Will HDTV Tuner Cards work With Cable/Satellite

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whandley

New Member
#1
I'm researching either building or buying an HTPC. It's beginning to look like the technology for one of the key ingredients I want is just not quite here yet. If I go to the expense of an HTPC, I'd like for it to be my PVR--to pause live TV, record programs, etc--so that I can trade in my expensive cable PVR settop box for a much cheaper one. The problem is that I want to be able to do this with both my standard and high-definition programs, whether they are the unencrypted network HD channels delivered by cable or premium channels like HBO. But all of the HDTV cards that I have looked at state that they only work with over-the-air (OTA) HD broadcasts. I'm sure there must be a technical reason, but I just don't understand why the output of my cable box, in my case the three component TV cables, could not be fed into the TV tuner instead of into the TV set as they are now, and the output of the TV card fed into the TV set. I've tried without success to get an answer at the leading HD TV tuner card manufacturers like ATI. Anyone have an answer? And I hope the answer is that I've misunderstood the tuner card websites and it can in fact be done.
 
wrathchild_67

wrathchild_67

Hidden Member
#2
Cable card support for PCs is coming this year, but you may have to buy an OEM computer to get the card. How that will play into recording non-OTA HDTV broadcasts, I don't know but you will at least be able to play all HDTV channels. But if past hardware/software hacking history is any indication- if you can play it, you can copy it so there may be hope.

BTW- the current answer you're looking for is that the non-OTA channels are encrypted, not merely scrambled like in analogue TV. Which means that at this moment, you can't use a HTPC to record non-OTA channels.
 
krupted

krupted

New Member
#3
but even when cablecard for the pc comes, doesnt your local cable company have to specifically support it? or do they view it the same as a tv's cable card?
 
W

whandley

New Member
#4
wrathchild,

I understand that the non-OTA channels are encrypted, but the cable box takes care of that. I asked why the output from the cable box--the same signal that goes into the TV and is therefore already descrambeld/decrypted--can't be captured by an HTPC and recorded, etc.
 
wrathchild_67

wrathchild_67

Hidden Member
#5
You can get HD through component, DVI or HDMI (as I've never seen an HD cable box that has VGA out, but I could be wrong) output. I've never seen a consumer level video capture card that supports input from any of those formats. The only other way to get HD is through coax carrying a digital signal. With a digital tuner in your PC, you can get all standard def and OTA-HD channels, but nothing more due to encryption.

There is this: http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/techspecs/
But I'm 99.9% sure it doesn't support HDCP, so getting it for what you want to do is useless. Also it is not future proof- does not handle 1080p input and only stereo audio over HDMI.

Now... if you have the money to burn, I believe a combination of the above HDMI input card and this audio + component video to HDMI converter could give you what you want. You feed the audio and (by default unencrypted) component video from your HD cable box to the converter, then the HDMI output of the converter to the HDMI input of the Black Magic card and you may have a working solution. But only for 720p/1080i as long as that lasts. And if you have a good enough sound card, you could just rely on that to produce Dolby Digital encoded audio on the fly.

krupted said:
but even when cablecard for the pc comes, doesnt your local cable company have to specifically support it? or do they view it the same as a tv's cable card?
Yeah they have to allow it to connect. It's a network device and has a MAC address, so the process isn't all that different from setting up your internet for the first time. Hopefully PC Cards become like cable/dsl modems are today and you can just buy your own.
 
krupted

krupted

New Member
#6
wrathchild_67 said:
Yeah they have to allow it to connect. It's a network device and has a MAC address, so the process isn't all that different from setting up your internet for the first time. Hopefully PC Cards become like cable/dsl modems are today and you can just buy your own.
ahh. well all ive ever read on it was bad-vibes about hollywood or the cable companies not wanting people to get cable-cards for their pc's. it was supposedly mainly microsoft's strongarm that ever got the technology moving. good to hear they are still pushing it along, hopefully its out soon.
 

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