted outdoor antenna, anything in the red and above is probably something you can get. And in my case it's true; I get everything from KTBC and higher very strong and clear despite most of them being 60 miles away. The trees may be an "X" factor, though.
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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I set up my LG stb. Got all the analog and local HD broadcast just as youbet said. A few additional digital channels, all local, mostly worthless.

I checked my daughter's address (chicagoland) and the list of unencrypted digital channels is much greater (I am in south florida).

You can see which unencrypted digital channels are available at your zip code here hdhomerun/channels - Silicondust
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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We quit cable and made an antenna that was shown on youtube. The antenna worked better than the $50 one we got from Radio Shack. DH and I watch more TV now than when we had cable, didn't know there were so many good shows on network TV. We have a couple more shows than Ziggy29 has because we are in Austin. When in Burnet at the RV we get several stations on the RV antenna even Austin and San Antonio
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:11 PM   #10
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My favorite site for checking feasibility of OTA is TV Fool:

TV Fool - Home
Thanks for the link. That site was very useful - I had been toying with the idea of replacing my $13.52/mo Comcast "Limited" Cable package with a $30 indoor antenna; but according to that site, only 4 channels would come in for my location. I guess I'll stick with paying $162.24/yr for a few dozen channels on cable.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:06 PM   #11
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I set up my LG stb. Got all the analog and local HD broadcast just as youbet said. A few additional digital channels, all local, mostly worthless.

I checked my daughter's address (chicagoland) and the list of unencrypted digital channels is much greater (I am in south florida).

You can see which unencrypted digital channels are available at your zip code here hdhomerun/channels - Silicondust
Glad that worked out!

Thanks for the link.
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