Thursday, January 03, 2008

QAM, or, How I Overlooked HDTV on Basic Cable

I was looking at my cable bill today, which included a price list for all of their services. I noticed a section about HDTV and it said that HD broadcast channels were available with the bare minimum package that I had. I had been living with just basic cable (25 channels) since I cannot get over-the-air reception where I live (too dense with buildings).

So I plugged the cable into my HD tuner card in my PC, ran a channel scan on the OEM software that came with my FusionHDTV 5 tuner card, and lo and behold, I had HDTV. All the locals, coming in with perfect clarity at 720p. Unreal. How long have I been missing that?

Unfortunately, back in Vista Media Center, I cannot tune these unencrypted QAM channels, despite the fact that the card can actually tune them. Apparently another tuner does it (search his blog for QAM for more info), but it's an unreliable hack. If another card does it reliably, it is quite likely that I'll upgrade.

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